We were all set to detail the potential impact on the SEC's future out-of-conference schedules if Texas A&M and a TBD 14th team cause the league to play nine conference games a season, but the local ACC contingency might like a word first.
College football's future schedules are nothing if not fluid, but for two teams allegedly relegated by the "gentlemen's agreement" to stay in the ACC, Georgia Tech and Clemson are still heavily invested in the SEC: Beginning in 2016 and running through 2021, Tech will play at least two SEC foes every year, adding series with Alabama, Ole Miss, South Carolina and a one-off with Vanderbilt to their existing rivalry with Georgia. Same goes for the Tigers, who will double up their annual USC rivalry with various SEC teams from the hypothetical expansion-affected season of 2012 through 2016.
But chances are a 14-team SEC won't find a place for these series. Consider Alabama: The Tide's fearless non-conference scheduling combined with an extra conference game could provide even Nick Saban too much of a consistent week-in, week-out challenge (you know, like how the AFC East did). Bama just re-upped to play Virginia Tech in the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Kick Off, and will start next season with a one-off with Michigan at Cowboys Stadium. If the Tide and company are forced to cut bait on a contract, it's doubtful these marquee games - or the cupcake breathers - will feel the axe. Sure, we'd all like to think that athletic directors will opt to flush the homecoming scrubs and play something close to a week-to-week blockbuster run, but that's just not how Jeremy Foley rides this wild train, baby.
And speaking of Arlington, Jerrah Jones would like you all to know that "somebody is gonna pay Jerrah Jones his goddamn money," because, kissing cousins or not, ten-year deals are ten-year deals, and The Jerryworld don't give a shit if you're both in the same division now. Arkansas is locked in through 2019 with A&M for neutral site games in Arlington, which might prove difficult for conference scheduling.
While some schools are ill-equipped to handle swapping out a gimmie - Ole Miss could be forced play both Texas and Texas A&M in 2012 - Mississippi State doesn't feature a single non-conference game against a BCS opponent through 2020, and have clearly been rationing for just such a doomsday scenario. Then again, that series with C-USA little brother Southern Miss could provide too taxing.