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Jumbo Package: Texas and Oklahoma officially invited. Let the scheduling fight begin.

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 19 SEC Championship Game - Alabama v Florida Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. As you undoubtedly heard, the SEC schools voted unanimously to invite Texas and Oklahoma to the conference.

“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” Sankey said in a statement. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”

The invitation is for the 2025 season, but nobody thinks it will be that long. Bob Bowlsby is still fighting to keep his conference, and his job, alive.

“We are disappointed these discussions went as far as they did without notice to, or inclusion of, other Big 12 members,” Bowlsby said in his statement. “Despite our concerns for the process and for the overall health of college athletics, we will do everything possible to make sure that the student-athletes at both universities enjoy an excellent experience throughout the remaining four years of their participation and competition in the Big 12 Conference.”

ESPN responded to Bowlsby’s allegations earlier Thursday, saying that it “engaged in no wrongful conduct.”

This is all about posturing for a maximum settlement. If the Big 12 dissolves, then Texas and Oklahoma get out scot free. It will be interesting to see if Bowlsby is able to hold it together, and for how long.

Lest you think this stops here, check out this quote from outgoing FSU president John Thrasher.

The march toward two superconferences continues.

Now that the vote is done, the scheduling fight can begin.

Of course, there are more options than the division-less 3–6 format. They include a division-less 2–7 model or an eight-game 3–5 format.

Some are married to divisions and want them kept. Do the two most eastern teams in the SEC West, Alabama and Auburn, move to the East? In that situation, the conference would keep its similar scheduling format and add a ninth game.

During SEC media days last week, SEC Network, the league’s own TV channel, proposed a pod system that follows a 3–6 format. The four four-team pods split up the conference’s traditional powers and were mostly aligned geographically.

But guess what? There are problems with it, too. Auburn and Georgia are in separate pods, ending the annual game dubbed the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, played 125 times and every year since 1944.

This is one of those times where the simplest answer makes the most sense. Stick Alabama and Auburn in the East, which keeps the Iron Bowl, Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee intact. Cross-divisional matchups can be rotated at that point. The only other permanent opponent matchup of consequence is LSU vs. Florida, and I don’t think either of them will be upset about playing one another in rotation rather than annually.

Conference expansion has seemingly tabled talk of an expanded playoff.

Normally I would say that this is a good thing, but we go and make the SEC schedule more murderous than it already is with a ninth conference game, then stay at four? Bold.

Will Anderson and John Metchie are on the Walter Camp watch list.

Sophomore linebacker Will Anderson and junior wide receiver John Metchie were among the 35 players on the watch list ahead of the 2021 season. The Walter Camp Award is given to the Player of the Year in college football who has exemplified the qualities of “self-discipline, unselfish team play, desire to excel, mature judgment and respect for leadership.”

Last, Saban said at Media Days that Javion Cohen would be a starter on the OL. He seems impressed with the work ethic of his QB.

Love to see that.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.