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Georgia gets ready for Texas, Oklahoma to join SEC in a month

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/01/24

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June 1 marks one month until the SEC grows by two. Texas and Oklahoma are joining the league – expanding it to 16 – and with their addition, things are only going to get tougher. Kirby Smart knows that’s true.

The Georgia head coach was asked about the addition of the Longhorns and Sooners during SEC Spring Meetings, and it’s easy for him to acknowledge they’ll be tests for the Bulldogs for years to come.

“Yeah, it’s extremely tough. The fact that they’re in our conference, they’re further away, they’re a powerful football team, they’ve got a great state to recruit in, both their coaching staffs are really good,” Smart said when asked how much tougher the SEC is about to get. “Both Sark (Steve Sarkisian) and Brent (Venables) have SEC-kind of experience with Brent being over in the ACC and coaching at Clemson, he’s played SEC teams kind of forever. So they both know the climate they’re jumping into. We think it makes our conference better, you know? Our brand extends further west. Two tremendous programs. When you add those two in, it makes the scheduling much tougher.”

Georgia will get to welcome Texas to the SEC this fall. UGA makes the trip to Austin on October 19th for what’s one of the most anticipated games this season in all of college football. Next year, the Longhorns make the return trip to Athens with the league already announcing the 2025 conference schedule will simply be a flip of the 2024 slate. That means we’ll have to wait until 2026 (at the earliest) to see a rematch of a classic Rose Bowl between Georgia and Oklahoma.

Already considered the best conference in the country for several sports, the strength of the SEC is expected to be on full display in years to come with the Longhorns and Sooners joining. Football won’t be the only sport that improves either. Texas and Oklahoma both made the Women’s College World Series in softball this year. Both are in the NCAA Tournament for baseball and have made appearances in the men’s and women’s editions of March Madness in recent years. There’s the likes of track, golf, tennis and swimming too. Their addition creates questions and complexities to work out too.

“You know, with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, I’m sure the questions will continue to come up year and year out — because they’ve already come up every year in terms of how many conference games should we play, you know, in the future,” Georgia men’s basketball coach Mike White said at SEC Spring Meetings. “How many should we play this year, how many should we play down the road, what’s in our best interest as a league?”

“It’s very cordial. Even though we’re competitors on the field and want to win every game we all have a common goal,” athletics director Josh Brooks added about working with two new people in the room at spring meetings. “I think the main thing Commissioner Sankey’s always done a great job of is letting us know what’s best for the conference is best for all of us. We always keep that in the forefront of our decision making. Right now we’ve got a lot of tough decisions and things we’re working through, but it’s a room where everybody can speak up and get their beefs out. I think it’s very cordial and everyone gets their point across and has a lot of good points to make.”

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