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
- 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
- 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!