As first reported by Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the Southeastern Conference about potentially joining the conference. So far, there have been no comments from either university or the SEC, leading many to believe the story is true.
The addition of these teams to the SEC would create shockwaves throughout the landscape of college football. If the last round of conference realignment is an accurate predictor for this round, there would be no conference untouched.
Here’s what it could mean for the SEC.
SEC Scheduling Could Change Radically
The addition of Oklahoma and Texas would have many effects within the SEC, but the simplest is just a numbers game. The addition of two teams would take the conference from 14 to 16 teams and create the first “super conference” in college athletics, assuming no schools are removed.
In football, the SEC currently has two divisions of seven teams, and the winners of each division play in the SEC Championship Game. Every team plays each of its six division opponents and then two teams from the opposing division: one permanent rivalry game and also a rotational game from the other teams in the division.
It is also worth noting that some schools in the SEC have already scheduled Texas and Oklahoma for home-and-home series in the near future as an out-of-conference opponent. The addition of both these schools would mean a school like Georgia, which has games scheduled with the Longhorns, and Sooners in the future, would likely have to change their out-of-conference schedules.
The addition of two teams to the conference would increase the number of teams in each division to eight. That would add an additional divisional game for each team every season. Assuming the SEC keeps the current division format, there are three scenarios.
The first is that the SEC would be forced to change the number of conference games each member plays from eight to nine. This change would allow the SEC schools to keep their current permanent rivals and continue playing one other opposite-division team. That would maintain the current scenario where some conference members take up to six years to play each other and over a decade to play a home-and-home matchup.
Famously, Georgia has played Texas A&M only once since they joined the SEC in 2012. The first matchup came in 2019 season when the Aggies visited Sanford Stadium and Georgia has yet to make a return trip to Kyle Field in College Station.
As with the recent Name, Image and Likeness legislation passed by the NCAA, forming a "super-conference" in the SEC would mean changes in recruiting.
Over the last decade or so, we've seen a rise in the successful recruiting of the state of Texas, a premier state for high-school football. However, the success truly dates back to Texas A&M joining the SEC as it gave schools like LSU and Alabama the chance to play in the state of Texas every other year.
Since then, the Tide and the Tigers have successfully been able to recruit the state of Texas at a high level. Adding the Longhorns would give the SEC another school from the state of Texas to face off within Austin every other year and vice versa.
The addition of the Sooners and Longhorns would provide a mutual benefit for the "elite of elite" in recruiting as these two current Big-12 schools would have a better chance at getting athletes out of Florida and Georgia.
Overall, while this addition would create a super conference in the SEC, it would also bring positives and negatives on each side.