What expansion might mean for SEC divisions, future South Carolina football schedules

·3 min read

South Carolina’s upcoming football schedules could get a new look.

With Texas and Oklahoma set to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025 (though that date could be even sooner) the Gamecocks are slated to see their ledger changed.

Under SEC rules, 11 of the 14 schools will need to vote in favor of the additions of Texas and Oklahoma. Assuming that passes, it’s largely anticipated the SEC will shuffle its current division structure.

South Carolina currently plays six games against divisional foes, an annual contest against Texas A&M as the fixed inter-division game, one other crossover game and a quartet of nonconference games (including Clemson).

It’s unclear what overall format the SEC will take should Texas and Oklahoma be added.

A four pod system in which the 16 league schools would be separated into pockets of four teams has been circulated of late. The four teams in a pod would play each other annually. The Gamecocks hypothetically could be paired geographically with Florida, Georgia and either Tennessee or Kentucky. And teams from one SEC pod would play the other pods on a rotating basis.

It’s conceivable the conference rearranges its divisions to include the Longhorns and Sooners and moves a handful of teams from the SEC East to the SEC West and vice versa.

The league could also do away with divisions entirely and go to the format the Big 12 currently plays under — some variation of a rotating schedule.

South Carolina has already filled out its nonconference schedule between 2021 and 2025. The Gamecocks have one more slot in 2026 and a full docket of nonconference foes in 2027.

If the SEC does add Texas and Oklahoma, the conference could move to a nine-game league slate that would do away with one nonconference game. Clemson will almost certainly remain on any schedule, though it remains to be seen what the change would do to games that have already been organized years in advance.

USC already has non-Clemson nonconference games scheduled for as far out as 2035.

Oklahoma and Texas have already set the wheels for conference realignment in motion by alerting the Big 12 they will seek out other conferences in recent days. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also released a statement Tuesday afternoon that both schools had formally inquired about joining the league in 2025.

“While the SEC has not proactively sought new members, we will pursue significant change when there is a clear consensus among our members that such actions will further enrich the experiences of our student-athletes and lead to greater academic and athletic achievement across our campuses,” Sankey said in a news release Tuesday.

South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer was asked about the potential additions of Texas and Oklahoma — where he served as an assistant under Lincoln Riley the past three seasons — during a booster event in Columbia on Monday night.

“Obviously, there’s a lot happening in college football right now and across college athletics,” Beamer said. “Still trying to figure out what’s what, what’s real and what’s not real.”

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