It’s like following a soap opera: Will the Aggies follow Texas wherever it goes or step out of the Longhorns’ shadow? Might Virginia Tech be lured away from the ACC? Does a mega conference deserve two BCS bids?
Amid all the cliffhanger scenarios, impassioned debates and wild speculation about what will happen in the current conference realignment upheaval, there’s a more pertinent question for the Bulldog Nation: What would an expanded SEC mean for UGA?
Or, more particularly, what would a 16-team mega SEC mean for the Dogs?
Probably a scheduling nightmare, for starters. Mark Richt has gone on record as saying his main concern is that the SEC not add an additional conference game to the eight already played, and he’s probably not alone among conference coaches in feeling that way.
If the SEC winds up as a 16-team league, that most likely means two eight-team divisions. If you play every other team in your division every year, as is now the case, and you stick to eight conference games, that leaves only one team per year from the other division. If you up it to nine conference games per year, Georgia still would only be playing two teams from the SEC West.
How would rotating the teams from the other division work, and how would this impact longtime cross-division rivalries? Currently SEC schools each have one permanent opponent from the other division. Georgia’s is Auburn. What would happen to the Deep South’s oldest football rivalry in a 16-team league?
Of course, there probably would have to be a realignment of the divisions, especially if any of the Texas or Oklahoma schools came into the conference. Might Auburn move to the SEC East? That at least would maintain the rivalry with UGA. What about Alabama, would it make sense to have them and Florida and Georgia in the same division? And what if Florida State comes in? Do you keep both Sunshine State schools in the East?
How would you feel about Georgia winding up in the SEC West?
Also, assuming that the SEC lands some big-name teams and doesn’t have to resort to adding lesser programs just to reach the 16-team level — Louisville, anyone? — you’ve got to figure it will be tougher for Georgia (and everyone else in the conference) to get to the championship game.
No wonder a lot of of SEC fans wish someone would press the reset button and this whole mega-conference idea would just go away. Unfortunately, with big-bucks TV deals behind all of this, that’s not going to happen.
So what are your thoughts (and hopes and fears) about Georgia’s place in a new-look SEC?