<strong>Problem:</strong> With expansion in 2012 to 14 teams, there are now 7 annual games teams must play with only 1 open slot for the 6 teams in the other division to rotate in on. This means a home&home series takes 12 years. It won't feel like 1 conference. Players will miss 2 conference opponents in their 4-years on campus. 1x every 6 years isn't enough. This year's schedule was thrown together at the last minute. They're working on the permanent 2013+ schedule now.
<strong>Goal:</strong> Maintain important rivalries while increasing how often SEC schools play each other.
<strong>Step 1:</strong> Mike Slive writes a nicely-worded letter to the NCAA asking permission to continue having the SEC Championship Game without East & West divisions.
<strong>Step 2:</strong> The rule change puts all 14 teams in 1 pool & matches up #1 vs #2 in the conference championship.
<strong>Step 3:</strong> Each team is matched up with their top 5 rivals for annual games. For Bama, they'll get Auburn, Tenn, LSU, Ole Miss & Miss St every year.
<strong>Step 4:</strong> The other 8 teams are rotated through the remaining 3 conference game slots. This way Bama in our example will get to play Florida, Jawja, Sakerlina, Vandy, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mizzou & A&M 3x each every 8 years (3 games/yr for 8 years = 24 slots for 8 teams, 3x each). Fits evenly. A full cycle of 3 home games vs Florida & 3 away games vs Florida (6x total) will take 16 years. & repeat.
I listed out the 5 annual rivals for each team below. I also included the # of times the teams have met since the SEC's 1st conference game in 1933 until after this season 2012 for a total of 80 years, how far the campus' are apart & if there's a folksy nickname for the matchup. At the very bottom is the rivalries that didn't make the cut.
1. Georgia - 79x, 350 mi - World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
2. Auburn - 71x, 315 mi
3. Sakerlina - 25x, 360 mi
4. Miss St - 51x, 530 mi
5. Kentucky - 59x, 710 mi
Game 9. FSU - 57x, 150 mi - The Governor's Cup
Game 10. Miami - 54x, 335 mi - Seminole War Canoe Trophy
Florida loses LSU (59), Vandy (46) & Tenn (36) but more importantly gets Auburn back. Plus Miss St.
1. Bama - 65x, 160 mi - Iron Bowl
2. Georgia - 79x, 170 mi - The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
3. Florida - 71x, 315 mi
4. Miss St - 73x, 245 mi
5. A&M - 2x, 750 mi
Game 9. Ga Tech (56x, 110 mi), Clemson (24x, 230 mi) & FSU (18x, 205 mi) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Auburn loses the Tiger Bowl vs LSU (38) & still can't play Tenn (49) every year but gets Florida back, keeps a game in neighbor state Miss & takes 1 for team playing newcomer A&M.
1. Florida - 79x, 350 mi - World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
2. Auburn - 79x, 170 mi - The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
3. Sakerlina - 55x, 160 mi - The Border Bash
4. Tenn - 31x, 230 mi
5. Kentucky - 66x, 400mi
Game 9. Ga Tech - 80x, 70 mi - Clean, Old Fashioned Hate
Game 10. Clemson - 37x, 75 mi (play 2x every 6 yrs)
Georgia maintains it's 5 East rivals except for Vandy (58x) & continues ducking Bama (40x) & not playing Ole Miss (45x). Needs to play
1. Georgia - 55x, 160 mi - The Border Bash
2. Tenn - 27x, 260 mi - The Halloween Game
3. Florida - 25x, 360 mi
4. Mizzou - 3x, 870 mi
5. A&M - 0x, 1,070 mi
Game 9. Clemson - 80x, 130 mi - Palmetto Bowl
Game 10. NC State (41x), UNC (37x) & Virginia (25x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
As a newcomer w/ less history in the SEC, they must play Mizzou in the new Columbia Capitol Cup & A&M.
1. Bama - 79x, 170 mi - 3rd Saturday in October
2. Kentucky - 80x, 170 mi - Battle for the Barrel
3. Vandy - 78x, 180 mi
4. Georgia - 31x, 230 mi
5. Sakerlina - 27x, 260 mi
Game 9. Ga Tech (35x), UNC (21x) & Va Tech (4x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Game 10. Clemson - 5x, 190 mi (play 2x every 6 yrs)
Florida (37x) falls off. Tenn is used to playing West division teams pre-92 so that's okay. Ole Miss (55x) & Auburn (49x) stay off the annual schedule.
1. Tenn - 80x, 170 mi - Battle for the Barrel
2. Vandy - 70x, 215 mi
3. Georgia - 66x, 400mi
4. Florida - 59x, 710 mi
5. Mizzou - 2x, 460 mi
Game 9. Louisville - 19x, 75 mi - Battle for the Governor's Cup
Game 10. Va Tech (16x) play 2x every 6 yrs
Kentucky has a small border w/ Mizzou so they add them. Still won't play Ole Miss (42x) or LSU (56x).
1. Tenn - 78x, 180 mi
2. Kentucky - 70x, 215 mi
3. Ole Miss - 69x, 230 mi
4. Arkansas - 9x, 530 mi
5. Mizzou - 3x, 430 mi
Game 9. Wake (15x)
Game 10. Duke (11x) play 2x every 6 yrs
Vandy moves more north & west w/ it's annual schedule w/ the border they share w/ Arkansas & Mizzou. Vandy keeps ducking Bama (70x). Georgia (58x) & Florida (46x) fall off.
1. Arkansas - 4x, 290 mi
2. A&M - 13x, 775 mi
3. Vandy - 3x, 430 mi
4. Kentucky - 2x, 460 mi
5. Sakerlina - 3x, 870 mi
Game 9. Kansas - 79x, 165 mi - Border War
Game 10. K-State (79x), Iowa St (79x) & Nebraska (78x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Rookie Mizzou gets its' 3 border startes, its' XII buddy & the new Columbia Capitol Cup.
1. Auburn - 65x, 160 mi - Iron Bowl
2. Tenn - 79x, 170 mi - 3rd Saturday in October
3. LSU - 61x, 350 mi - Saban Bowl
4. Miss St - 76x, 85 mi
5. Ole Miss - 41x, 160 mi
Bama won't play Vandy (70x) or Georgia (40x). Keep their 5 biggest rivals around them in the heart of SEC country.
1. Miss St - 79x, 100 mi - Egg Bowl
2. LSU - 78x, 345 mi - Magnolia Bowl
3. Vandy- 69x, 230 mi
4. Arkansas - 53x, 380 mi
5. Bama - 41x, 160 mi
Ole Miss is in the middle of the new SEC & they keep the teams they want to play. They won't play Tenn (55x), Georgia (45x) or Kentucky (42x).
1. Ole Miss - 79x, 100 mi - Egg Bowl
2. Bama - 76x, 85 mi
3. Auburn - 73x, 245 mi
4. LSU - 79x, 300 mi
5. Florida - 51x, 530 mi
Miss St gets a brutal schedule but that's now new for them.
1. Bama - 61x, 350 mi - Saban Bowl
2. A&M - 39x, 340 mi
3. Arkansas - 31x, 540 mi - The Battle for the Golden Boot
4. Miss St - 79x, 300 mi
5. Ole Miss - 78x, 345 mi - Magnolia Bowl
Game 9. Tulane (68x) & Rice (50x) play each every-other year
Drops Florida (59x) & the Tiger Bowl vs Auburn (38x). Won't matchup w/ Kentucky (56x).
1. A&M - 62x, 475 mi - The Southwest Classic
2. LSU - 31x, 540 mi - The Battle for the Golden Boot
3. Ole Miss - 53x, 380 mi
4. Vandy - 9x, 530 mi
5. Mizzou - 4x, 290 mi
Game 9. Texas - 63x, 530 mi - The Big Shootout
Game 10. TCU (59x), Baylor (57x) & Texas Tech (35x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Game 11. SMU (65x), Tulsa (61x) & Rice (59x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Arkansas's schedule is about as southwest as the Southeastern Conference gets. Miss St is a little west of Vandy.
1. Arkansas - 62x, 475 mi - The Southwest Classic
2. LSU - 39x, 340 mi
3. Mizzou - 13x, 775 mi
4. Auburn - 2x, 750 mi
5. Sakerlina - 0x, 1,070 mi
Game 9. Texas - 79x, 110 mi - Lone Star Showdown
Game 10. Baylor (77x), Texas Tech (68x) & TCU (64x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
Game 11. SMU (64x), Rice (63x) & Houston (34x) play each 2x every 6 yrs
A&M gets the 3 teams it wants to play & Auburn/Sakerlina have to start an annual game w/ them. Sakerlina would have anyway.
<strong>Non-Annual Rivalries, # of times played in the past 80 years:</strong>
70 - Bama-Vandy (pre-92)
59 - Florida-LSU (dropped)
58 - UGA-Vandy (dropped)
56 - LSU-Kentucky (pre-92)
55 - Tenn-Ole Miss (pre-92)
49 - Tenn-Auburn (pre-92)
46 - Florida-Vandy (dropped)
45 - UGA-Ole Miss (pre-92)
42 - Ole Miss-Kentucky (dropped)
40 - Bama-UGA (pre-92)
38 - LSU-Auburn (dropped)
37 - Florida-Tenn (dropped)
<strong>Thoughts?:</strong> What do you think? Is playing 5 teams annually instead of 7 / playing the other teams 6x every 16 yrs instead of 6x every 36 years better? Do you like potentially matching up #1 LSU & #2 Bama in the SEC Championship Game? Or do you think an undeserving team that gets the lucky schedule w/o a Bama or LSU would make it instead?