4. SEC stays two divisions, moves to nine games
- Alabama and Auburn move to the SEC East
- Missouri moves to SEC West
- Oklahoma and Texas join SEC West
- Teams draw one annual interdivisional opponent
- Tennessee adds Oklahoma, LSU or Texas as annual cross-division rival
In one instance, this could be the best-case scenario for Tennessee football. That’s if the league stays at eight games or the Vols draw the Arkansas Razorbacks, Missouri Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels or Mississippi State Bulldogs from the West. However, it could work out the opposite way for them too if they draw the Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns or LSU Tigers.
To be fair, UT likely won’t draw LSU from the West, as the Florida Gators would keep that rivalry should this split happen. At the same time, they likely won’t get Ole Miss or Mississippi State, who can keep their rivalries with the Vanderbilt Commodores and Kentucky Wildcats respectively.
That means either Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas or the Texas A&M Aggies will be on their rivalry list. Texas A&M won’t be the same threat once Texas joins, but Texas or Oklahoma could. Again, such an addition plus nine conference games would be a killer schedule-wise.
UT already has a disadvantage in the East playing the Alabama Crimson Tide every year. Alabama moving to the East was supposed to offset that, but the disadvantage remains if they add another elite team from the West in its place plus the Auburn Tigers.