The latest comments from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey suggest sweeping changes to the conference that are sure to stir conversation.
According to a report from CBS Sports radio host Marc Ryan, “SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey says the league is looking at going to a single division, and is leaning heavily in that direction. Moving away from two divisions and no four-team pod system.”
The SEC, as it currently stands, is filled with 14 members. Seven teams in the SEC West and seven in the SEC East. However, with Texas and Oklahoma joining the conference in the near future, that number will then go up to 16. Basic math, right?
The issue, though, is that 16 teams makes the conference more likely to move to a single-division format, with all 16 teams lined up in one division.
Take the current Big 12, for example. All 10 teams are in one uniform division. The top two teams at the end of the season will play each other for the Big 12 Championship. In a bit of a scaled-down way, that seems to be the route the SEC may follow.
The idea of pods has been thrown around fairly consistently since the news of Texas and Oklahoma coming into the conference. In this hypothetical format, you would see the SEC have four four-team pods, likely divided based on geography.
For instance, one example from the SEC Network shows as follows:
- Pod A: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky
- Pod B: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Alabama
- Pod C: LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M
- Pod D: Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri
With the latest report from Ryan, though, that doesn’t look to be a likely route anymore.
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There are still several questions that will need to be answered down the road regarding the single-division format. At the top of that list is how the SEC decides to schedule games with rotating opponents, rivals, and non-conference games.
It’s important to remember that at this point in time, nothing is already locked in. And as Ryan’s tweet stated on Thursday, the SEC is “leaning heavily” in that direction, but nothing is confirmed or official as of now.
Breaking: SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey says the league is looking at going to to a single division, and is leaning heavily in that direction.
Moving away from two divisions and no four team pod system.
— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) November 17, 2022