SEC plans to catch up to a college football standard at a glacial pace

It is eventually going to happen, but Chris Del Conte's comments about the SEC going to a nine-game are certainly a good thing. Here is what the Texas athletic director had to say about all that.

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On July 1, Oklahoma and Texas will become the newest members of the SEC. It will be a 16-team league with the Sooners and Longhorns' included. These are the two biggest brands from the Big 12 coming over. Geographically, their move to the SEC makes sense, but when it comes to college athletics, it makes all the sense in the world. But what about the new conference schedule?

In a recent town hall meeting, Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte mentioned not only how excited he is to have Texas joining the SEC, but that he also anticipates his school's new league will smartly adopt a nine-game conference schedule. The Big 12, Big Ten and the former Pac-12 have long had it. Only the ACC and the SEC held out in going in that direction. There are various reasons for doing that.

Del Conte said it will be an eight-game schedule in 2024 and probably again in 2025 before the SEC seriously looks at going to a nine-game schedule in 2026. I feel like we are pulling teeth at this point.

“We have eight games scheduled right now. We’re working on going to a nine-game schedule, but we have a ways to go with that. I would say this year we have an eight-game schedule. The following year, we have another eight-game schedule. Then we’ll look at going into a nine-game conference schedule.”

Egos need to be kicked to the curb yesterday, as the SEC needs to adopt a 3-6 model immediately!

Chris Del Conte hints SEC will have a nine-game conference slate in 2026

Right now, college football scheduling in the SEC is a year-to-year sort of proposition. It will be a league without divisions where the two best teams will play in Atlanta for a conference championship. Four games at home and four on the road. Unfortunately, the Power Four need to be unified in their conference scheduling models for the sake of keep our sport from becoming a feckless superleague.

Historically, the SEC has gotten away with only playing an eight-game conference schedule for two reasons. One, four former SEC East teams have an in-state rival in the ACC they have to play annually. That recuses Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina who must play Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Clemson annually out of the SEC. The other is the league is just too daunting.

Teams like Alabama and LSU don't need to play to everyone else's rules because playing in the SEC West from its creation in 1992 to its dissolution last year in 2023 was simply different. Now that everybody will be playing everybody far more frequently, the schedule will be more balanced. There has been debate about what to do with the ninth game, but to me, the money is too good to give it up.

I think SEC commissioner Greg Sankey will find a compromise of sorts to figure out who gets four home games one season and five the next. Look for neutral-site affairs like Red River, the Cocktail Party and the Southwest Classic to help ease that out a bit for schools like Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas A&M. But of course, the nine-game schedule must be of the 3-6 variety.

For those unaware, the three represents annual rivals. Obviously, Florida will play Georgia annually, as will Oklahoma and Texas. However, under the current 1-7 format, major secondary rivalries like the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry and the Third Saturday in October are on the chopping block. Auburn will play Georgia next year, as will Alabama play Tennessee. But after 2024, those rivalries could be over.

Thus, when the SEC goes to a nine-game schedule, it must got to a 3-6 with three annual rivalries and rotating the other 12 opponents on a biannual basis, ensuring everyone plays everyone at their place at least once every four years. This is the way to make a nine-game schedule work in modern college football. Hopefully, the Power Four leagues unite and figure this all out before it is too late.

To maintain status quo, the SEC needs to approach topics like this with confidence and strength.

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