Rather than stick with two divisions, SEC Network throws out the idea of four four-team “pods” for the league. That would allow for more frequent games between teams in different pods.
In this proposal, the SEC bumps up to a nine-game conference format. This would protect some of the major SEC rivalries, including Florida-Georgia, Georgia-South Carolina, Alabama-Auburn, Alabama-Tennessee, Mississippi State-Ole Miss, and the incoming Oklahoma-Texas rivalry. Notably, they have Texas A&M and Texas in different pods, so they’d only play every other season.
After the bombshell news dropped on Wednesday, we got a ton of non-denials and no-comments from most at SEC Media Days, aside from Texas A&M which made it fairly clear they’re not on board. The SEC Network, which is co-owned by ESPN, probably couldn’t pass on the chance to get some great content out of these rumors, but it remains very notable that they dedicated legitimate time to it at all.
SEC Network, the league’s own TV channel, has some ideas. pic.twitter.com/MSnth9IYMM
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 22, 2021
It certainly seems hard to deny that there is something legitimate here. Whether it comes to fruition is a bigger question.
The Big 12 will certainly try to appease the Longhorns and Sooners, out of self-preservation. Without them, the league will be a shell of itself, or outright crumble.
Some existing SEC teams might also try and shoot down the idea of the league becoming even more top-heavy, even if Texas and Oklahoma would drive some serious new cash to the conference. The SEC isn’t exactly hurting monetarily, and there is a gentle balance to try and maintain there.
We’ll see how things progress from yesterday’s major news. If this actually comes to fruition, it will change the landscape of college football in a more significant way than the last round of realignment did.