On Tuesday, the SEC released its 2023 conference football schedule. This isn't atypical of the SEC, but this year's release– and likely next year's– carried extra intrigue.
The two teams not listed on the schedule: Oklahoma and Texas.
The rumor mill was ablaze with speculation about Oklahoma and Texas, the SEC's two newest members. Though a July 2025 date was given for their entrance, it's been long rumored that the two teams would break from the Big 12 and join the SEC early.
Well, that won't be the case at least for this season.
A report came in earlier this month from ESPN's Pete Thamel: Georgia and Tennessee were instructed to cancel their home-and-home series with Oklahoma. One of those games was set for 2023, spurring buzz about OU joining the conference early.
More than likely, this wasn't pointing towards the Sooners joining the SEC in 2023, rather to delay the matchups until they are conference matchups in 2025 and beyond. But nonetheless, it got the media excited.
There's still strong indication that Oklahoma and Texas won't stick out their Big 12 membership until after the 2024 football season, even if that exit doesn't occur after this season. But with how quickly conference realignment can change, the door isn't completely shut.
Oklahoma replaced their non-conference Tennessee matchup with SMU while they still have an empty slot for 2024.
The buyout for the two programs to leave the Big 12 early is upwards of $76M– not insignificant money, even for the wealthiest athletic department in the country. A report states that ESPN still owes Texas $160M for the Longhorn Network from a 2011 deal to acquire it. In theory, that $160M could be partially used for the buyout.
But, that's still in theory. We won't be seeing the iconic SEC logo painted at the 25 yard lines of Oklahoma and Texas Memorial Stadiums come fall, 2023.
Now, let's get back to football.
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