Last week, we tackled the subject of a college football world without divisions. A Big 12 takeover, if you will.
And while I think the Big 12 proved in 2014 that it isn't exactly the model conference the rest of college football should imitate, the league does have a point when it comes to divisions: Get. Rid. Of. Them.
With deregulation such a hot topic in college football, I think it's time for the SEC to seriously consider getting on board and pushing to rid the sport of divisions all together. It's 2015, the sports world is evolving, and there's no reason to even have divisions anymore in college football.
While the SEC took a revolutionary step forward in creating divisions and a conference championship in 1992, it's time to take another step along the evolutionary ladder and blow up the division idea. You can even keep your conference championship game -- until the College Football Playoff ultimately expands.
With all due respect to my esteemed colleague Alex Scarborough, I think he's wrong when it comes to the SEC stepping aside from the thought of ditching divisions. He brings up some valid points about the road to the playoff being tougher for the conference without divisions and the fact that rebuilding jobs in the SEC would be made that much tougher, especially for current SEC Eastern Division teams, but I just combat that with the fact it's Division I football.
This ain't intramurals.
Yes, if you took away divisions, the SEC could see itself taking a tougher, muddier road to the College Football Playoff, but in reality the SEC is already incredibly tough to get through. The league had 12 bowl teams last year and is still coming down from those seven straight national titles. I get how tough this league is year in and year out, but we really are cheapening the experience for these kids by not providing them more variety in their opponents.
Alabama coach Nick Saban has been a big proponent of having players being able to play every team in the SEC during their four-year stay on campus. I completely agree, and if you take away divisions, you can have that.
So I'm just going to lay out this plan that popped into my head. It came with minutes of thinking and a little pen and pad action, so you know it's foolproof.
If you take away divisions, you can keep traditional rivalries and bring back some oldies. Remember Auburn-Florida? How about Ole Miss-Tennessee? Hello, Auburn-Tennessee! Hey, it was fun having South Carolina and Arkansas play every year, let's bring that back, too!
You could get all those games back without jeopardizing Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Georgia or Ole Miss-Mississippi State. So if you have eight conference games (which, come on, can the conference just go on ahead and move to nine league games?), you have four permanent opponents. Florida could play Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee every year, then have four rotating opponents each year. No more waiting nearly 10 years to play Arkansas!
Georgia can have Auburn, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. Alabama can have Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and, oh I don't know, how about Ole Miss? There are endless possibilities with this. And for anyone who says a team could get bombarded with a disproportionate schedule every year, I present you the current state of the SEC West.
Now, fans would get even better matchups more consistently. And players love the tougher games. They aren't scared.
Alabama-Georgia, LSU-South Carolina, Auburn-Missouri! I mean, this is just too good to be true (hence why it's my vision). If you have nine conference games, then the league could discuss whether to have four or five permanent opponents; whatever!
Basically, take the top two conference records and throw them in Atlanta. You have your normal tiebreakers and finish things off with CFP rankings if it gets to that point.
I must admit, the league has gotten it right in Atlanta for the most part over the past decade. Since the 2002 season, the SEC has only had five instances when the East opponent would have been left out of Atlanta because of conference record or BCS standings. But this way, you have no room for error.
Without divisions, you get better matchups, you keep traditional rivalries, you're guaranteed to get the two best teams in Atlanta every year, and it makes the SEC that much stronger/tougher in the eyes of the college football playoff committee. Seems logical.