So, rumor has it the SEC has been talking with the ACC about possibly having all 14 teams from each conference playing each other annually, and that this might take the place of a possible move to 9 conference games. Another rumor is that the SEC has also talked to the Big 12 about playing them more often.
The Pac 12, Big Ten, & Pac 12 are all either at 9 conference games or will be there soon. In addition, they nearly all add at least one game against another major conference foe, giving them 10 games a year against quality opposition. This is good for their TV schedule & their strength of schedule (which the playoff committee is supposed to consider).
I think the best thing to do would be for the SEC to stick to an 8 game conference schedule & mandate each school schedule 2 additional power conference teams themselves; this would allow each school to find the schools that make the most sense for them. And yes, I think they can do it if they are motivated (The conference should withhold some TV money if they don't schedule these games). The conferences can help different schools communicate where necessary.
That said, an agreement between all 3 conferences-SEC, Big 12, & ACC, could set up many sensible match-ups, including several historical ones that have recently been abandoned (West Virginia - Pitt is one most SEC guys have likely forgotten). Setting up an agreement with just the ACC or just the Big 12 doesn't make as much sense; schools on one side of the conference have more natural rivalries with the conference that borders them. With this sort of arrangement, each SEC school could play 8 conference games, have 1 mandated game against the ACC or Big 12, and be required to schedule 1 more power school on their own (Florida, for instance, could have a neutral game against Michigan, or it could have a series against Miami for the 10th game). The 3 conferences could also work together to have these match-ups occur throughout the season, mixing up the high-profile games to please TV executives.
I went through and made some fairly quick match-ups, considering traditional rivalries, geography, and school type (the 3 private schools in the Big 12 & SEC were each matched-up with an ACC private school). This is what I came up with:
Annual games (these would be played yearly). A ! indicates a game that would be held Thanksgiving weekend:
- FSU-Florida !
- GT-Georgia !
- Clemson-USC !
- Louisville-Kentucky !
- Virginia-Ole Miss
- Baylor-Wake Forest* !
- West Virginia-Pitt !
- Iowa State-Boston College
- Texas-A&M !
- Kansas-Missouri !
- Texas Tech-Arkansas
* I know Vandy has recently played Wake Forest, but I think it would be better to match them up with Duke (Elite Private Schools), allowing Baylor to play Wake Forest in the Baptist Bowl.
Rotating Rivals: To mix things up, these schools would alternate, playing 2 years against the first school listed, then switching to the second school for the next 2 years:
- Oklahoma State: MSU then NC State
- Kansas State: VT then MSU
- OU: LSU then Bama
- LSU: OU then VT
- Bama: Miami then OU
- Auburn: NC State then Miami
- MSU: Oklahoma State then Kansas State
- VT: KSU then LSU
- Miami: Bama then Auburn
- NCSU: Auburn then Oklahoma State
I think these would provide many good match-ups that would sell tickets and get viewers to the television, though a few won't draw any attention (Iowa State/Boston College?). Again, I would push schools to go out and schedule a second quality non-conference game themselves, so Georgia could add another game against Clemson, or Tennessee could schedule UCLA.
What do you guys think?