On July 1, 2024, Oklahoma and Texas will join the SEC and the conference’s coaches seem very excited about their addition.
The 2023 SEC Media Days are underway in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Sooners and Longhorns are a major topic of conversation this week. Several coaches have been asked about their thoughts or feelings towards welcoming the two national brands into the conference and what it mean for the SEC going forward.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban had this to say about the SEC’s newcomers in 2024.
“I think it’s a great addition to the SEC,” Saban said. “You’ve got two great programs that have great traditions, that have great fan support. The map of the SEC is stronger than ever. The competition [in the SEC] has always been difficult; it’s going to be even more challenging because you’ve got two really good programs that have consistently, in the past, been top 10 programs for a lot of years. They’ve won national championships.
“With the new scheduling we’ll have in the future, it’s more good games for fans, more diversity in who you play. So, there’s a lot of positives about it. From a coaching standpoint, it’s going to be much more challenging to compete week-in and week-out because, when you look at the SEC, the thing that separates it is not the top, but the depth. How many good teams there are.”
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman is also excited about the prospect of adding the Red River rivals, but especially their former Southwest Conference rivals.
“The state of Arkansas is ecstatic about having the opportunity to play Texas, and for that matter, Oklahoma,” Pittman said. “Proximity is so good for us and it’s not going to be costly on fans because they can drive back and forth to Norman and to Austin. But I think everybody is really excited about that. Obviously, we’re bringing two powerful, storied programs into the SEC, so we know they’re going to be really great opponents.”
Pittman then explained that he is personally excited about their additions, being originally from the state of Oklahoma.
“You know, I’m excited,” Pittman said. “I’m from Oklahoma, grew up a Sooner fan until I moved to eastern Oklahoma and became a Hog fan. I think it’ll be a great deal for the SEC and specifically Texas because of the old Southwest Conference rivalry.”
The hype surrounding the Sooners and Longhorns moving to the SEC will only build as the 2023 season progresses, and before we know it, they’ll be playing SEC games. But, let’s not wish away their final year in the Big 12, as the 14-team conference looks to provide them a stiff challenge before their departure.