The expanded SEC is awesome. The conference should be as competitive as ever following the additions of Texas and Oklahoma.

However, the 16-team SEC is sacrificing some historic rivalries in the new conference schedule. Perhaps most notably, the Georgia Bulldogs will not play the South Carolina Gamecocks this fall for the first time since 1991. Georgia also will not play the Gamecocks in 2025.

Georgia and South Carolina have an extensive history. South Carolina was the last team to beat Georgia in Athens. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs often battled for SEC East supremacy over the years. When South Carolina hired former Florida coach Steve Spurrier it added further fuel to the Georgia-South Carolina rivalry.

In fact, Will Backus of CBS Sports ranks the Georgia-South Carolina as the top rivalry in the SEC that will not be played in 2024.

“There is a natural distaste for Georgia among Gamecocks faithful,” said Backus. “The two programs share a recruiting footprint … there’s no love lost here.” Georgia’s hiring of former South Carolina coach Will Muschamp is another point of contention between the two fan bases.

Georgia-South Carolina is considered the 16th-best rivalry in the SEC. Georgia is in a unique situation in the expanded SEC. The Bulldogs have too many rivalries to protect.

Georgia’s top rivals in the SEC are the Florida Gators, but the Dawgs’ historic rivalry with the Auburn Tigers is among the conference’s most-heated and most-played rivalries. Additionally, Georgia has strong rivalries with Tennessee and South Carolina. The old format of the SEC allowed Georgia to play all four of these rivals every season, but now Georgia has just one permanent rival: Florida.

It is obvious the expanded SEC needs to move to a nine-game conference schedule, which would allow for Georgia to have multiple protected rivalries.

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