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When Texas & Oklahoma join the SEC in 2024, Where will LSU end up?

In light of the recent news that Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC a year early in 2024, there becomes some level of urgency to put together a schedule model that the conference will run with.

The most likely schedule the conference is considering revolves around a nine game schedule with three yearly matchups and rotating the other 12 of 16 total teams in the conference. It allows for these SEC programs to not go four, five or six years without playing each other which has long been a topic of conversation within the conference.

With the nine-game schedule getting a lot of attention as the model going forward, there’s a lot of talks centered around which teams LSU could face a year in and year out. The three teams the 247Sports national team has as yearly matchups for the Tigers in a nine-game schedule are Auburn, Ole Miss, and Alabama. Here’s the reasoning behind those three teams.

“There are going to be a couple teams which get the short end of the SEC scheduling stick and LSU, as one of the elites, could be one of them. No disrespect to Ole Miss, but adding the Rebels here would balance things out a bit for the Tigers. If not, and Florida is the choice in the place of Ole Miss, that’s a brutal permanent stretch every year for LSU. The Tigers are used to it by now since Florida’s already a permanent rival. Alabama-LSU through the years has routinely been one of the SEC’s top games and that’s not going to change moving forward giving how well these two programs recruit.”

The history of LSU and Ole Miss really is one of the oldest rivalries in the conference having met 110 times in their programs history. It’s hard to imagine the Rebels not being an every year occurrence for the Tigers as the Magnolia Bowl carries that historical significance. Where the other two names get a little bit tricky is between a handful of programs.

There’s an argument to be made that not only Alabama and Auburn but Texas A&M and Florida are terrific opponents for the Tigers to face in this nine game model. But for argument’s sake, it’s hard to imagine the numbers that LSU-Alabama generates every year as one of college football’s most anticipated matchups keeps the Crimson Tide off the list.

For the last decade plus, the Tigers and Crimson Tide have strung together some legendary battles as two of the programs that consistently produce NFL talent at a higher level than most other programs in the country. There is typically no shortage of stars and more times than not it’s an early November contest that carries weight in the race for the SEC West title.

So with Alabama and Ole Miss taking two spots, that leaves Auburn, Texas A&M and Florida as the three remaining programs that make the most sense for LSU. Some might want to throw Arkansas into the mix but those other three are where the focus really narrows.

It would be really hard to keep Florida from being that third team. Going back almost 20 years, the rivalry of Florida-LSU has really been one of the more entertaining, intense matchups in the conference. Since 2010 only four games have been decided by more than one possession and the most recent hiring of Billy Napier as the Gators coach and Brian Kelly as the Tigers coach will always be compared to one another in terms of results which makes for engaging storylines every year.

But it would also be impossible not to recognize the recent rivalry created between LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers and Aggies have settled into a back and forth really since 2018 when Texas A&M won that seven overtime monstrosity of a game that started to boil this rivalry up a few notches.

LSU likely prevented Texas A&M from playing a New Year’s six bowl two years ago while the Aggies win last season shattered any late season hope that LSU would sneak into the college football playoff. There’s animosity and real hate growing between these two programs that’s hard to overlook.

In the end, Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M being the every year opponents for LSU would be a tough draw but one that would continue to bring out the best in all of the programs and the rivalries.