“Pat Dooley’s Football Fivesome August 6th”

The “Friday Fivesome” comes at you as I embark today on the Dooley-Palooza-Tour. Three nights in three Panhandle cities talking Gator football. I’ll try to bring back a better tan.

While we are still waiting for the next missile to be fired in the football wars, I couldn’t help but think about scheduling. Certainly, there is a lot we don’t know, but let us make some assumptions.

1.I like the idea of pods for scheduling purposes only. The ones that were revealed by the SEC Network during SEC Media Days week probably had some help from the people that will make those decisions. Obviously, these are far from being official, but they make sense.

They looked like this:

Pod A: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina.

Pod B: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Vandy.

Pod C: LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M Miss. State.

Pod D: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas.

This isn’t the way divisions (if there are divisions, which seems unlikely) would be laid out but it would be the way to play each season. Each team would face the other three teams in its pod each year and two from the other pods on a rotating basis. Two this year and then the other two next year. That would allow all the teams in the SEC to see each other way more often. And it would allow the biggest rivalries to stay intact.

  1. Of course, this is predicated on the theory that the SEC will be dragged kicking and screaming into a nine-game schedule. There are schools who have fought it mainly because playing an extra SEC game diminishes their chances of getting into a bowl game. But the inclusion of Oklahoma and Texas should change that because you can’t have a legitimate schedule and only play half the teams in your conference. And I would imagine that both of the new schools want to play nine because one reason for making this jump in the first place was the fans wanted to see better games. And they are used to it. So, there are two votes.
  2. So I put together a couple of possible schedules for Florida and let’s not forget that a lot could change between now and then. In fact, I guarantee a lot will change. We still have to see if the SEC is finished adding teams. We still have to see what other schools move around and whether the Big 12 goes quietly into the night. We still have to make sure if the SEC does away with divisions and just has No. 1 play No. 2 in Atlanta. There are a lot of moving parts as we go forward over the next year.
  3. This is the schedule I put together for 2031, when Florida has already scheduled its three non-conference games and assuming it’s as nine game season. This would be brutal.

Arizona State

Missouri

At Tennessee

At Notre Dame

@ Kentucky

Alabama

Texas A&M

Georgia

@ LSU

@ South Carolina

Oklahoma

Florida State

Now, you may be asking where you sign up for season tickets for that schedule and that is part of the reason the SEC went after this. Football has been declining in attendance and a schedule like that would be a blast.

  1. But I also put together the easiest schedule using the pods and that one would be in 2025, possibly the first year that Texas and Oklahoma join the SEC. Or, I should say the latest possible.

USF

Kentucky

At Miami

At Vanderbilt

Tennessee

At Ole Miss

South Carolina

At Arkansas

Georgia

At Mississippi State

Missouri

Florida State

It would mean the game at home against Florida A&M would be out because there is no longer room and I’m sure the FAMU athletic director is already scrambling to find a replacement.

It’s not like this is an easy schedule by any means and we also know that neither one of these will probably happen, that instead it will be a mix where you don’t draw all of the best teams in a single year.

The bottom line is the schedules were already being made tougher because of the decline in attendance around the country. They will soon be NFL-like.

About Pat Dooley

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