When the earth-shattering news dropped on Wednesday regarding Texas and Oklahoma reportedly wanting to join the SEC to form a super conference, it sent the media and fans into a frenzy. The more time that passes, the more it appears likely to happen.
While this move has apparently been percolating behind the scenes for a while, the rest of the Big 12 and even SEC members were blindsided by the announcement. Texas A&M did not seem too thrilled with the idea, but if it opposes it, it would need three other schools to vote against the move.
Politicians could also get involved and veto the move, but we will likely get answers at some point throughout the next few weeks.
With two more teams, the SEC will certainly have to realign. Two methods seem the most popular.
First, the idea of having four pods of four teams
Four pods of four teams. This would likely split the teams by geography, in a way, and would consist of a nine-game conference schedule. Teams would play other teams in their pod every year and add two games against each different pod. This would equate to teams hosting one another every four years.
In the current suggested pod form, Texas A&M is not in the same pod as Texas and Oklahoma, which would be an embarrassment. If A&M somehow managed to avoid playing the Longhorns — even with them in the same conference — there is an issue.
Here is what was proposed on SEC Network:
The two best teams — regardless of pod — would make it to the SEC championship game. This would just create problems the league does not need. For one, the argument can be made that each pod would eliminate current rivalries in the conference. Seeing a rivalry game played every four years rather than every year would not make logistical or traditional sense.
I’m also not a fan of how the pods are proposed in that picture, as it seems pods A, B, and D lack the most competition. The bottom feeders of the SEC like Vanderbilt would probably not look forward to a yearly throttling by Alabama. The current format isn’t broke, so why fix it?
Next, a more logical method of two divisions
Two divisions of eight teams
The SEC has two divisions within the conference: the SEC West and SEC East. Adding Texas and Oklahoma will likely mean that a couple teams shift to a different division. This is much more favorable. Not only will it keep the existing rivalries, but it likely sets up a better SEC championship game.
Having to go through a gantlet of the same teams will create a hostility that college football fans love, rather than playing a team from a separate pod once every few years and losing that competitive fire with one another. Here is a map of how the conference could look if it keeps the East and West:
It would involve sliding Alabama and Auburn to the East division, making way for Texas and Oklahoma in the West. It also allows the in-state rivalry to be rekindled, which Texas A&M seems to be dodging, while also pairing Texas with former Southwest Conference foe Arkansas.
The Longhorns and Sooners would also experience a yearly matchup with LSU, which would be a great game every year. Although the argument can be made that the East is tougher, given the trajectory of both Texas schools, along with LSU, there very well could be four elite teams on each side. This could also equate to more parody in a conference that has been run by Alabama. This seems like the more logical, and, honestly, more fun option, because it keeps the rivalries alive while balancing competition.