College Football Ramifications due to Conference Realignment

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College Football Ramifications due to Conference Realignment

Commissioner Sankey has brought to light the inevitable probability that the SEC will abandon it’s division systems and move towards a unitary division.

Ever since Texas and Oklahoma were admitted into the SEC, analysts and experts presented various forms of division realignment. The first option included keeping the “East” and “West” divisions but adding a new team to each division. This more than likely would’ve slid Alabama and Auburn over to the Eastern division and placed Oklahoma and Texas in the Western division. The second scenario was a four team pod system. This scenario would have resulted in the 16 SEC teams being divided evenly into four groups. For example, if Georgia’s group consisted of Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee, then Georgia would play those three teams on a yearly basis and would rotate playing various teams from other pods to fill the remaining void on their schedule. The final system, which seems to be what will come into effect Fall of 2025, includes a unitary division where opponents will alternate each year. Now while commissioner Sankey did not specify much on what will happen with yearly rivalry games, one would assume that schools would do their best to maintain matchups such as Georgia-Florida, Alabama-Auburn, and Oklahoma-Texas.

Now, with the likely implementation of this system, it will surely change the dynamic of the College Football Playoff. The Playoff confirmed that it is expanding to a twelve team system; however, it has not confirmed yet when that will occur. With the SEC being the most dominant force in the CFP, a unitary division system should help the conference increase their already dominant production of programs into CFB’s most premier tournament. If a twelve team playoff were to occur at the end of this season, the SEC would most likely have five teams finish inside of the top twelve: Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss.

With the changing complexation of college football, expect other conferences to generate similar change. The Big-12 has already introduced BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF to the conference, and is hoping to retain other programs that are rumored to be leaving. The PAC-12 is losing USC and UCLA to the BIG 10 which will take place in 2024. Surely, other moves will soon occur, as money is the driving factor behind this sport, but one thing is for certain for Georgia fans – if Kirby Smart is at the helm, it doesn’t matter who Georgia is playing or where, the Dawgs are the face of stability in a world of change.

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