When the SEC unveiled its’ 2024 schedule for all 16 teams Wednesday night, it brought a smile to plenty of Texas fans.
The Longhorns couldn’t have asked for a more favorable conference schedule in their first season in the almighty league. After all, Texas hosts Florida in Austin for the first time since 1939. Not to mention Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State will travel to Darrell K. Memorial.
The annual Red River Rivalry will still be at the Cotton Bowl, and there’s a trip to old SWC nemesis Arkansas. However, the cherry on top for Texas is renewing the rivalry with Texas A&M. The Lone Star Showdown hasn’t been played since 2011, and fans from both sides are thrilled.
Several eyebrows were raised when Oklahoma’s schedule was revealed, because it was extremely tougher. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise as to why the SEC catered to Texas. First off, the program is arguably the most powerful and lucrative brand in all of College football. The Longhorns also rank fifth all-time with 936 victories, have four claimed National Titles and two Heisman winners.
That’s what makes Texas one of the most hated and envied teams in the country. The naysayers view the Longhorns as a cancer to a conference, considering everyone blames them for breaking up the original Big 12. It only added more fuel to the fire after Texas launched the unprecedented Longhorn Network, but that was the program flexing its’ muscles.
The SEC wouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet if the Longhorns weren’t bringing so much to the table. It’s no mystery that everyone recruits in Texas heavily. So having the state’s two biggest programs in the SEC, means the market is expanding tremendously.
There’s no denying the Big Ten is the only other Power Five Conference that’s on the same level as the SEC. The Big Ten even added UCLA and USC after Texas and Oklahoma joined the SEC. Regardless, the Big Ten played chess instead of checkers after it inked the billion dollar media rights deal.
Still, Texas will play a huge part in the SEC’s next media rights deal because of its’ influence. It’s crystal clear that the SEC wants the Longhorns to have a smooth transition in 2024. That doesn’t mean the other 15 teams don’t matter, but there will be some animosity towards Texas by everyone over this ordeal, especially Texas A&M. Big 12 fans already want the Longhorns out of their conference, and can’t wait to stick it to them one last time as a parting gift.
The SEC is going to be a whole other animal to navigate through for the Longhorns though. With no divisions in place, and a 12-team Playoff implemented in the postseason, the anticipation has been amplified. Texas could easily be one of likely six SEC teams that reaches postseason glory with nine or 10 wins.
The official dates have yet to be announced for fans to make travel plans. Regardless, every conference game on the Longhorns’ 2024 schedule will likely be sold out. And that speaks volumes because very few programs can move the needle in terms of value like Texas can.