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Georgia Football

BREAKING: Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs to Welcome Texas, Oklahoma to SEC in 2024

February 9, 2023

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ATHENS - Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs will welcome the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners into the SEC in 2024. 

That’s according to a report from SI’s Ross Dellenger, who reported late Thursday night that the two schools will make the SEC into a 16-team conference heading into the 2024 season. Texas, Oklahoma and the SEC confirmed the news Thursday night. 

That means 2023 could be the final year of divisions in the SEC - a sea change that has yet to be determined or confirmed by the league. Georgia was scheduled to play at Oklahoma in 2023, but the conference stepped in to stop the game because of the looming move. Georgia is scheduled to play Texas in 2028 and 2029.

Broadcasters were the key to the early move, which had been originally scheduled for 2025. FOX, which holds the rights to the Big 12’s contract currently and moving forward, had to negotiate not just with Texas, Oklahoma and the SEC, but also Disney, which has the rights to all SEC contests starting in 2024 until 2036.

The terms of that transaction has not been reported. 

The move of the two Big 12 powers to the SEC opens up the possibly of not just moving away from divisions, but also to a nine-game SEC schedule. The SEC has used an eight-game

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A non-division SEC would likely mean change on a few more fronts for the league. SEC insiders point out that Disney is not required to increase the payout per team for a nine-game schedule, but that a so-called “look-in” for the possibility of an increase in payout to the 16 teams in the league is very likely in that scenario. 

In a nine-game SEC the top two teams would meet for the SEC Championship each December. Perhaps most controversially would be the matchups of teams in the nine-game schedule. Traditional rivalry games like Alabama-Auburn, Georgia-Florida and Ole Miss-State will remain. 

The question is what will happen after that. UGA and SEC insiders as well as multiple reports have each school playing three teams each year, and alternating the other 12 schools home and away over a four-year period. 

In that scenario games like Georgia at Alabama, Alabama at Georgia, LSU at Georgia and Georgia at LSU would happen while the Dawgs play the Gators and likely Auburn and another team. The nine-game SEC schedule scenario would allow for more traditional matchups like UGA-Bama rather than the thrown-together mess that has been Missouri’s addition to the SEC East.

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The biggest sticking point in all of this could be the determination of the three schools each SEC program will play each year in that rotation. Georgia will almost certainly play Florida and Auburn. The question is who the final team would be. 

South Carolina would be eager to continue playing Georgia, but it is unclear if that would be the case. Tennessee and Georgia are both traditional SEC foes, but a scenario where the Vols play Georgia, Alabama and the Gators is unlikely. Tennessee’s in-state fight with Vanderbilt and rivalry with Kentucky will have to be figured out if the Vols are to keep Alabama and or Florida. 

Georgia and Kentucky have played each year since 1956. The Bulldogs have played Vanderbilt each since 1968 with the exception of 2020’s COVID-alternated season. 

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