With the arrival of Oklahoma and Texas in 2024, the conference heavily debated whether to stick to eight games or expand to nine. SEC athletic directors approved a revised eight-game slate and the conference will go without divisions in 2024.
“I think eventually we’ll probably move to more involvement and more SEC games, but I think this just happened so quickly, it was really hard to make a lot of changes that fast,” Saban said. “Whatever it is, we’re excited about the opportunity and the challenges. It’s a tough league, so we’ll play enough really good games against really good teams. Whether we play eight or nine, we’ll just adapt to it.”
Saban mentioned the need to play more out-of-conference Power 5 schools to improve Alabama's strength of schedule. A move to a nine-game schedule would make that difficult for Alabama and other SEC powerhouses.
With the decision to stick with eight games comes the possibility of losing some long-standing rivalries in college football's best conference. If the league were to stick with an eight-game schedule after 2024, reports are that schools will have one recurring rivalry game with seven rotating opponents.
While the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn will be preserved whatever the SEC schedule may be, other rivalries may fall under the sword of conference expansion.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said that the conference will explore more schedule options for 2025 and beyond.