What I propose is largely based on Clay Travis' ideas. He has advocated that the SEC expand to 16 teams and split the conference into 4 divisions. After the jump I'll work out the hypothetical logistics.
Let us assume that Texas A&M is a done deal. Let us also assume that the SEC grabs Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Miami. Those schools may not be the most likely or optimal choices, but that's irrelevant for my purposes. All I'm trying to do here is a thought experiment.
The New Divisions:
- UK, UT, Vandy, South Carolina
- Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss St.
- UGA, GT, Bama, Auburn
- UF, FSU, The U, LSU
Teams would play 9 conference opponents annually instead of 8. Each team would play its division opponents, and two teams from each of the other 3 divisions. I haven't figured out how to best arrange the interdivisional matchups.
It could be arranged such that each team has an annual rivalry game with one team in each of the other divisions and rotates through the other 3 teams of those divisions. For example, the Vols could play Ole Miss, Alabama, and Florida every year and the other teams once every three years.
The other way to do it would be to rotate through 2 interdivisional opponents every year. For example, the Vols could play UGA at home and GT on the road one year, then GT at home and Bama on the road the next year, then Bama at home and Auburn on the road the year after that, and finally Auburn at home and UGA on the road to complete the cycle. While this version would spell the demise of some annual rivalries, it would mean that every undergrad would have the opportunity to see every team in the conference at home once during his or her four-year stay. I like that.
Anyway, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this arrangement. Keep in mind that the ACC teams I used for this plan were arbitrary; I just wanted to work it out in writing.
Update: I found Clay's original article on FanHouse. Do it.