Nick Saban’s plan for restructuring the SEC to account for Texas, Oklahoma

Nick Saban has a fascinating plan for how the SEC can restructure with Texas and Oklahoma.

Nick Saban has been so successful as a college football head coach because he is willing to adapt.

Though the Alabama head coach will be turning 70-years-old on Halloween, he anticipates to be coaching the Crimson Tide well into his 70s. In the final years before he does call it a career, two blue-blood college football programs in Texas and Oklahoma will have joined the SEC. That would make it a 16-team league, so one would think another SEC restructure is definitely on the horizon.

Here is what Saban told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach during their interview about SEC restructuring.

“If we’re going to play 10 games in the SEC, which I would not be opposed to [because] I’ve always wanted to play more SEC games, you could play two divisions and you could play three teams from the other side,” said Saban. “So every two and a half years, you’re going to play everybody.”

Of course, the SEC is not going to expand from eight conference games to 10 without getting to nine games first. Over time, that could be the plan in place, but Saban has another solution if the SEC does not plan to play double-digit conference games right away.

“If they’re going to stay at eight or even nine, they should do the pods [of four teams], so you’re only going to have three fixed opponents and you would be playing five or six teams from the other regions or pods. You would play everybody in three years.”

Nick Saban offers solutions to inevitable SEC restructuring for Texas, Oklahoma

While the SEC had long been a proponent to having only eight conference games annually, it did play 10 conference games a year ago during the global pandemic, and that turned out just fine. Even if 10 conference games are the wave of the future, the SEC still needs to get to nine first. That will inevitably happen upon Texas and Oklahoma’s arrival, and the divisions may die then.

While the divisional format worked well when the SEC expanded from 10 to 12 teams with the additions of Arkansas and South Carolina in 1992, it has been a major bottleneck since Missouri and Texas A&M joined the league in 2012. With only eight conference games, six games in-division and one cross-divisional rival, teams like Georgia have never played a game at Kyle Field.

Saban’s thoughts on expanding to a 10-game conference schedule could keep the antiquated divisional format alive, but pods feel like the wave of the future. Each team will stick keep three annual rivals with the ability to play the conference’s other 12 opponents twice in a home-and-home once every four years. In theory, a four-year player will faced everybody, home and away.

Though SEC restructuring will happen, Saban has put a lot of thought into how this could work.

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