Sports Section: The SEC’s Cost Of Progress Is A Lot Of Tradition

Sports Section: The SEC’s Cost Of Progress Is A Lot Of Tradition

The Southeastern Conference announced each of its teams’ league opponents for 2024 two and a half months before the start of the college football season in 2023.

It was more than just a glimpse into the future.

The alignment and scheduling procedure of the league underwent a significant shift as a result of the inclusion of Texas and Oklahoma as the SEC’s 15th and 16th members, respectively. In 2024, the East and West divisions that we have known for 30 years will no longer exist. The championship match will be played between the two teams with the best record.

The SEC eliminated the traditional scheduling format of six opponents from one division and two opponents from the other alongside the divisions. That provision stands out particularly.

Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Alabama-Auburn, and Florida-Georgia were just a few of the major rivalries protected by the SEC. However, not all of them were selected.

In the past 127 years, Mississippi State has played LSU 113 times, including every season since 1944. In 2024, that streak will end. The last time this happened, there was a world war.

Additionally, for the first time since 1947 and 1951, the Bulldogs will not play Alabama or Auburn. The Bulldogs’ chances of qualifying for the expanded College Football Playoff could be significantly improved by eliminating three perennial powers from the schedule.

Despite the fact that its series with Alabama and Auburn had been interrupted on occasion prior to the most recent major realignment in 1992, Ole Miss also gets to skip them.

It would appear that the absence of Vanderbilt from the schedule is more disheartening. It will put an end to a series that has been played every year since 1970, in addition to being a victory for the Rebels on a regular basis—they have won each of the last four meetings by 14 points or more.

LSU-Auburn is another notable series that will be cancelled. Prior to 1992, the teams did not play each other often, but they soon became one of the oddest and most intense SEC rivalries with a steady stream of memorable games. Earthquakes, victory cigars, burning arenas, and band-versus-kicker violence all became legendary occurrences that could be immediately identified with a few words.

They become sporadic fragments of greatness rather than much more if those moments do not build upon one another year after year.

It would appear that’s the real cost of progress. Us vs. Them mentality, sibling rivalries, and border wars that are fueled by familiarity are the foundations of college sports. It offers both hope for the future and a connection to the past. the excitement of finally winning a blood feud or earning year-long bragging rights.

There will be some of that that remains and some that returns. After being off the schedule for a decade, Texas vs. Texas A&M will return. It’s possible that new rivalries will emerge, and playing Texas and Oklahoma for the first few seasons will be interesting.

We simply appear to be losing more than we are gaining. Although the season of 2024 is still 14 months away, it already feels as though 2023 will be remembered as “the good old days.”

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Research Raptor journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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