Texas could face 8-game SEC schedule with one permanent rival
Another new possibility emerged in regard to Texas’ future SEC schedule.
On Tuesday we learned from Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork the SEC could maintain its 8-game conference schedule with a model that includes only one permanent rival.
Under the proposed model, Texas would likely face the Oklahoma Sooners every year. Elsewhere, Texas would face seven SEC teams one year and the other seven teams the next year.
Admittedly, that model raises questions but might be the best option for the new league. Teams like Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State could be on the outside looking in with many three-rival combinations.
The counter argument against the 8-game alternative schedule involves which rivalry will be protected. Georgia’s primary conference rival is Florida. Auburn’s primary rival is Alabama. That leaves Tennessee without its two premier annual conference rivals.
Kentucky and Vanderbilt will likely both want to face Tennessee. Certainly, Arkansas and Texas A&M will fight over the right to face LSU.
Here’s a look at protected rivalries I would like to see.
Texas vs Oklahoma
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Texas A&M relinquished its right to be Texas’ top rival when the two parted ways after 2011. And while both teams’ fight songs mention the other rival, let’s put this in SEC terms. Red River just means more. Texas and Oklahoma convene for the best sporting event in college football every year. That cannot change in the new conference.
Arkansas vs Texas A&M
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M and Arkansas will both fight over the right to face LSU. That rivalry establishes commonality between both programs. Neither has a premier rival. They do, however, both face each other in a big time matchup each season. Give me Arkansas and Texas A&M as an annual meeting between two former Southwest Conference foes.
Alabama vs Auburn
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This classic rivalry has produced some of the greatest games in the conference over the last decade. Auburn has lucked into some crazy finishes at home against Alabama in recent seasons. The Iron Bowl continues as one of the best rivalries in college sports.
Georgia vs Florida
Brad McClenny-USA TODAY NETWORK
The annual rivalry between the two teams is one of the better spectacles in the game. Many times the winner has represented the SEC East in the conference championship. This rivalry stays.
LSU vs Tennessee
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
LSU and Tennessee aren’t necessarily rivals, but neither team has a top rival outside of Alabama. Arkansas and Texas A&M have become manufactured rivals for the Tigers, while Ole Miss has been a strong secondary rival. Even so, the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State is worth maintaining. Tennessee’s main rivals are Alabama and Georgia. These two passionate fanbases and winning programs are a good comparable fit.
Ole Miss vs Mississippi State
Egg Bowl 18
This rivalry isn’t going anywhere. The animosity is there. The passion is clear. The Egg Bowl will remain one of the conference’s top in-state rivalries.
Missouri vs Kentucky
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Neither team has much in common except for a lack of football history and more recent success. The two seem like a solid pairing.
South Carolina vs Vanderbilt
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In this game of musical chairs, both these teams end up without a major rival. There shouldn’t be much complaining from either side. Each program avoids the task of facing Florida, Georgia or Tennessee on an annual basis.