Dooley’s Dozen: 12 best and worst case scenarios of the SEC schedule reveal

After the dust cleared in Destin last week, we found out that the SEC will stick with an eight-game conference schedule for the 2024 season.

A lot of this is predicated on the league wanting more money for a ninth conference game from ESPN and the Mother Ship hemorrhaging cash so badly that layoffs are coming fast and furious.

Not a good time to ask for a raise.

The SEC will probably go to nine games in 2025 or ’26, but by then the league might have added more teams.

Seriously, how can you tell the conferences without a scorecard.

We do know that on June 14, the SEC Network will carry the reveal of the schedule for next year and it got the Dooley’s Dozen thinking about best-case scenarios and worst-case scenarios.

We know there are no divisions and Georgia will be the permanent opponent. Let’s explore the other possibilities with the 12 best and worst possible ways this could go.

Best case: Keep Kentucky early

Jeremy Foley fought long and hard to move the Kentucky game from late in the year to a more weather-friendly time of the year. And Florida would still like to keep it that way rather than play on a cold November morning in Lexington. But who knows if that changes? Or if they even play Kentucky?

Worst case: Somehow, Florida is at Texas A&M

Look, Florida has had success in College Station winning twice and having a really good chance at the end in the other one under Dan Mullen until Malik Davis fumbled. It’s more about what is right and wrong. If Florida is at A&M and Georgia – which hasn’t played there since the Aggies joined the league – is not, well, then the commish has some explaining to do.

Best case: Avoiding Alabama

I know it’s a high-revenue game if it’s in the Swamp, but when you are already playing Georgia and who knows who else it would be nice to avoid the Tide. Not playing chicken, just saying the schedule will be tough enough without a game against Nick Saban. And I don’t think he’s retiring soon.

Worst case: A killer September

It’s going to be difficult enough because now that it’s only eight games Florida will not have to move the Miami game (the season opener) off the schedule. Florida also plays UCF in October and FSU in November. If you get Tennessee and Kentucky or Texas to go along with the Hurricanes, man, that is not the way Billy Napier wants to start his third year on the job.

Best case: No trip to Starkville

There are a lot of reasons I retired from the newspaper business. Standing in the parking lot of a Days Inn in Columbus, Mississippi, at 4 a.m. waiting to go to the Golden Triangle Airport is one of them. Don’t make any of the media boys go back.

Worst case: At LSU again

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

If LSU is not permanently on Florida’s schedule anymore after this season, I think we all could take a breather from each other for a couple of years. I know the food is great but these two fan bases have developed an unhealthy hatred of each other.

Best case: Keep Vanderbilt

Two reasons and you can guess one of them. Despite what happened last year, a trip to Nashville almost always ends well for the Gators. Plus, you get to visit Zack Piller’s bar and you are in one of the best places in the SEC. I know Florida just went there, but who cares?

Worst case: The two Columbias

Florida has to do that again this year going to Missouri and South Carolina. Reason No. 2 that I retired was those at Mizzou games. It’s the worst trip. The other Columbia is not as bad, but why are those two both on the road every other year? Break it up.

Best case: A trip to Austin

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We know one is coming eventually, so why not let Gator fans who haven’t been there find out right away why this is a must-travel game? Austin is different. The music, the food. Last time I was there, a place on Sixth St. had a chalk sign out front that said: “Soup of the Day: Whiskey.”

Worst case: Sooner Fatigue

I have nothing against Oklahoma. Visited Norman when Bobby Stoops was the coach and found the city to be way nicer than expected. But we are going to get this program in our face so much in other sports so how about we just give it a year in football. ‘Kay?

Best case: A soft November

It’d be nice to get one of those Tennessee-soft November schedules when the new one comes out. We assume FSU will still be the last game of the season and UF could always move Samford down the calendar, but a lot will depend on who the SEC delivers. Could be big for Billy.

Worst case: A Thursday game

Nobody likes Thursday games except fans watching at home with nothing else to watch. It’s not what college football is supposed to be about, but that ship sailed a long time ago. There’s no telling what ESPN might have conjured up behind the scenes. Florida plays Utah this year on a Thursday night and it feels weird. No Friday games either!

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