The SEC plan for expansion

Well, it came out this week that OU and Texas A&M were in fact invited by a top official into the SEC. They of course refused because neither school has a spine and cowers in the presence of almighty Texas. So the now decimated and pathetic Big XII is now the Big X. Everyone has talked about them over and over and over again, us included. But the interesting thing people are missing here is about the SEC. Hello?! They tried to expand to 14 schools and no one seemed to care! It would have been a great plan too. Imagine adding OU and Texas A&M along with Vandy to the west division and Alabama and Auburn to the east division. But alas, not to be. However, this does give us an insight into the SEC’s plans for expansion in the future.

The SEC was the last player to the table in the expansion talk. The Big Ten got things heated up by saying they were looking at it. The Pac-10 really made a splash when they attempted to become a 16 team mega conference. The Big XII tried to keep things together with new media deals. And yet the SEC did nothing. The supposed self-proclaimed “best conference in football” really was watching things closely. As it turns out, the SEC is a bunch of scavengers, ready to pick up some leftovers from everyone else’s ambitious moves.

Also disturbing was the lack of anything from the ACC. Some teams affirmed their loyalty to the ACC, yes, but the conference said nothing. Yet you better believe they were ready to pounce on any leftover Big East football teams if the Big Ten had come knocking. So if the SEC expansion plan is take the best we can find that is left, what does that mean for their future?

Well it’s no surprise the Pac-10 (12?) is very ambitious under their new commissioner, Larry Scott. They will undoubtedly be trying to break into new markets and pick up more and more good programs to grow their conference. This might be quite a process however, as there really aren’t any contenders at the moment. I would say next on their radar is UNLV. They just have to pray UNLV develops into a stronger football program. That would get them an extra 30-40K fans each week, plus the Las Vegas market. After that it is tough to say. I think its safe to assume any Pac-10 expansion would include either WAC, MWC or Big XII teams.

It’s also safe to assume any future Big Ten expansion would include either Big XII, Big East or ACC teams. And it’s also safe to assume the SEC has no future plans for expansion but just wants to keep up with any other conference who does. So the first moves on any future expansion will definitely come from the Pac-10, Big Ten or possibly the MWC. How does this affect the SEC? Well there are a few scenarios.

I think the college football landscape is temporarily safe. No moves are going to come any time soon. However, in 2 or 3 years, the MWC will become a BCS conference. When they do, they are going to set off the next wave of expansion. First, the Big XII TV deal is simply not going to work. For one, nothing is in writing. Those schools aren’t going to make nearly what they think they are, and they will be pretty angry because of it. Second, basketball took an obvious back seat to football, something Kansas and Kansas State undoubtedly resent. No secret those guys will be pretty uneasy in three years when the new Big XII doesn’t exactly pan out.

All along they took the position they were going to be in a BCS conference. Well, once the MWC becomes one, they will immediately extend invitations to Kansas and Kansas State, giving them 12 schools and a football championship game. This also gives Kansas and Kansas State a new home that they can probably have a good shot at dominating. Currently, they won’t stand a chance year in and year out against the other 9 programs in the Big XII.

With the Big XII down to 8 schools, they will call it quits. That will be 8 programs that anybody wouldn’t mind picking up at all. The first step will be Missouri petitioning the Big Ten to let them in already, which they will do. At this point, the Fighting Irish will finally come around. They will have sucked for so long that when 2015 rolls around, NBC will have no interest in renewing. Notre Dame will be forced to finally join the Big Ten where they belong, pushing them to 14 teams.

Well all chaos will shortly ensue again. The Pac-10 will try and convince Texas, Texas A&M, OU and Oklahoma State to join and make the 16 team super conference. However, seeing scraps lying around, the SEC vultures will swoop in and try to steal those same 4 and convince them to join the SEC. This will be a no brainer. The SEC will become a 16 team conference.

West division: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State
East division: Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Auburn, Alabama

There’s a couple reasons for this. One is the obvious geography. It is much easier to travel east to games than west. Traveling west means you come home later because of time changes. And those four schools would have to go through two timezones to get to the west coast. Second, the SEC makes a heck of a lot more money than the Pac-10. There’s a lot more in it for those 4 financially. Plus, they finally can renew the old rivalry with Arkansas from the Southwest conference.

So where do Iowa State, Texas Tech and Baylor end up? Who cares, have they ever consistently had profound effects on college football? They may have to end up begging the MWC, C-USA or WAC for admittance. And the MWC may not be opposed to that. Picking up Texas Tech and Baylor and becoming a 14 team conference wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

This of course leaves the Pac-10 hoping UNLV and Nevada somehow become great athletic and academic institutions overnight. Wishful thinking. The truth is I think we’re headed for this scenario. The SEC will become the all-powerful football conference in the land. The MWC will start to gain some significance. The Big Ten will finally consummate the deal with Notre Dame. The Pac-10 will continue to wish they were geographically somewhere else. The Big East will still suck. The ACC will still be the very definition of utter mediocrity.

What do you think?