The SEC will probably one day go to 14 teams and eventually 16 teams. But, right now we are just talking about, and talking with A&M. Everyone assumes you can not have a 13 team league as it will be unbalanced. However you can very easily do a 13 team league.
To begin with you just do away with divisions. Then each team plays 8 games. The top two teams meet in a Championship Game. Ties can be decided first by head to head and then by strength of non-conference schedule. This will encourage SEC teams to beef up non-conference schedules.
As far as the 8 games you play there is a simple plan. Each team will have 4 regular opponents and 8 rotating opponents. This is the way it was in the SEC before 1992. And you would actually play the 8 rotating opponents more often than we even play the East Teams we rotate right now. Basically every rotating opponent would be on your schedule 50% of the time. Current rotating opponents (for us Vandy, SC, UGA, etc.) are only on our schedule 40% of the time. And for students that means that in 4 years they would get to see every SEC team in play BDS. (Right now students get to see every SEC team but one in their 4 years.)
To keep things fair you would need to make the regular opponent strength as even as possible while still keeping the traditional games like GA-FL, Bama-UT, etc. Actually this would not be that hard to do. I worked out a little sample myself last night in about 20 minutes. Because programs do progress and regress the regular opponents would need to be adjusted about every ten years.
There is one thing I’m not sure of though. Does the NCAA require 2 divisions to play a championship game? If they do, and we wanted to stick with 13 teams we would need to get the NCAA to give us permission. Considering the situation and the money I feel they would.
By the way SEC Basketball had wiped out the divisions. I doubt anyone is going to mind.
So, we need to forget the "expansion will never happen because we don’t have a 14th team" talk and just deal with A&M right now. I’m not in favor of any expansion personally, but picking up 1 extra team with a big market would be preferable to me to going all the way to 16.