The chaos theory


I’m getting a headache and it has nothing to do with staying up too late to watch the Braves crumble or trying to cram in five days of work into four since we’re traveling Friday.

Instead, it’s because I have been reading a lot of blogs about Texas A&M’s SEC schedule next year.

Apparently, we’re heading for a different kind of chaos if A&M comes to the SEC and nobody comes with them. That could very well happen, even if it’s only for a year.

My friend Clay Travis at swears that it’s mathematically impossible for the SEC West teams to play everybody in the West and still have everybody play an eight-game conference schedule.

Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News wrote this week that it is possible and outlined how it would work. But several of his readers pointed out that “NCAA Bylaw that requires ‘round-robin’ regular-season competition, though, could require two additional West games, resulting in an unbalanced total (i.e., four teams in the West playing nine SEC games.)”  Otherwise, no SEC Championship Game.

Crazy, huh? Everything I’ve read has Florida being one of the East teams playing A&M and, as a result, not starting the home-and-home with Ole Miss which is next on the rotation.

So it appears the SEC has several options:

1. Have an unbalanced schedule where some teams play one more game than the others.

2. Eliminate divisions and have a 13-team league.

3. Get that NCAA by-law amended.

4. Add a 14th team before next season.

Which way do you think the league will go?


  1. Each Western team drops a rotating eastern game for one year. Each Eastern team pick up a HIGH QUALITY nonconf opponent. Make it a one or two bonus demonstation of SEC dominance. The real question is who is number 14? And, did we jump too soon? Was A&M really necessary?

  2. The SEC should have only added teams in multiples of 2(as we did before with SC and Arky, and as other conferences who have divisions and a champ game have done). They should have waited on adding A&M until they had another team secured to begin in the same season.

  3. The solution is that the teams in the West can’t play a full round robin schedule within the division. Three teams in the West will play all the other 6 West teams and 2 East teams. Four teams in the West will play 5 of the other six West teams and 3 East teams. The East teams will play the usual schedule, going round robin against each other and facing 3 West teams.

    That’s the only way to have the numbers work with all SEC teams playing the same number of games (8).

    Incidentally, going to 9 conference games would not solve the problem. In fact, it is mathematically impossible. You can’t have an odd number of teams with each playing an odd number of games.

  4. To be clear, the above solution at 8 games does not solve the problem with the NCAA by-law requiring round robin play within the division. The only way to have everyone play the same number of games and meet that requirement is to go to full round robin play in the conference – 12 games.

  5. Pat, I was very happy with a 12 team SEC, which has been the gold standard in CFB since it began in 1992. Often imitated, but never duplicated. While I understand A$M’s desire to distance itself from UT, I am not convinced it is in the SEC’s best interest to expand. It is my hope the conference remains at 12 teams.

  6. Pat, you left out an option. #5 – Boot Vandy out of the Conference.

    I’m kidding. Okay, maybe not entirely kidding, as it does seem to tarnish the “football first” SEC by having a member that within the last decade declared its football team to be a club, along the same lines as the chess club or the math club. Sure they contribute some in basketball, but they’re only a coaching change away from having that fall into the low mediocre range as well.

  7. I agree with Steve in adding multiples of 2…It is the only logical and practical way of creating an S.E.C. SUPER CONFERENCE. It is hard to watch a system (that has been so successful) change with the times…BUT it is the only way to a” FINAL-4 ” N.C.A.A. Football National Championship Game….Could you imagine the RATINGS and VIEWERSHIP!?! I think it will happen 1 day…I just hope it happens while we are still here!!!