In a post published on Tuesday morning, SB Nation bros Jason Kirk and Bill Connelly proposed a detailed scheduling system that would do away with divisions in the SEC (I highly recommend you go read that piece in its entirety). This would accomplish two major goals:
- It would ensure the cream of the East crop doesn't get to waltz through its weak-ass division schedule while the West teams slaughter one another.
- It would ensure the conference's top two teams meet in Atlanta. Instead of Bama destroying Florida last season, we would have gotten a presumably more competitive Bama-Ole Miss rematch.
The potential downside, of course, is you could lose historical annual rivalries. But don't worry, Jason and Bill thought of that!
A couple rivalries complicate the SEC puzzle. Alabama has to play Tennessee every year; Auburn has to play Georgia every year. But those go across divisions. If you move Auburn to the East, Alabama can only play either Auburn or Tennessee every year, and that's how Revelation starts.
Currently, everyone has a cross-division rival, even though most pairs make little sense. We love to make fun of the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt Khaki Bowl, and Florida-LSU is good because it gets weird, but this is a lot of fuss.
So, the core of the proposal: scrap divisions, and give everybody three guaranteed rivals.
So each team would have a trio of opponents it would play every season. The rest of the conference schedule would rotate in a way that ensures every team plays each other every two seasons.
Here are Jason and Bill's proposed rival groupings:
|Arkansas||Missouri||Ole Miss||Texas A&M|
|LSU||Alabama||Ole Miss||Texas A&M|
|Mississippi State||Auburn||Kentucky||Ole Miss|
That's a draw I think most Rebel fans would support. Ole Miss keeps the Egg Bowl, the Magnolia Bowl and a tussle with the Hogs, avoiding an annual match with Bama in the process. (A select few of you are now saying to yourselves, "But beating Bama is the New Normal™!" This is a dumb thing to say.)
With State, LSU and Arkansas locked in, here's what the rest of Ole Miss' conference schedule would look like:
Even years: Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas A&M
Odd years: Alabama, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina and Vandy
So what do y'all think? Would a system like this work? If so, what three teams would you want Ole Miss to play every year? Do you think the rest of the groupings are balanced? Which would you change?