Sugar Bowl Football

Georgia band members venture a closer look at Texas mascot Bevo before the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in New Orleans.

One of my favorite parts of the college basketball season is the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which took place on Saturday.

What a great time to play — not only in the midst of conference play, but also the weekend between the AFC/NFC Championships and the Super Bowl.

The spotlight is shining.

Now wouldn’t be great if the same thing occurred in football between the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference.

And don’t give me the excuse that games are scheduled years in advance. Each season just a few months before the fall, an Austin Peay or an Eastern Illinois (sorry Tony Romo) are announced as opponents.

For instance next season, some non-conference opponents include Prairie View at Texas A&M (Nov. 20), Mercer at Alabama (Sept. 11) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Arkansas (Oct. 23).

Mississippi has Liberty on Nov. 6, not exactly the pushover the Rebels expected when scheduled.

Here’s a few in the Big 12, Missouri State at Oklahoma State (Sept. 4), SFA at Kansas State (Sept. 11) and Texas Southern at Baylor (Sept. 11).

Of course, that formula of scheduling, along with bye weeks mixed in, has worked for the SEC.

True, those schools that venture to the SEC venues are paid handsomely and that check is a big percentage of the smaller school’s athletically budget.

But can you imagine, say on third week of September that the Big 12 and SEC have a matchup?

Announce in January, between games of the Big 12/SEC Basketball Challenge, the fall football schedule for the leagues. Say 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, and so on, now that would be fun. But it doesn’t have to be set in stone. Four teams in the SEC would have to sit out each, so you might have to juggle it.

Here’s an example of what could be next year’s schedule (based on regular season standings, or you could slot the conference championships as one and two) — Alabama at Iowa State; Oklahoma at Texas A&M, Florida at Oklahoma State, Texas at Georgia, Auburn at TCU, West Virginia at LSU, Missouri at Kansas State, Texas Tech at Mississippi, Kentucky at Baylor and Kansas at Arkansas.

That is primarily based on descending order of the standings from 2020. In 2021, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt would be worked into the mix or just go by the league results each season — you have to finish in the top 10.

Don’t just limit it to the Big 12 and SEC, how about the Big Ten vs. the ACC one year and the PAC-12 the next. Those three could figure out a sked. Rotate it around for intriguing games.

What a treat this would be for fans and sounds like a money-maker to me with stadiums being filled (if we get past this awful pandemic) plus treat this slate of games as separate from the regular TV deals.

ABC/ESPN, CBS and FOX, would bring a Brink’s truck with so much cash that armed Pinkerton guards would be needed.

Bring on baseball, soccer, softball — let’s mix things up.

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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.