The bombshell news that rocked the college football world on Wednesday is still making reverberations around the country after it was reported by the Houston Chronicle that Oklahoma and Texas had reached out to the SEC about a potential move to the league in the near future.
There are many layers to digest with this potentially massive, seismic change to the landscape of college football but one of the most interesting is one of the most simple: What on Earth would this actually look like if it happens?
Let’s start off with the most simple possible layout with the new 16-team super league which would be just creating two 8-team divisions. One with the eastern half of the conference, one with the west.
In theory, that would probably look a little something like this:
The western division would be comprised of Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Missouri, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State with the eastern half being made up of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Kentucky.
While this certainly seems like the most simple layout, it is far from the best due to the sheer size of the league. In this format, the SEC would really be almost two separate conferences within one.
Seven of the eight, or nine if they add a game from what they have currently, conference games each year would already be spoken for every single season and thus teams would go several years between matchups, and nearly a decade between teams making trips to each campus. That's not exactly an ideal scenario.
The far better suggestion that has made many waves around college football fans would be dividing the 16 teams into four separate divisions, or pods, if you will.
How that would be laid out isn’t universally agreed upon but just for the sake of a visual, let’s go with a hypothetical scenario that the SEC Network themselves put out there earlier on Thursday:
- Pod A would be Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
- Pod B would be Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky.
- Pod C would be LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
- Pod D would be Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.
In this scenario, a team would play every team in their pod every single season and then play two games against each of the other three pods. The teams would all rotate around which opponents from the other pods they play each season.
This accomplishes a lot of things because A) everyone would play everyone in a two-year span and B) everyone would travel to every other campus in a four-year span.
All in all, it looks like a pretty clear win-win with the two best records at the end of the year colliding in the annual SEC Championship Game.
Whether or not that is a realistic route the conference would opt to go remains to be seen, but it certainly has its obvious advantages and merit as a legitimate option.
One last thing that should be touched on would be what exactly happens to the annual Bedlam game between the Sooners and Oklahoma State. While it isn’t the magnitude of the annual Red River Showdown, it is still the second-biggest rivalry game Oklahoma plays every single year.
Personally, it seems extremely obvious that the two schools could look to keep the rivalry going even if the two teams reside in different leagues. That is far from an unheard of proposition.
Look at Florida and Florida State, Iowa and Iowa State or even Utah and Utah State as examples of in-state rivals that meet every single season despite being in different leagues. If the Sooners and the Pokes care enough about continuing the Bedlam series, they should be able to do so.
While this all may seem like a fantasy scenario that is just fun to talk about, this move for Oklahoma and Texas is very much a real situation that is unfolding rapidly and changing by the moment.
SI Sooners will continue to report the latest from this potentially historic change to the sport of college football.