Stuart McNair

If the SEC changed its divisions for football, no one would want to be with Alabama

There are some SEC schools that would like divisions changed

As everyone who follows Southeastern Conference football knows, the SEC is divided into two divisions based roughly on West and East geography. The formula of play has been altered a bit over the years as the league expanded from 10 to 12 teams (adding Arkansas and South Carolina) to make the divisions (and the resulting SEC Championship Game) possible, and then from 12 to 14 with the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri.

The Pac-12 is also based on geography (North and South) and the Big Ten is East and West. But the ACC division (Coastal and something else that escapes me) is not based on geography.

There has been some call for a realignment of the SEC almost since it was set up. Today the divisions are:
WEST

Alabama

Arkansas

Auburn
LSU

Ole Miss

Mississippi State

Texas A&M

EAST

Florida

Georgia

Kentucky

Missouri

South Carolina

Tennessee

Vanderbilt

This has put two important traditional rivalries – Alabama vs. Tennessee and Auburn vs. Georgia – in opposite divisions, but that problem was solved by every team having a traditional, every-year opponent from the other division. Some don’t have much merit as “traditional,” of course, but we’ll be thinking about Florida vs. LSU for some time after this year’s drama about that game.

 

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There is no fan base that wants realignment more than Auburn. They want out of the West and over to the East and they don’t care how it happens. Moreover, they don’t want their crossover game to be against Alabama. They would like to play Alabama about once every six years. Of course, what they don’t understand is that their ability to sell season tickets is based primarily on the sale of Alabama-Auburn.

To be honest, most SEC teams would probably like two divisions. The first would be the Champion Division and it would include Alabama. All the others would be in the Other Division.

Just as an exercise, how would you like to see the SEC with two seven-team divisions.

There are a lot of sports in the conference, but we’re thinking alignment based on football. The geographical division makes sense for a lot of sports where the teams travel by bus or van.

Here’s the way we would do it (and we haven’t figured out any names, yet):

ONE – Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

TWO – Arkansas, Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky

The crossovers would be Alabama-Florida, Auburn-Georgia, LSU-Texas A&M, Ole Miss-Arkansas, Mississippi State-Missouri, Tennessee-South Carolina, and Vanderbilt-Kentucky.

How would you set it up, or would you leave it like it is?


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