SBNation.com's Bill Connelly looks at the difference between Texas A&M's schedule if it stayed in the Big 12, and how it will be when the Aggies slide over to the SEC.
It's a very interesting comparison, and could run the gamut from much tougher to a little easier, depending upon who A&M draws for opponents from the East (presumably, they will be in the West division). If it's teams like Florida and South Carolina (based on four years of rankings) it would be far harder. If it were Kentucky and Vanderbilt, it would be somewhat easier than their current Big 12 lineup. If you split the difference, it's tougher, basically because the SEC is tougher top to bottom than the Big 12. The Big 12 usually has good top teams in Texas, OU and sometimes OSU and Mizzou, but the mid-pack teams are not as tough.
Using four-year rankings, A&M's schedule perhaps gets a hair more difficult at the top in this hypothetical; instead of two Top 15 opponents and six Top 33 opponents, A&M could be playing three Top 15 opponents and five Top 23 opponents. In all, however, there isn't necessarily a significant difference here, thanks in part to the shift from nine conference games to eight. Really, the main shift comes in the middle.
All this depends upon how the SEC decides to arrange the 13-team schedule. Team Speed Kills recently looked at the 13-team schedule and how it works out:
To help illustrate how this would go, I have set up a hypothetical 2012 conference schedule. I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible, but I'll be honest, my head hurt quite a bit after putting this together. As you'll see, I tried to monkey with the current SEC scheduling system as little as possible.
Just looking at that made my head hurt. Basically, what it boils down to is that TAMU and two other West division teams would play every team (6) in the West and two from the East, while everyone else would play five from their division and three from the other.
In other words, it's a hot mess. But something like this will have to serve.