Does "lazy" SEC scheduling for 2025 portend further seismic conference realignment?

On the surface, it looks like the SEC threw up their hands with their scheduling model for next year. But is there more to it?
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and North Carolina Coach Mack Brown talk before the ACC Championship
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and North Carolina Coach Mack Brown talk before the ACC Championship / Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2025 SEC football schedule is a little uncreative. How much can be read into that?

I promise I am not trying to create a conspiracy theory based off of the 2025 SEC football schedule. But hear me out on this one.

When the news came down earlier today that the SEC conference schedule for the football season after next would be a simple reversal of home/road splits from the 2024 slates, more than a few people were disappointed. This was especially so due to all the talk of the 1-7 scheduling model replacing divisions and how that would increase each team's ability to see more of the other teams in the conference.

There's an obvious reason, of course. There wasn't enough support for a 9-game slate, and the potential pitfall of having to choose only one of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry and the Iron Bowl to have on the schedule was too prohibitive. There are a lot of teams in this conference with more than one rivalry that needs to be protected year to year.

But what if there's something more going on? Something... more sinister?

Or maybe not sinister. Maybe just clandestine. Better word anyway.

The decision to move away from divisions in football was officially made over a year ago. Since that point, there has been so much that has happened in the college football landscape, specifically regarding realignment.

Three huge moves recently that deserve note: 1) FSU sues the ACC over their grant of rights, 2) Clemson joins in by filing their own suit regarding the grant of rights, and 3) the SEC and Big 10 form an "advisory committee" to discuss the big issues facing collegiate athletics generally. The table is being set here, folks. The PAC-12 is gone. The ACC and the Big 12 are soon to follow suit.

What happens then? Where does the brand power go? Well, to one of the new super conferences, of course. And if that happens, who comes to the SEC?

In my completely uninformed opinion, I think Clemson is a shoo-in. They are already a culture fit in many ways for the SEC. They're as good as conference members as far as I'm concerned.

Things get murky after that. You most likely are aiming to add more than one, and for the sake of this article, I'll only go up to two. The most logical choice—and the one that will be the hottest point of contention—will be North Carolina.

Maybe the biggest brand in college basketball, the Tar Heels will be no doubt courted by the Big 10. They fit that profile in a lot of ways. The only problem is that they are far outside of the footprint (though that hasn't really mattered a lot to the Big 10 recently).

There will be issues for either conference with the Tobacco Road trio: can you take all three? Would you take all three? I'm not sure either conference is better equipped to handle that question than the other, but the fact is clear that what makes the most geographical and logistical sense for any one of these schools—and therefore for UNC individually—is to head to the SEC.

Of course, if talks like this are already underway, then it makes sense that you need to plan ahead. When you're making schedules for more than a year from now, then, with the level of uncertainty you're dealing with, it makes the most sense to just... punt.

I will freely admit this is reasoning from effect to cause. But sometimes it's more fun that way.