SEC Might Change Cross-Division Rotation System to Address Scheduling Concerns

UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said on Sunday that he's feeling better about the chances of the SEC's permanent rival system staying around. I'm on the record as being in favor of preserving the permanent rivalry system, even if divisional realignment must take place to keep it, because the SEC has too many important series to do away with it.

McGarity also said a number of plans for eight- and nine-game schedules were discussed, and one that seemed popular was an eight-game system that changes the way the rotating game would take place. Instead of doing a complete home-and-home with every rotating opponent, instead that rotating opponent would change every year.

This is something I've thought about before, so here's an example rotation I made a while ago using Alabama. I picked the Crimson Tide because its first alphabetically, and the rotating East teams go through alphabetically as well. For the second half, teams have to get moved around in order to switch the home/road arrangements.

Year 1: Florida, at Tennessee

Year 2: at Georgia, Tennessee

Year 3: Kentucky, at Tennessee

Year 4: at Missouri, Tennessee

Year 5: South Carolina, at Tennessee

Year 6: at Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Year 7: Georgia, at Tennessee

Year 8: at Florida, Tennessee

Year 9: Missouri, at Tennessee

Year 10: at Kentucky, Tennessee

Year 11: Vanderbilt, at Tennessee

Year 12: at South Carolina, Tennessee

With this system, a fifth-year senior would face 12 of a possible 13 SEC schools before his time is up. It would also make sure that every team plays each other conference opponent at least once every six or seven years, which is a lot better than the alternative of needing 12 years to complete an entire rotation.

There is a quirk to it where, in this specific case, Alabama would play both Missouri (Year 4 to Year 9) and Vanderbilt (Year 6 to Year 11) twice in a six-year span and then go seven years without playing them again. That is going to have to happen unless the permanent rival game is going to have one of the teams playing back-to-back home games once every six years. If that was going to happen, here Bama would be home against Tennessee in Year 6 and 7 while Tennessee would be home in Year 12 and Year 1.

In fact, mark it down right now: I predict that if the SEC keeps an eight-game conference schedule with permanent rivals indefinitely, it will use this kind of rotation system. It may not exactly match what I sketched out here, but it will have the cross-division rotating team change every year.

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