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Report: SEC Has Momentum Toward 9 Conference Football Games Once Texas, Oklahoma Join

Adam WellsAugust 20, 2022

Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Texas and Oklahoma set to join the SEC in the near future, the conference is reportedly looking to expand the number of football games its teams play against each other.

Per ESPN's Chris Low, there is "mounting momentum" for the SEC to play nine conference games.

"Going to nine games not only adds value for TV, but protects season-ticket sales, donations and College Football Playoff access for more teams," one SEC athletic director told Low.

The Sooners and Longhorns accepted invitations to join the SEC in 2021, but the move isn't expected to happen for at least two more years. It remains unclear at this point when the schools will officially leave the Big 12.

Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported in June that 2024 is a "more realistic target date" for the two schools to move to the SEC.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told reporters during SEC media days in June that the conference is "focused on the addition being effective July 1, 2025," and any plans to move sooner are "not up to me."

If Oklahoma and Texas try to leave the Big 12 before July 1, 2025, they would each have to pay a $75-80 million penalty under the conference's bylaws.

When Oklahoma and Texas officially join the SEC, it will give the league 16 teams. It's unclear at this point how the programs will be divided up between the two divisions, or if there will be any sort of realignment.

According to Low, there is a "feeling" among coaches and administrators from multiple schools in the conference that the format for nine conference games will include three permanent opponents and a rotation of six others.

Low also noted several SEC athletic directors are hoping to finalize the new schedule model at some point during the fall before the 2022 football season is complete.

Under the current 14-team alignment, the SEC plays eight conference games with six against other teams in the same division, one permanent cross-division opponent and one rotating cross-division opponent.

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