The college football world is an ever-changing landscape, especially since the turn of the 21st century.
From recently enacting a name, image and likeness law to allow collegiate athletes to profit off their brands for the first time, to waiting on the expected approval of another playoff expansion to 12 teams, college football had the potential to undergo a complete facelift to become unrecognizable in a short span.
Now more change sits on the horizon in the form of an impending superconference with Oklahoma and Texas venturing from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. While the move is yet to be official, the coming weeks could prove to be an exciting period of working out the kinks for the move to become a sealed deal.
Once completed, the SEC will change drastically, resulting in a plethora of questions arising. For Florida's sake, the most pressing unknown is how the Gators will be affected by the Sooners and Longhorns' emergence into the conference.
In an attempt to answer, we look at three ways UF will be impacted on the football front: realignment, recruiting and — most importantly — revenue.
With change comes the necessity to adapt, which can often take time for programs of Florida's caliber.
Sitting comfortably in the SEC East at the moment, the Gators have the understanding their road to Atlanta runs through Jacksonville with their annual matchup against Georgia. Since 2000, Florida or Georgia has won the east in 15 of the 20 seasons — including three each in the past six years.
A stronghold on the east that is subject to change with division realignment inbound, however that shakes out.
However, this doesn’t mean the east crown will elude Florida in the future. If anything, given the talent development at UF, their ability to come away victorious against any team in the SEC looms large, even with the new logos arriving in the conference in the future.
Overall, with the addition of more national powerhouses, the number of legitimate contenders they would have to overcome in order to get a shot at the SEC crown diminishes their overall chances in probability.
As a result, the realignment could prove to be a negative side effect for a Gators team that has squeezed its way into Atlanta in the past.
The Gators haven’t met their high expectations when operating on the recruiting front in the past, especially when targeting players from the state of Florida.
However, UF has made a significant splash to make up for their in-state woes in the state of Texas, providing prospects a change of scenery and an opportunity to compete in the SEC.
Gearing efforts towards plucking talent from the midwest, Florida has hired Tulsa (Okla.) native Garrick McGee in the offseason to replace quarterback coach Brian Johnson, drawn in defensive back Julian Humphrey and quarterback Nick Evers to highlight their class and continue to battle for prospects like Evan Stewart and Harold Perkins of Texas as well as Gentry Williams and Chris McClellan of Oklahoma.
Now with Texas and Oklahoma moving into the SEC, highly regarded prospects have the opportunity to operate at the highest level college football has to offer, while staying close to their friends and family - something Texas native and current Gators edge rusher Princely Umanmielen mentioned on Twitter.
No matter the pitch Florida can provide, that often can be too much to contend with.
In the past, Texas A&M was the team to beat for Texas products looking to continue their playing career in the SEC. Now, instead of competing against just one program, Florida will be forced to battle against three, a difficult endeavor for a team that has proven to be simply average as recruiters four years into the Mullen regime.
A positive takeaway from the impending move of more college football blue bloods to the SEC would be an increase in overall revenue — the main reason this deal should eventually be completed.
Drawing in what would be the first and eighth most revenues in the SEC according to the USA Today Sports Database, Texas and Oklahoma are net positives for any athletic department for the interest they bring on a weekly basis.
Specifically, Oklahoma — as a team that has made the college football playoff in four out of seven years — the increase of intra-conference competition leads to more intrigue for the average football fans looking for substantial games to watch in the time slots not occupied by their program.
Potential top 25 matchups on a more frequent basis present win-win scenarios for both parties involved, specifically Florida who has started to consistently find themselves back in the top 10 more regularly.
Overall, in an effort to fill pockets and pique the interest of sports fans near and far, the move of Texas and Oklahoma presents a massive for all parties involved to profit.