Farewell to SEC divisions? Conference may be ready to move on, but here's a plea to keep them
It seemed perfect, really.
When Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC in a few years, the conference could realign into two eight-team divisions that would rebalance the power and prioritize rivalries while still ensuring teams play more frequently than some do now.
Ah, but nothing is ever so simple.
The SEC, according to a report from Sports Illustrated, is strongly considering dumping divisions in favor of a no-division format that would feature either one or three recurring opponents. The remainder of the conference games would be with rotating opponents.
Please excuse us, though, if we're unwilling to give up on the idea of a two-division format, which the SEC has embraced since 1992.
On this edition of "SEC Football Unfiltered," a podcast from the USA TODAY Network, Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams cling to the two-division structure as they go head-to-head drafting eight-team divisions in an attempt to create the strongest division.
Adams gets the first selection and pulls a stunner when he drafts Texas A&M with the No. 1 overall pick. His rationale: Who knows if Nick Saban will be coaching Alabama when OU and Texas join the conference (set to occur in 2025)? And Adams is bullish on the Aggies' future after they signed a historically high-rated recruiting class.
Here's how their two divisions shake out in a draft conducted in snake-draft format.
John Adams' eight-team SEC division
1. Texas A&M
6. South Carolina
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Blake Toppmeyer's eight-team SEC division
6. Ole Miss
8. Mississippi State
Final verdict: Toppmeyer is stunned at his good fortune in landing each of the last three national champions. He says Adams failed to create a stronger division and instead focused on reassembling key figures from the Big 12's heyday.
Not true, Adams counters. He believes his division is poised to thrive in a future where name, image and likeness deals are paramount to roster assembly, and having a hungry, desperate fan base will be an asset. Who is more desperate than suffering Texas fans?
Still, Adams concedes Toppmeyer's division is probably stronger, while Toppmeyer boasts about retaining annual rivalries between Alabama-LSU; Georgia-Florida and Ole Miss-Mississippi State.