What a 13-Team SEC Schedule Might Look Like

Something most rumors coming out of Texas A&M territory say is that the SEC would be willing to take the Aggies for the 2012 season without a partner. That would require one year with a 13-team schedule before taking on a 14th team for the 2013 season.

Whether that is true or not, I have no idea. What I do have an idea of is how that one year of 13 teams might work.

To understand the problems associated with a 13-team football conference, just look at the MAC. It has had 13 teams for a while, but the scheduling is unwieldy. In the MAC East, the division with seven teams, each year four teams play only five division games. That means they miss out on having a complete divisional round robin.

The SEC would have to do the same because of the way the math works out with 13 teams in two divisions playing eight games apiece. You couldn't fix it with a nine-game schedule because having 13 teams playing nine apiece is mathematically impossible (it works out to 58.5 conference games).

To help illustrate how this would go, I have set up a hypothetical 2012 conference schedule. I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible, but I'll be honest, my head hurt quite a bit after putting this together. As you'll see, I tried to monkey with the current SEC scheduling system as little as possible.

Because the SEC would go with 13 teams for just one season, you (thankfully) don't have to set up a rotation. With that in mind, I think the SEC would preserve the designated rivalries. For the purposes of this exercise, I also had each cross division series that starts in 2011 finish in 2012. For example, Georgia is starting its rotation with Ole Miss this fall by going to Oxford; in this hypothetical 2012 schedule, the Rebels return the favor by going to Athens. That gets all of the original West teams to their minimum two cross-division games.

Next, you have to select which West teams will play five division games and which will play six. I picked Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss to play five division games, with the Bama-Arkansas and Auburn-Ole Miss games not happening in 2012. With those choices, I was mainly trying to avoid postponing series with lots of history and meaning like LSU-Ole Miss, the Iron Bowl, and the Egg Bowl. That then sets up LSU, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M as the three West teams playing six division games.

The final consideration is which East teams will fill Texas A&M's two cross-division slots. I chose to send South Carolina and Tennessee to College Station to give a recruiting boost to the only two teams without a single Texas player listed on their rosters. It really doesn't matter though; I could have picked anyone.

For the four West teams playing five division games, I gave them their next scheduled rotation opponent as their third cross-division game. LSU and Mississippi State have no third cross-division game, so they therefore would play each other to complete their schedules.

I hope that was reasonably straightforward. I've included the schedule for each team after the jump to help you see what it could look like. The bottom line is this: 13 teams is a bad number for division-based scheduling, and the SEC is right to reject that number long term.

For home/away sites, I continued current patterns and ensured that everyone has four home and four road games.

ALABAMA

vs. West vs. East
Auburn at Tennessee
at LSU at Vanderbilt
Ole Miss Georgia
Mississippi State -
at Texas A&M -

ARKANSAS

vs. West vs. East
at Auburn at South Carolina
LSU at Tennessee
Ole Miss Kentucky
at Mississippi State -
Texas A&M -

AUBURN

vs. West vs. East
at Alabama Georgia
Arkansas at Florida
LSU Vanderbilt
at Mississippi State -
at Texas A&M -

FLORIDA

vs. West vs. East
LSU Georgia (Jax)
Auburn Kentucky
at Ole Miss South Carolina
- at Tennessee
- at Vanderbilt

GEORGIA

vs. West vs. East
at Auburn Florida (Jax)
Ole Miss at Kentucky
at Alabama at South Carolina
- Tennessee
- Vanderbilt

KENTUCKY

vs. West vs. East
at Mississippi State at Florida
LSU Georgia
at Arkansas South Carolina
- at Tennessee
- Vanderbilt

LSU

vs. West vs. East
Alabama at Florida
at Arkansas at Kentucky
at Auburn -
Mississippi State -
Ole Miss -
Texas A&M -

OLE MISS

vs. West vs. East
at Alabama Vanderbilt
at Arkansas at Georgia
at LSU Florida
Mississippi State -
Texas A&M -

MISSISSIPPI STATE

vs. West vs. East
at Alabama Kentuckly
Arkansas at South Carolina
Auburn -
at LSU -
at Ole Miss -
Texas A&M -

SOUTH CAROLINA

vs. West vs. East
Arkansas at Florida
Mississippi State Georgia
at Texas A&M at Kentucky
- Tennessee
- at Vanderbilt

TENNESSEE

vs. West vs. East
Alabama Florida
Arkansas at Georgia
at Texas A&M Kentucky
- at South Carolina
- at Vanderbilt

TEXAS A&M

vs. West vs. East
Alabama South Carolina
at Arkansas Tennessee
Auburn -
at LSU -
at Ole Miss -
at Mississippi State -

VANDERBILT

vs. West vs. East
at Ole Miss Florida
Alabama at Georgia
at Auburn at Kentucky
- South Carolina
- Tennessee
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