Texas AD: SEC eyeing nine-game conference football schedule in 2026

By Kevin Kelley -

The SEC is set to officially add the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns to the conference roster this summer and has already released the 2024 football schedule.

That schedule, which will include 16 teams for the first time, features each team playing eight conference games and four-non-conference contests. That’s been the standard format for the SEC for some time.

Back in June 2023, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey indicated that the 2024 slate would be a “one-year schedule” and would not be based on any previous scheduling pattern.

“Creating a one-year schedule will provide a longer on-ramp to manage football scheduling around existing non-conference commitments of our members,” Sankey said. “It will also provide additional time to understand the impact of an expanded College Football Playoff and engage with our media partners as we determine the appropriate long-term plan for SEC football scheduling.”

On Tuesday, Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte spoke with the media at an annual town hall-style meeting, where he revealed details of the SEC’s future football scheduling format.

“We have eight games scheduled right now,” Del Conte told Inside Texas. “We’re working on going to a nine-game schedule, but we have a ways to go with that. I would say this year (2024) we have an eight-game schedule. The following year (2025), we have another eight-game schedule. Then we’ll look at going into a nine-game conference schedule.”

Based on Del Conte’s comments, it appears that the SEC will again use a “one-year schedule” in 2025 consisting of eight conference games before the league finally moves to a nine-game format for the 2026 season.

While a nine-game football schedule does have its advantages, such as conference members facing each other more often, it does create an imbalance of home and away games. Most power teams prefer to play seven home games each season, which means that they would need three non-conference home games in years when they play four SEC games at home and five on the road.

That could squelch some longstanding non-conference rivalry games and could also lessen the number of big time home-and-home series in future seasons.

When asked about Texas possibly playing home-and-homes with some of its former Big 12 foes, Del Conte wasn’t sure.

“If they want to come play here at Texas, I’m all in,” Del Conte said. “I’m not sure yet how we can do a home-and-home until I know how all that balances out.”

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Comments (32)

This would give them a little bit of time to moved games, especially if they have 2 power 5 non conference games scheduled.

The SEC and Big 12 should go to 7 conference games to allow quicker renewal of Bedlam as well as lots more all-power conference OOC games (the Big Ten would roll back to 8 to match the ACC).

The Big 12 and SEC would have a requirement of at least three OOC games against power conference teams and two for the ACC and Big Ten, with schools allowed to maintain existing contracts against non-power conference schools until they are able to start meeting the requirements.

No way! We want more conference games not less. This will never fly. Why do you keep playing the same broken record?

Oklahoma State chose not to play Oklahoma. The Sooners wanted to continue the series.

Oklahoma State would add OU to their schedule in a heartbeat if there was a cutback in conference games.

Z-Man request of 7 game conference schedule should no longer be posted on fbschedule.com. I am not bullying or harassing you I want protect you & I do not want other people to laugh or poke at your comments & I 114% care about you buddy.

Besides, all those top-notch OOC games look good in the eyes of the CFP committee and most conference games across FBS aren’t attractive ratings-wise it’s the OOC blueblood clashes that pay the bills.

Three OOC games are Enough & Z-Man I greatly appreciate to please stop posting proposed Conference schedules & last thing I want to see you get outnumbered.

In a weird way you got your stupid wish. When Auburn is playing schools named Oklahoma, A&M, Missouri, Arkansas, S Carolina, and Texas and not playing Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi State every year, it doesn’t matter much anymore. The core of the SEC was the conference. By adding more schools from 10 to 12 to 14 to 16, and more when the ACC implodes, OOC doesn’t mean anything.

A Georgia Bulldogs Fan 114% support SEC going to 9 game conference schedule hopefully very soon & as a Syracuse Orange Fan would like ACC go to a 9 game conference schedule in future too.

And… if man is still alive, they will thrive…
Definitely the ACC will be gone in 3535. But in the meantime they’ve got 17 football teams plus five of ND’s schedule. When the walls fall, the American and ACC remnant can merge, just like the MWC and PAC are about to do.
Then the two of them merge and can form the A&P. A 36 team league with divisions and akin to the original Southern before the SEC split off.

Seven decades of loving the Crimson Tide here. I’m all four a nine game conference schedule. Saban pushed it for years. Why did this release come thru Texas. The old guard needs to put them in their place.

You have a Georgia Bulldogs Fan pulling for SEC Football going to a 9 game conference schedule.

Texas is one of the schools that hasn’t been shy about wanting to go to 9 games. There are probably a few reasons for this. They liked it when the Big 12 went to this. They like the logic of making it through all your conference opponents, home and away, in 4 years.

They also are probably one of the schools that has a clearer idea of who their 3 permanent rivals should be, given their long histories with Oklahoma, A&M, and Arkansas. And those 3 seem perhaps more in balance where they all can have good seasons, but in any given season, 1 or 2 of them may be highly ranked but probably not all 3. (That said, all 3 play Texas like it’s the biggest game they play, so yeah, even in a down year, there’s potential for any of them upsetting Texas, if it’s an upset that year). It doesn’t really make sense to the Texas AD for Texas to join the SEC and not play at least OU and A&M annually, so the 8 game slate with only one annual rival seems less appealing.

Plus, they have a solution for the “problem” mentioned above: the imbalance of conference home and away games. Texas plays OU at a neutral site every year. So instead of worrying about if the 9 game slate will be 4 home and 5 away, or 5 home and 4 away in a given year, 9 games translates to 4 home, 4 away, 1 neutral every year. Georgia and Florida would have the same balance.

I’m sure they’ve given a lot of thought to this and I imagine the press event they held included questions about whether the rivalries with OU and A&M would be allowed to continue every year.

A reduction to 7 conference games actually makes it easier for power conference schools to get to 7 home games.

With a maximum of two non-power opponents for each power conference school (with the Big 12 and SEC at 7 conference + 3 power OOC and the Big Ten and ACC at 8 conference + 2 power OOC) most power VS. non-power games would be home games for the power teams.

I don’t care much about that. As a Texas fan I’m fine with having 7 home games some years and 6 others.

I do not want the conference championship to come down to who lucks out on their conference schedule. This is one of the problems with ditching divisions… sure, the SEC East might be easier than the SEC West some years, but at least you have the best record among some consistent group of teams. With divisions going away, I feel it’s even more important that they play MORE conference games, not fewer. Anything to reduce the odds that one of the teams in the conference championship game beat Vandy, Miss St, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, and Auburn, because of “luck of the draw.”

I’m also pretty happy with the idea that Texas seems set to play… 1) a marquee game (Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Notre Dame, etc), 2) either UTEP or UTSA, 3) a rotating non-power-conference opponent (ULM, TSU, SJSU, CSU, Rice, etc). That last group is the only one I’d really look at to change and maybe occasionally include someone a little more intriguing, buuuut… back when they played 4 non-conference games I liked the idea of 1 marquee game and 1 “other” power opponent, but watched them get burned by the OOC opponent they didn’t care as much about too often. Conference games are one thing, but it’s way easier for Maryland to get geared up to play Texas than it is for Texas to care about Maryland when USC or Michigan are the week before or after. And the same would likely be true of TCU or Baylor or Tech, as unfortunate as it is that those longtime opponents likely won’t be scheduled much. I like the idea of playing them for nostalgic reasons, but if it’s no longer viable to have regional conferences, then the motivation to schedule these kinds of games regularly ends up being reduced. In an ideal world, there’d still be more of a focus on regional conferences that host regional rivalries, but that’s not where things are, and it’s hard to see how things go back that way when it’s money running the show.

Z-Man 7 Game Conference Schedule will not work in College Football however Bedlam can work with three game out of conference schedule with Oklahoma State Cowboys for example Texas A&M-Commerce Lions,Colorado State Rams & yes Oklahoma Sooners. If Iowa-Iowa State can work in 3 game OOC so can bedlam Oklahoma State-Oklahoma.

In addition to My Georgia Bulldogs my second reason I like SEC going to a 9 game conference 3 OOC schedule to bring Bedlam back my Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Oklahoma Sooners would fit perfectly into it’s annual meeting similar to Iowa Hawkeyes vs Iowa State Cyclones.

Ohmeibalzich new 12 team College Football playoff will be a big help for ACC & hopefully will see a few Teams from that Conference so that ACC will continue to thrive.

If the ACC can somehow renegotiate its media rights deal it helps. Otherwise any member’s success is just pumps up their resume for B1G/SEC invites.

I am not buying that the ACC will implode if or when FSU does leave the ACC. If Clemson leaves also, there are still some viable teams that will keep that conference afloat.

@ Ohmeibalzich

I’ve never been a believer in the ACC collapsing. The conference is mainly made up of also ran schools that no one is going to want. Sure you MIGHT lose the FSUs and Clemson’s, but you’ll be left with enough schools that you can still exist. The media deal is going to be terrible, but I guess it is better then being and independent or forgoing payments from another conference for multiple year (if you even get an invite).

Texas Longhorns need to be fair I would not mind them playing their previous Big 12 opponents for OOC games however they will have to play away games too & there is a Longhorn away game that I 114% looking forward to is Week 2 9/7 at My Michigan Wolverines & that would make a perfect NBC game under the lights.

Just like the Southwest conference, and Big 12, Texas is going to ***f-up*** the SEC. Except for Alabama, Texas is better than the rest of SEC, past and present.
***Fixed it for you.