How does Texas and Oklahoma potentially joining the SEC affect Florida?

·2 min read

The college football world nearly burst Wednesday evening when the Houston Chronicle reported that Texas and Oklahoma reached out to the SEC about joining the conference. The report immediately made waves at SEC Media Days when reporters asked Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey about the potential conference shakeup. Sankey, of course, said no comment, but how would the Longhorns and Sooners joining SEC impact the Florida Gators?

Well, it would make life in the SEC that much more difficult for Florida and coach Dan Mullen. If the two programs were voted in by 11 out of the 14 members, the SEC East and West divisions would need to be redone. The Gators currently reside in the more favorable SEC division where their only significant challenge for the SEC East crown is Georgia.

247Sports reimagined how the two SEC divisions would look after the expansion to include Texas and Oklahoma. It didn’t look good for Florida. It had the Sooners and Longhorns join the SEC West, and Missouri flips to the other division from the east. In exchange, 247Sports had Alabama and Auburn move to the SEC East.

Florida playing the Crimson Tide, the Tigers and the Bulldogs for a spot in Atlanta each year as well as two SEC West foes — ouch. The road to the College Football Playoff even with a 12-team format doesn’t get much more brutal than this.

A more favorable format for the Gators was provided by SEC Network. They suggested that the SEC create four four-team pods with nine conference games. They grouped Florida with Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina. This would be much more welcome news for Florida fans.

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However, this would probably be the least likely way to realign the SEC because how would the conference determine who advances to the SEC Championship Game?

Even with either format, there are a lot of hoops Oklahoma, Texas and the SEC have to jump through to make this work. The Big 12 programs have to leave their old conference, and the SEC has to convince 11 of their 14 members to accept the Longhorns and Sooners.

Texas A&M is one member that has already expressed its disinterest in the expansion. The Aggies enjoy being the only Texas-based team in the conference and want to keep it that way. But even with the allure of all the schools making a lot more money, it’s hard to imagine schools like Alabama, Georgia and LSU be willing to accept a more difficult road to a national title.

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