Mark your calendars. We can finally put a date on it.

Texas and Oklahoma will pay the Big 12 an early exit fee of $100 million and join the SEC for the 2024 season.

That news, which we got on Thursday night, carries a significant impact across the landscape of the sport, especially as the new Playoff era is also set to begin in 2024.

Here are the 7 impacts of that:

1. Soon, we should actually get a decision on new conference schedule formats

My guess is that we’re going to see a 9-game conference schedule with 3 permanent matchups and 6 rotating home-and-homes. That would satisfy the need to keep these SEC rivalries intact. And while there could be a few that fall through the cracks, the longest stretch of time without facing an SEC opponent is 2 years. There will be more balanced schedules than ever, and instead of going 6 years between matchups for non-rival crossovers, you’re getting matchups more frequently.

I would assume that with Texas and Oklahoma on board, we’ll soon have an announcement as to what the new schedule format would be.

This projection, via Ross Dellenger, would make a lot of sense:

Again, that’s just a projection. Dellenger isn’t saying “Florida and Tennessee won’t face each other” but there will be a few games like that which might not be annual. Instead, they’ll play 2 out of every 4 years. That’s a bummer, but it beats the alternative, if you ask me.

2. If it’s a 9-game conference schedule, a TON of nonconference game contracts are getting thrown out or tweaked

So if a 9-game conference schedule is coming, that means there’s only room for 3 nonconference games for SEC teams. That’s going to set up for some awkward situations for athletic directors, many of whom have already loaded up their future nonconference schedules with 4 such games.

From 2024-2030, here are all the SEC nonconference schedules that already have at least 4 games:

  • Alabama: 2024, 2025
  • Arkansas: 2024, 2025
  • Florida: 2024, 2025, 2026,
  • Georgia: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2028, 2030
  • Kentucky: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028
  • LSU: 2024
  • MSU: 2024, 2025, 2026
  • Mizzou: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030
  • Ole Miss: 2024, 2025, 2026, 2028
  • South Carolina: 2024, 2027
  • Texas A&M: 2024, 2025, 2027
  • Vanderbilt: 2024

That’s 38 instances of a nonconference schedule with 4 matchups. If the SEC does indeed go with the 9-game conference schedule, a whole lot of phone calls are going to be coming. Also remember that in the expanded Playoff era, we’re getting more Power 5 nonconference matchups because the margin for error is greater. It could actually be the FCS and Group of 5 teams who get matchups canceled or delayed.

3. The SEC East was finally better than the West in 2022, but … enjoy the last year of this, East.

For the second time in the post-Tim Tebow era, the East took home the SEC title. And unlike the previous instance of an East team winning the SEC (2017), there wasn’t a West team who later avenged that loss in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Also, the East actually went 8-6 against the West this past year. The East’s No. 2 team beat the West’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams, too.

But let’s be honest. One year of clear East supremacy doesn’t change the belief that life just got tougher for the East. That is, assuming that divisions are dead. All signs are that they will be and that the SEC will soon reward the 2 best conference records instead of an East winner and a West winner.

At the same time, I don’t know that you could say “life gets easier for West teams.” The conference as a whole got harder by adding 2 traditional powers who rank around the top 10 nationally in roster talent (via 247sports talent composite) on an annual basis. Life got harder for everyone in the SEC, though the East and the SEC’s new members will have the greater jump to make.

4. The SEC gets to have this super conference perfectly aligned with Playoff expansion

It was always going to be about the Playoff. Once we found out in December that the Playoff was in fact expanding to 12 teams in 2024, it made sense that the move to get Oklahoma and Texas to come a year early would soon follow. Of course, the snag was making the TV partners happy. Ultimately, that happened in the 11th hour.

The SEC avoided having a year in which it would be a 16-team super conference with a 4-team Playoff. That never made sense. Now, the SEC gets to go into the expanded Playoff with more of a case than ever to get the benefit of the doubt from the selection committee. It’s hard to envision any scenario in which the SEC isn’t viewed as the premier conference in the country entering 2024.

5. Any notion of the Big Ten getting 1 year of a “super conference” is now gone

I mean, I wasn’t here for it. We knew USC and UCLA were joining the Big Ten in 2024. We could’ve potentially had 1 year of a 16-team Big Ten that some would’ve called a “super conference.”

Last I checked, we can’t call you a “super conference” if you’ve got 1 Playoff game victory in the last 8 years.

6. Now is not the time to be fumbling over your coaching staff

Over the course of the last year-plus, I believe we’ve seen Big Ten and SEC teams making pretty significant coaching moves in an effort to have their ducks in a row for the expanded Playoff. How? Wisconsin, Nebraska, Auburn, Florida and LSU forked over 8-figure buyouts. Michigan State and Penn State extended their coaches with mega-deals. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Georgia all moved their coaches into the $9 million club. Even Arkansas, Mizzou and South Carolina gave their coaches significant raises to get them into the $6 million club.

There’s never been more money to be made. The monetary variance in the latter half of the decade won’t be reflected simply by conference revenue distribution. That’s not performance-based. It’ll be reflected by teams who get to the Playoff and get weeks of extra exposure being on the sport’s biggest stage.

Now isn’t the time to be messing around with head coaching moves. It’s why I questioned if anyone in the SEC will actually be fired because the buyouts are so insane that it’s almost as if athletic directors don’t want to have that as an option. Having to start over in a 16-team super conference doesn’t seem ideal, especially when 1 Playoff appearance in a more widened field can quiet some of those skeptics.

As strange as it sounds, it wouldn’t be surprising if we actually see less coaching movement than ever among the 16-team conferences this offseason now that we have an official starting date.

7. We’re set to get multiple years of Arch Manning in the SEC after all

And who said he was ducking the SEC?

If Manning stays at Texas, there’s a realistic scenario in which his entire time as an FBS starting quarterback is in the SEC. That scenario is Quinn Ewers being Texas’ QB1 for 2023 and heading off to the 2024 NFL Draft. That would set up for Manning to take Texas’ first snaps as an SEC team in 2024.

Of course, we shouldn’t assume any 5-star quarterback is destined to stick around. Roughly half of them transfer at some point during their college careers, though given how SEC-heavy Manning’s recruitment was, even a transfer scenario could keep him in the conference that his ancestors set ablaze.

What does that mean? Arch could become the 4th Manning to earn the distinction of “SEC legend.”