I know the folks that cover the league, specifically, and they are not slouches. Chris Low and Mark Schlabach – they are no punks in the world of reporting… yet neither of them has an "oh wow" article to speak of about possible expansion of the SEC.
Actually, no one has written that article yet, which means one of two things: either the SEC and its officers are being extremely disciplined (which I find hard to believe) or the SEC is doing nothing (which seems even harder to fathom).
Doing nothing at this moment is not a plan, and I can't imagine someone as skilled as Mike Slive sitting back and kicking it. How's that working out for the Big Ten right now? No so great. After announcing to the world that his conference would expand in the next 12 to 16 months, Big Ten Commish Jim Delany is watching the Pac 10, some would say the soon-to-be Pac 16, dictate terms… not good. Unless Delany can pull the Irish out of a hat the Big Ten is going to get a second-rate expansion that involves the State University of New Jersey… Snooki would be proud.
Meanwhile the SEC has, seemingly (again, how can one do anything other than speculate at this moment?), allowed the Pac Ten to dictate expansion for the rest of the country. That's really what's going on here because there are only so many scenarios for the SEC to work with, and letting Cal and company do their thing is not in the best interest of the SEC.
The conference has, at a minimum, the following scenarios:
1. Stay Put – Stay at 12 teams and hope that all of this expansion stuff hurts everyone else… which is not likely.
2. Go get Texas, Texas A&M and two others from the Big 12 – This is probably the dream scenario for the SEC, but there is heavy competition. The conference allows schools to have their own television deals, i.e. Georgia's deal with ISP worth $92.8 million over eight years. Texas is in the midst of a ten-year deal with $94 million. This is all about money, and the SEC and its schools seems to have a lot more of it than anyone else these days… and that doesn't appear to be changing any time soon.
Getting Texas or Texas A&M would be a win for the SEC (remember this article?). It would make the conference the clear athletics leader in the country and would bolster the academic standing of the SEC – which people talk about, but no one really seems to care about. Also, no one really wants Texas Tech or Baylor, but they came with the hot girl to the party and might be on the way, too.
At that point does the conference stand pat at 14 teams? It seems like an odd number… but no less odd than 12.
3. Go get Florida State, Virginia Tech and two other ACC schools – Forget Georgia Tech… that seems very unlikely. I keep hearing that if the SEC got bigger it would involve Florida State and Virginia Tech. The only question, like the question of adding Texas and A&M, is does the SEC expand on out to 16 teams rather than just 14? I mean… is this thing just a land grab at this point?
Here is what I can't see happening:
1. Notre Dame joining the Big Ten in the next five days therefore making this entire discussion irrelevant…
2. The SEC standing still – if the Pac Ten or Big Ten grow to 14 teams the SEC will do the same… maybe even beating them to the punch…
4. Arkansas leaving the SEC – for what? No shot.
No matter what happens it seems it is going to happen fast – probably before too long. My guess is that the SEC and Slive have already reached out to the schools they are most interested it. If they haven't, and they don't have a backup plan they shouldn't be surprised when the Pac 16 in the number one conference in the country in five years.
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