When the Southeastern Conference announced its new football scheduling plan, most of the 14 member schools did not even blink. That’s because the clause that says each SEC team must have a game each season against a team from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 did not have an impact on most of the schools in the conference.
There are rivalry games for nearly every SEC team that will satisfy this requirement. The Georgia Bulldogs face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets each season. The South Carolina Gamecocks face the Clemson Tigers. And so forth.
However, not every SEC school is currently in compliance with this rule. For example, the Mississippi State Bulldogs have played only two opponents since 2009 that would meet the qualifications set forth by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.
MSU head coach Dan Mullen must find a partner for a home-and-home rivalry from one of the so-called “power conferences”. And since football schedules are done so far in advance, that might not be an easy proposition.
What also might not be easy for MSU is the game itself. Rather than playing an FCS opponent like Alcorn State, Jackson State or Tennessee-Martin, the Bulldogs would have to face a team from one of the nation’s best conferences. How good that team is remains to be seen, once the opponent is determined.
This change could hurt MSU in the short run, by costing them an automatic victory each season. But if Mullen and the Bulldogs can find a rivalry partner that they can beat more often than not, this will ultimately help the Bulldogs in the long run.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.