4. Loss of traditional rivalries
When the SEC expanded to two divisions in 1992, Tennessee football lost two rivalries in the Ole Miss Rebels and the Auburn Tigers. Auburn had become an explosive one on par with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and it hasn’t felt right to fans ever since, even if the Vols gained new rivalries in the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators.
Well, if this expansion takes shape, there will be more realignments, and unless the league stays at two divisions, which makes no sense, more traditional rivalries will be gone. There’s no way the league can stay at two divisions, and a pod system becomes likely.
If that or just four divisions happens, the Vols will lose one of their annual matchups, either against Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Vanderbilt Commodores or the Kentucky Wildcats. They’ll probably lose at least two of those. Sure, Florida, Georgia and Alabama don’t seem like real rivalries right now. But Vandy and Kentucky never seemed like rivalries either.
The tradition of just playing these games is what matters, and losing it will take away something fans hold dear on Rocky Top. Even if you do keep them all with the two divisions, that means fewer games against West opponents fans would like to see.