The Southeastern Conference will introduce a pair of new teams in 2024 in Oklahoma and Texas, who will make the move over from the Big XII. With those new SEC members being added, the future schedule has become a topic of discussion.
Now, we know a bit more about what things will look like the year after.
Much of the talk at the SEC spring meetings revolved around whether the league should move to a nine-game schedule. Previously, the conference has played eight contests against SEC foes, leaving members free to schedule four programs from the outside.
While that’s helpful for teams like UGA, Florida, Kentucky, and South Carolina, whose in-state rivals hail from the ACC, many SEC programs get ridiculed for scheduling less than stellar opponents in those OOC slots.
Auburn, for example, will play UMass, Cal, Samford, and New Mexico State out of conference in 2023. Not exactly murderers’ row. Kentucky, Georgia, Ole Miss, and a few more can be added to that boat.
In fact, there are only two SEC teams that will play 10 Power Five programs next year – South Carolina and Florida (UGA would’ve, too, if not for that Oklahoma scratch).
College football teams playing at least 10 Power 5 opponents in 2023:
Big Ten — 13 of 14
Big 12 — 11 of 14
Pac-12 — 10 of 12
ACC — 10 of 15
SEC — 2 of 14
— Adam Breneman (@AdamBreneman81) June 1, 2023
When the OU/Texas additions were announced, it seemed the perfect chance to move to nine-games. That would allow for conference rivalries to remain while more quickly circulating through the rest of the league foes. Many, though, believed a change was unlikely.
In the end, the conference voted to stay put with a 9-5 vote.
After the meetings wrapped up, fans were filled in on who voted for and against the change.
Chris Low of ESPN writes that Texas A&M “most aggressively pushed to play nine games,” while Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and LSU joined the cause.
That means Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt opposed.
Many around the college football world are now calling those nine schools soft for supposedly wanting to keep an easier schedule.
“Nine SEC programs have been publicly outed as cowards and should probably just shut down their teams,” one tweet read.
“Just pathetic,” another person said.
Props to Mizzou for making the list despite taking constant criticism for not being a ‘real SEC’ school.
Gotta say, did not see Mizzou being one of a very small number of real SEC teams coming. pic.twitter.com/TEg85YRnxy
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) June 1, 2023
While the SEC won’t adjust the schedule in ’24, they will do away with the East and West divisions.
It’s also worth noting that commissioner Greg Sankey seems to like the idea of a nine-game conference slate, and should ESPN decide to pay handsomely to add more SEC vs. SEC matchups, it probably won’t be long before the move is made.