Vols in trouble if SEC follows new Pac-12 title format

What’s the point of divisions if you just want to play the two teams with the best records for the conference championship? That’s a question the Pac-12 needs to answer, but with the SEC set to realign, Tennessee football had better pray that this won’t be its league’s new format.

The Pac-12 announced Wednesday that it will maintain its two divisions, but only the teams with the top two odds of winning will compete in championship play. Obviously, this can lead to a gigantic error in certain cases.

There is a chance that a division is significantly worse but has two good teams, and those teams could supercharge their record by beating the other teams. Now the Pac-12 is better because they have a nine-game plan and only 12 teams, so it’s not really a problem

On the other hand, the SEC only has eight games and 14 teams, with 16 yet to come. Given the way the Pac-12 is keeping to its schedule, you could theoretically see the SEC doing something like this. The cleanest way for the league to uphold its traditions is through two eight-team divisions.

Even with two eight-team divisions, the need for revenue from more games and bowl appearances could tempt the conference to keep league games at eight, meaning you play all seven teams in your division and only one team alternately against the other .

If the SEC is using the Pac-12 format at this point, there can only be two good teams from a division. They would each automatically have six wins against the other teams in their division, so 6-2 is a baseline while the other division beats each other.

How is this affecting football in Tennessee? Well, if the SEC goes the cleanest path, the Auburn Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide will move east, while the Missouri Tigers will move west. The balance of power immediately shifts east at this point where Bama and the Georgia Bulldogs are there.

Everyone wants to talk about the heritage of the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners. Texas hasn’t won a national title since 2005, and OU hasn’t won it since 2000. There will be four teams in the East that have won everything recently: Alabama, Georgia, the Florida Gators twice and the Auburn Tigers.

For the time being, only the LSU Tigers hold the West consistently dominant. Texas has been mediocre at this point for years. Looking ahead, NIL deals could benefit Texas A&M Aggies, but there’s still a long way to go.

Simply put, a two-division, 16-team SEC and eight conference games when Texas and OU join puts the East at a disadvantage based on recent history. Well, to be fair, the Vols aren’t going to win the east with Bama and Georgia anytime soon anyway.

Still, let’s assume they finally break through and do so in the near future. It was going to be in a season where they went 6-2 and everyone else went 5-3 because the East were beating each other. Then you could see LSU going 8-0 from the west and someone like OU or A&M going 7-1 while every other team in the division was mediocre that year.

Do you see the problem? Tennessee Football would fall out of the title game despite the East winning. Honestly, Vol fans shouldn’t be the ones who yell the loudest about it. Alabama and Georgia fans should be. What is clear is that this is a model that the SEC cannot implement.

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