The 2025 SEC football schedule is disappointing on two fronts

The 2025 SEC football schedule is disappointing on two fronts

The SEC’s Wednesday release of the 2025 opponents was disappointing, on two fronts: 1. It’s a carbon copy of the ‘24 schedule, only with the sites reversed, and 2. Another eight-game conference schedule, instead of the nine befitting a true powerhouse league.

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Mar 21, 2024, 8:00am CDT

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Mar 21, 2024, 8:00am CDT

NORMAN — In its maiden voyage of Southeastern Conference football, OU is playing Tennessee, Auburn, Texas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Missouri, Alabama and Louisiana State as league opponents in 2024.

In Year 2, 2025, the Sooners will play Tennessee, Auburn, Texas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Missouri, Alabama and LSU.

Don’t bother checking all those schools one by one. They are the same.

The SEC’s Wednesday release of the 2025 opponents was disappointing, on two fronts:

1. It’s a carbon copy of the ‘24 schedule, only with the sites reversed, other than OU-Texas in Dallas and Florida-Georgia in Jacksonville.

2. Another eight-game conference schedule, instead of the nine befitting a true powerhouse league.

It’s all a bummer for the Sooners and Longhorns. The opponent reveal means it will be at least Year 3 in the SEC before OU and Texas see almost half of their new league brothers, and at least Year 4 before three or four of those make it to Norman or Austin for a ballgame.

Early reports said the SEC likely was to swap opponents from 2024 to 2025, if the same eight-game format was used. But no.

OU and Texas split all the SEC opponents — those playing the Sooners do not play the Longhorns, and verse visa — and the Sooners drew the short end of the SEC’s scheduling straw for 2024, with a tougher slate and just three home games to UT’s four.

Those home games flip for 2025, but the opponents do not.

You can’t get too worked up about toughness of opponents. Things change quickly. Alabama without Nick Saban likely isn’t Bama with Nick Saban, so good for the Sooners in ‘24. But trips to Ole Miss, LSU and Missouri look rugged. Meanwhile, Texas’ foes other than Georgia seem quite navigable. OU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Florida and Vanderbilt.

The Sooners would swap with Texas right now for ‘25, no questions asked.

An even bigger disappointment is just the eight-game schedule itself. A 16-team conference needs as many league games as possible, to keep connectivity among members and to limit the creampuff games that plague the sport.

The 18-team Big Ten and the 16-team Big 12 each are playing nine conference football games. But now the SEC remains on eight through 2025. Does shame ever kick in down South?

The quicker the SEC gets to nine, the better for everybody. Fans. Players. Networks. Playoff selection committee members. Everyone but the coaches who want to pad their résumé and keep bowl streaks intact.

The quicker OU can play Florida, or Texas can play LSU, the better for everyone.

The eight-game schedule means the Sooners needed another game for 2025, so OU added Kent State. Nothing against the Golden Flashes, but more games against Mid-American Conference teams is not what anyone was thinking when it came to the SEC jump.

Michigan still is scheduled to play on Owen Field in 2025, so that’s beyond exciting. Don’t let that game disappear, Joe Castiglione. Makes up for non-conference games against Illinois State, Kent State and Temple, the latter in Philadelphia.

Let’s compare the next two OU home schedules.

2024: Temple, Houston, Tulane, Tennessee, South Carolina, Maine, Alabama.

2025: Illinois State, Michigan, Kent State, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Missouri.

So, much better in 2025, which speaks to the difficulty of the ‘24 schedule and all those tough road games.

But it could be even better, had the SEC flipped OU and Texas opponents, giving Oklahomans the full SEC menu as soon as possible, and had the SEC manned up and adopted a nine-game schedule.

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Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

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