There really are no cake walks under the 3/6/6. For 30 years we've trained our minds to think permanents are super important because right now permanents make up 7/8th's (87.5%) of the schedule. Under the new set up it's 3 out of 9 that are permanent (33.3%). It's way less significant for schedule balance. If you have fewer traditional powers in your permanents you'll have more in your rotating group. There's nowhere to hide, it's gone be hell no matter what:
That's logically untrue, though, isn't it?
I mean, if the choices were, you can be smashed in the nuts every single November, or once every second November, you'd take the less frequent option, right?
As things currently stand, but including Oklahoma and Texas, let's consider this pecking order--based purely on 2022 results:
- UGa (15-0)
- Vols (11-2)
- Bama (11-2)
- LSU (10-4)
- Miss St (9-4)
- Ole Miss (8-5)
- Texas (8-5)
- USCe (8-5)
- Arky (7-6)
- Ky (7-6)
- Okla (6-7)
- FL (6-7)
- Mizzou (6-7)
- Auburn (5-7)
- A&M (5-7)
- Vandy (5-7)
You could argue Texas vs Ole Miss or Florida vs Mizzou, but that's not the purpose here; "roughly correct" is close enough for this conversation.
I think we must acknowledge that UGa and Bama are the fiercest competition we face. Call them Tier 1. Less than 50% chance of a W, probably (for now; but we're getting stronger each year).
Next tier is LSU, Miss St, Ole Miss, and Texas. We can easily beat any of these...but we can lose to them, too. They are our peer competition. Tier 2.
Tier 3 are the spoilers: USCe (who certainly spoiled things for us in 2022), Arky, Ky (ok not really Ky, but based on 2022, have to let them be in this group), Okla, and FL.
Tier 4 are the dredges: Mizzou, Auburn, A&M, and Vandy. If it were more subjective, I'd flip-flop Kentucky and A&M, but we're going by the 2022 results.
To keep this scientific, let's assign points to each tier: Tier 1 gets 5 points ... Tier 2 gets 3, Tier 3 gets 2, and Tier 4 gets 1.
So imagine two scenarios:
SCENARIO A: we play both Tier 1 teams and a Tier 2 team (say LSU) every single year. Then we play 6 of the other 12, alternating. That's 5 points + 5 points + 3 points + some combination of six 3- 2- and 1-pointers. Call it 12 points average for those 6 teams. Total of this scenario is 5+5+3+12 = 25 difficulty points.
SCENARIOR B: we play three of the four Tier 4 teams every year. Then we get one of the Tier 1s, two of the Tier 2s, and three of the remaining Tier 3 and Tier 4 teams. That's 1+1+1+5+3+3+2+2+(either 1 or 2) = 19 or 20 difficulty points.
Bottom line is, schedule difficulty IS affected by who the three annual rivals are. It is certainly easier to have Bama, Vandy, and Ky every year than, say, Bama, UGa, and Florida. Even if the ones not included are in our semi-annual rotation.
Lol, having spent 10 minutes thinking this through out loud (well, in typing), I really don't think there's much difference in schedule difficulty whether we get Bama-Vandy-Ky or Bama-Vandy-USCe. Bring either combo on. It's just a pity to lose the rival we've played more times than any other, and the "border war" that came with it.