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Fixing the SEC 8-Game Schedule

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

I have written about the SEC schedule a few times months ago suggesting both nine and eight game conference schedule solutions, and the almost universal response I got was some versions of this:


"Dude, everyone knows they are going to a nine-game conference schedule."


This week that proved to be just another false expectation as the SEC voted for the 2024 season to have an eight-game conference schedule.


Here we sit on June 2nd and most are now saying it will be a 1-7-7 format. These people ignore Sankey's words which said the schedule would built with an "expectation of fairness and balance and honor our traditional rivalries."


Folks, that means:

  • Texas and Texas A&M will play in 2024

  • Auburn and Georgia will play in 2024

  • Tennessee and Alabama will play in 2024

  • LSU and Ole Miss will play in 2024

  • and others

I think the only thing that will NOT happen is a 1-7-7 schedule format. Why? As shown, there are some secondary rivalries that will not be shifted to every other year. So, then what?


The reality is MOST teams in the SEC have two rivals, some have three, and a few would try to claim (or others would claim them to have) four or more. The key to this plan is to allow the three rival schools to have a schedule that gives them the flexibility to play those rivals yearly. For the two rivals schools the plan would be to give them a schedule which has them playing a majority of the conference every other year and thereby giving them more exposure to semi-rivals.


The SEC has gone over a decade with some schools playing only once or twice. Remember that. This conference is used to having some teams not play each other for an extended period of time.


I THINK the SEC will have these two scheduling options.

  • Option A

    • Three Yearly Rivals

    • Eight Partner teams that are played biennially

    • Four Participant teams that are played quadrennially (1/4 years)

    • Call this the 341 Plan

  • Option B

    • Two Yearly Rivals

    • Ten Partner teams that are played biennially

    • Three Participant teams that are played triennially (1/3 years)

    • Call this the 251 Plan

Yearly Rivals


341 Plan- Here are the eight teams that will be on option A with their three Annual Rivals


251 Plan- Here are the eight teams that will be on option B with their two Annual Rivals

Those are the teams each will play every year.


Participants


The next most important part of this are the teams that each will NOT play every year nor every other year. I call these the participants.


341 Plan

Each team in this group will play four of the other eight teams in this group only one time ever four years or quadrennially. Obviously, a team in the group that is a yearly rival cannot be a quadrennial participant. Here are my 341 participants.

251 Plan

Each team in this group will play three of the other eight teams in this group only one time ever three years or quadrennially. Obviously, a team in the group that is a yearly rival cannot be a triennial participant. Here are my 251 participants.

I do not think there are any major rivalries being relegated to triennial or quadrennial status.


Partners


Here are the Biennials Partners for both the 251 and 341 teams. The 341 plan teams have 8 biennial partners. The 251 plan teams have 10 biennial partners.

Which partners play in 2024 and which play in 2025, I will leave to the SEC Schedule makers. This is how the conference can deliver "fairness and balance."


Let's put it all together.

I think THIS is the eight-game schedule plan the entire SEC can get behind.


Here is how that could work for Texas:

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