The 2024 SEC schedule game out last night, and … it certainly is a schedule! I obviously understood the likely consequences of adding OU and UT, but seeing the final product without UF, UT, or UGA sure is bracing. Writing about this presently but would love to know what y’all are thinking.
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Boy I hate it! No natural rivalries to be found, and going to nine will make scheduling interesting OOC games an even worse idea. Suffice to say my interests are not driving any of these decisions, and at least according to some in the media, my views are in the minority. And maybe all I'm saying is "I liked it the way I was when I was young," but regional conferences with interesting OOC games > superconferences with this sort of blah schedule and an even lower chance of us ever sniffing the SECCG.
We have played Georgia 75 times. That is more than any team other than Clemson. There is no SEC school remotely close. They are the only SEC team that ranks on the five most frequent opponents. To not have them on the schedule is almost insulting
Huge bummer to lose all three of our closest in proximity opponents. We may not be rivals to them, but they are rivals to us. We've been playing UGA, UF, and UT since we joined the league. Instead, we get two of the most distant opponents in OU and A&M, and somehow draw Alabama and LSU. Brutal.
I hate it with no natural rivals but I can understand it IF is this truly only a transition year. I support the 9 game schedule format going forward and hope that Tanner has the cajones and gravitas to advocate in our best interests which I believe includes an annual game against Georgia and an annual game with either Florida or Tennessee. The 24 schedule reads like we have no South Atlantic rivals, like we are located in the Mid-South region. We recruit against Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, so we might as well play them.
UGA being left off the schedule is really the one that I think stinks most. Florida and Tennessee both feel weird but those histories are all from 30 yrs in SEC only. UGA is the only SEC team we have any real history with so it just stinks. Even if I know missing them in 2024 is probably for the best in terms of team success I do hope the long term schedule rotation makes them permanent again.
I think some of this has to do with how we view certain rivals compared to how they view the rivalry with USC. Most of us view UGA as out biggest conference rival, but to them they probably view USC as their 4th biggest in conference behind UF, AU, and maybe UT. Similarly, UT has Bama, Kentucky, UGA, UF, and possibly Vandy ahead of us. Arkansas viewed us as a rival way back when, but less so now compared to LSU, Mizz, and now some of their old Big 8/SWC buddies. When you pair our perceived rivals with other’s perceived rivals, Vandy and Kentucky probably line up closer with ours than others.
I've long since come to the conclusion that what matters most to SC fans is of little to no significance to the powers that be within the SEC. Same could be said for any other fan base, with the possible exception of 'Bama. The league will protect the Iron Bowl come what may, and probably UF/UGA, UA/UT, etc. Beyond that, it's all chess pieces to be moved around as the SEC sees fit at any given time. These calculations are different than they were with 12 teams in 1992, and even with 14 teams in 2014. The SEC is no longer a regional conference in any meaningful way. It is a national conference - one of the two true behemoths in the NCAA, and will continue to evolve in a way that maximizes profits and ensures competitiveness/relevance on par with the Big 10 above any increasingly quaint ideas such as the importance of rivalries (ideas, BTW, which I find personally very important).
Having said that, I'm glad we will keep Kentucky, as that has evolved into perhaps our biggest rivalry within the SEC (meaning that they probably hate us as much as we hate them). Hate to lose UF, UT and particularly UGA, but at the end of the day, I'm still thrilled to be in the SEC, and content to make the best of however these schedules evolve from year to year. I'm just hoping it doesn't grow beyond 16, but I think that it probably will.
I cannot believe no UGA, that's almost like taking Clemson off the schedule.
Been thinking on it, not too deeply and without sentimentality... I kind of like the idea of an annual surprise -- who will we face-off with this year? And: what new matchups will challenge our divisional rivals? It will be fun, sparring with the new and Western Division fan bases. Plus: builds Brand Gamecocks for recruiting in new areas of the country.