With the Interwebs abuzz at the news of Missouri's dalliances with the SEC, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at how the SEC schedule might play out with 14 teams. I think this will be a temporary setup, believing that Mike Slive wants to get the SEC to 16 teams in the not-too-distant future.
1. Texas A&M moves to the SEC West.
2. Missouri moves to the SEC East. I consider this the most agreeable way to keep the existing rivalries in tact. We can discuss the pros and cons in the comments section.
3. Existing (2011) SEC teams keep their annual cross-divisional rivalries (e.g., Alabama vs. Tennessee).
4. Missouri and Texas A&M naturally become each other's annual cross-divisional rivals.
5. Existing (2011) SEC teams generally play the second game of their new floating 2011 cross-divisional rivalries (e.g., LSU at Kentucky). One exception is made to this rule.
6. All teams must play an even number of home (3) and road (3) games within the division.
1. Missouri and Texas A&M must play another cross-division game, so the second game of one 2011 floating cross-divisional rivalry will have to be nixed. This choice causes me some consternation, because Tennessee and Arkansas play some incredible games. But, in order to begin establishing a rivalry between neighbors Missouri and Arkansas, I've decided to have these two play (and subsequently nix the Tennessee/Arkansas game). It's a safe bet to say that Mizzou and Arkansas will end up in the same "pod" or "division" once the SEC moves to 16 teams, so the SEC will want to go ahead and begin growing this border rivalry.
2. The remaining games identified in assumption #5 above are all scheduled to be played at East division locations. Meanwhile, the games identified in #3 above are split evenly between East and West venues. This would result in imbalanced schedules and break rule #6. In order to get around this, I propose that the SEC will put all annual cross-divisional rivalries at West division locations in 2012. So, all annual cross-divisional rivalries are played at West locations, and all floating cross-divisional rivalries are played at East locations in 2012.
As a concession to the teams having to make return visits to annual rivals, the three games that are affected by exception #2 will be played at neutral or semi-neutral off-campus locations. These three games, along with the Texas A&M/Arkansas, Missouri/Arkansas, and Florida/Georgia games, will be held during October as a "Welcome to the new SEC" event! The four-week event features games in Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Kansas City, Arlington, and culminates in the annual Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville, Florida.
The schedules (I'll save the new guys for last):
Note on schedules ... these are not in chronological order. See legend below ...
Bold are division foes in alphabetical order.
Bold/italic is annual cross-divisional rival.
Regular font is floating cross-divisional rival.
"Old" SEC East
|Georgia *||@ Florida *||@ Florida|
|@ Missouri||Missouri||@ Missouri|
|South Carolina||@ South Carolina||South Carolina|
|@ Tennessee||Tennessee||@ Tennessee|
|@ LSU **||@ Auburn||@ Mississippi State|
|Georgia||@ Georgia||@ Georgia|
|@ Kentucky||Kentucky||@ Kentucky|
|Tennessee||@ South Carolina||South Carolina|
|@ Vanderbilt||@ Vanderbilt||Tennessee|
|@ Arkansas ^^||@ Alabama ^||@ Mississippi|
|Mississippi State||Texas A&M||Alabama|
"Old" SEC West
|@ Arkansas||Alabama||@ Alabama|
|Mississippi State||@ Mississippi State||@ Mississippi State|
|'@ Texas A&M||@ Texas A&M ***||Texas A&M|
|Tennessee ^||South Carolina ^^||Georgia|
|@ Vanderbilt||@ Missouri ^^^||@ Florida|
|Alabama||@ Alabama||@ Alabama|
|@ Arkansas||Arkansas||@ Arkansas|
|Mississippi State||@ LSU||@ LSU|
|Mississippi||@ Mississippi||Mississippi State|
|@ Texas A&M||Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|@ Kentucky||@ South Carolina||@ Georgia|
And finally, the new guys:
|@ Georgia||Arkansas ***|
|@ South Carolina||LSU|
|@ Tennessee||@ Mississippi State|
|@ Texas A&M||Missouri|
|Arkansas ^^^||@ Tennessee|
^ Nashville, TN
* Jacksonville, FL
^^ Memphis, TN
** New Orleans, LA
^^^ Kansas City, MO
*** Arlington, TX