Would SEC North & South Divisions Be More Logical Than East & West?

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Interesting article over on the Gainesville Sun looking at the SEC from a North and South divisional standpoint, as opposed to current East and West divisions.

There is really no clear way to resolve the geography issue over the East and West divisions and keep rivalries intact with a balanced and fair schedule.

So, what’s the answer and resolve to the East and West conference divisional issues? I’m not sure there is one exact answer, but dividing the conference into North and South does make a decent argument:

Exchange East and West divisions for North and South.

Everything else in college football is being turned upside down. Why not strike while the iron’s hot and make things right?

Plans in every walk of life have been blown up and recreated over something less than Missouri being in the SEC East.

Check certain traditions and familiar mindsets at the door, and visualize this for a moment.

An SEC North with seven teams: Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

An SEC South with another seven teams: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

This proposal doesn’t answer all questions, but it does have the ability to keep most current divisional and cross-divisional rivalries intact.

You may be thinking the South would beat up on each other and dominate the North. And at its current state and temperature in the SEC, the South would dominate. However, must I remind you that college football is cyclical, and the fallen powers will ultimately rise again.

Now, let’s talk permanent cross-divisional rivalries with this model.

North vs. South

Arkansas vs. LSU
Kentucky vs. Florida
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
Missouri vs. Texas A&M
South Carolina vs. Georgia
Tennessee vs. Alabama
Vanderbilt vs. Auburn

Major Pros:

  • Keeps Tennessee-Alabama rivalry intact
  • Keeps Iron Bowl a yearly bout with Alabama and Auburn in the South Division
  • Keeps LSU-Arkansas a yearly rivalry, and it is more of a rivalry than people give it credit right now
  • Keeps the Egg Bowl intact with Ole Miss-Mississippi State

Major Cons:

  • Lose Tennessee-Florida annual rivalry
  • The SEC South would arguably be a tougher grinder than the current SEC schedule
  • All rivalries in the current system are more important than geography

Ultimately, I would like to see the SEC be forced to divide the consistent top six in the conference – Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Georgia – and split them evenly across two divisions.

Then again, I’m not sure anyone in the South would be okay with calling themselves fans of a “North” team. It might have to be Upper South and Lower South!

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Once the SEC brings in a 15th and 16th member, I can see them breaking up into four 4-team divisions. Lets say the Big XII collapses (which isn’t that far fetched), and Oklahoma and Ok St join the SEC. I can see OU, Ok St, A&M, and LSU in the West Div, Ole Miss, Miss St, Alabama, and Auburn in the South Div, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee in the East Div, and Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Vandy in the North Div.
    North champ and West champ play in a SEC Semi-Final in Dallas, South champ and East champ play in Atlanta, and the winners of the semi-final games play for the SEC Championsip in New Orleans.
    The SEC is already the envy of the rest of the country. Imagine how green the other conference would be if this happened?!
    I think one of our esteemed SDS writers came up with something like this last year.

    • Oklahoma Is A no go. No more none southern states. Mizzou isnt southern state but they are new family like your cousin by marriege. If we add 16 we go to north carolina and virginia. Virginia Tech is A school that we would profit off more even if oaky is More in the media now of days and Virginia tech hasnt been relevant recently. We can go on and get Nc state or North Carolina Either will work. But no oaky and oaky St.

  • Never in a million years will the sovereign state of South Carolina, or its flagship university, allow its name to be affiliated with anything that includes that damnable word ‘north.’

  • If this happened, Mississippi State fans would use “TSUN” even more when referencing Ole Miss. The School Up North.

  • If you keep the current angle split you could call the West the South and leave the East the east. Then you have the South and East Divisions in the Southeastern Conference. When someone complains Mizzou is in the East, respond “It’s not about geography, it’s about the Conference’s name being used in the Division titles.”

  • This is a horrible idea… But I guess it’s something to write about in the off season.

  • When the SEC adds VT (probably) and (hopefully) North Carolina put them in the east and move Mizzou over to the west. Play all 7 teams in your division with one permanent team from other division and add a rotating game between the remaining division teams to replace a cupcake game. All the rivalries stay intact and its geographically appeasing:) The addition of these teams also helps add some extra strength to the conference in basketball.

    West

    Alabama
    Arkansas
    Auburn
    LSU
    Miss St
    Mizzou
    Ole Miss
    Texas A&M

    East

    Florida
    Georgia
    Kentucky
    North Carolina
    South Carolina
    Tennessee
    Vanderbilt
    Virginia Tech

  • Adding Missouri and Texas A&M created logistical nightmares for scheduling. Ultimately, the best case scenario would be to go to a 6-1-2 format. This allows schools to keep one permanent rival while playing other cross-division teams, like the 5-1-2 format used for the past ten years.

    I think that the SEC jumped the gun adding the 14th team. They could have made it work with 13. Instead of having divisions, each team would play 8 out of the 12 remaining teams. They would have 4 opponants that they would play every year. And, then they would play 4 other opponants every two years. For example, Alabama may play Tennesee, Auburn, LSU, and Mississippi State every year. Then they would play 4 of the remaining 8 teams in 2012 and 2013, and then rotate to the other four for 2014 and 2015. The NCAA surely would have lifted the rule requiring East and West Divisions, since the SEC Championship is annually among the most watched football games. The SEC jumped the gun adding Missouri, which really just does not fit in the conference.

    My main concern with the vision toward 16 team conferences is that East and West Divisions will become their own conferences. The larger the conference, the more isolated the divisions will be from each other.

    Too, I am worried that the 4-team playoff will destroy conference championship games. It may not happen, but if conferences fear that the extra game could eliminate their best team, then the championship games will go. Will be interesting to see what happens next. I don’t think that the transition is over.

  • Florida v. Kentucky??? What about UF v. Tennessee…that is the rivalry!