What we know, don’t know, about expansion

After a weekend filled with travel, some fact, and whole bunch of speculation, here is where I think we are this Monday morning on the subject of conference expansion:

WHAT WE KNOW

1. Colorado (Pac-10) and Nebraska (Big Ten) have already left the Big 12. There is an offer on the table for Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State to move West and form the Pac-16. That would leave the Big 12 with five schools (Kansas, Kansas State, Missouori, Iowa State, Baylor) looking for new homes or trying to rebuild its league.

2. Texas A&M, showing a streak of independence, may not want to follow Big Brother Texas to the Pac-16. The Aggies want the Longhorns to know that they have options too: That’s why there is this flirtation with the SEC.  Texas A&M has played LSU and Arkansas over the years and culturally, some people in College Station feel it would be a better fit than playing on the Left Coast.

3. Various media reports had SEC commissioner Mike Slive in College Station, Texas, over the weekend. The SEC would not confirm this and commissioner Slive did not return a call seeking confirmation. But I do know this: Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne was not in College Station this weekend. He was at a family gathering in Idaho.

4. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has huddled with his television partners and come up with a plan to hold the 10 remaining members of his conference together. It would guarantee a lot more television revenue with a new deal and Texas would get to start its own network, something it may not be able to do in the Pac-16. It makes sense.  ESPN is just got out of one bidding war with FOX for the ACC television package. Would the Worldwide Leader want to get into another one for the newly-created Pac-16? It is in ESPN’s interest to do what’s necessary to hold the rest of the Big 12 together. And if that means putting a bunch of extra money on the table, so be it.  Beebe, I have it on pretty good authority, will not be at this week’s meetings of the conference commissioners out in California. He will be busy trying to save his conference. 

5. We should get a lot of clarity this week: The Texas and Texas Tech board of regents meet on Tuesday to discuss this. Oklahoma’s board of regents meets Wednesday. But, as SI.com’s Andy Staples reports, the Higher Education Committee of the Texas State House will hold hearings on Wednesday. Under the proposal on the table, the Pac-16 would invite all of the Texas schools in the Big 12 but Baylor.  Remember that Texas Governor Ann Richards pulled out her guns to get Baylor (her alma mater) into the Big 12 back in the early 90s. Their ain’t no mix like Texas politics and football. Could Baylor get shoe-horned into the Pac-16 if that is the only way to get the deal done?

FIVE THINGS WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

1. Would the SEC take Texas A&M without Oklahoma? Normally you want a traveling partner when you seek to change conference affiliation. Could Slive make the case to Oklahoma that it doesn’t need  to follow Texas? Not sure about that. OU athletics director Joe Castiglione has made it pretty clear that his school is linked with Texas.

2. If Texas A&M goes to the SEC, would that throw a lifeline to Kansas to the Pac-16?  The Jayhawks and their proud basketball tradition have been treated like the ugly cousin nobody talks to at the family reunion. But if Texas A&M goes to the SEC, the idea of a yearly basketball game (or two) between Kansas and UCLA might be appealing. But what if the Texas politicians strong-arm Baylor into the Pac-10 instead? That would be a bitter pill for Kansas to swallow.

3. If the Texas exodus to the Pac-10 does not happen, does that throw a lifeline to Utah to be the 12th member? Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see where the Pac-10 has really upgraded (at least from a TV numbers standpoint) if Colorado and Utah are the only teams that come on board.

4. What will Texas do? Despite all the reports that Texas to the Pac-10 is a done deal, school officials insisted over the weekend that all options are still on the table. It can stay in a Big 12 that has only 10 teams but a whole lot of new money (which it will get a larger chunk of) or it can go West. But understand this. All of these schools that don’t want to be seen as following Texas are basically going to have to get over it. “Texas is driving this bus,” a former coach in that part of the world told me. “Folks are going to have to get used to that.”

5. Will the Big Ten stop at 12? If you’re an SEC fan, this is the conference you should be watching. Even if there is a Pac-16 with Texas and Oklahoma in it, I don’t think the SEC will feel compelled to expand. And if the SEC gets Texas A&M and adds another school (insert your favorite team here) then it could stop at 14. That puts the SEC into the Texas market and makes their television package more valuable. That would be seen as a win for the SEC.

But if the Big Ten exercises the nuclear option and goes to 16, the SEC will have some intresting decisions to make. Under that scenario I once thought the SEC would look to the ACC. I no longer feel strongly that will be the case.

It’s going to be an interesting week folks. Stay tuned.

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554 comments Add your comment

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
5:53 pm

Would like to see Pitt and VT join the SEC. Become an SEC. May have to arrange some of the seating of the east and west but can be done with some creative drawing.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:53 pm

aggie94 – Texas A&M would be a great addition to the SEC.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:53 pm

Fyodor—-

No one “beats the tar out of everyone else” on a consistent basis in SEC football. That’s what makes it the SEC. On any given Saturday, Ole Miss beats Florida, Kentucky beats Georgia, Georgia beats Alabama . . . and, heck, even Vanderbilt rose up smited Auburn two years ago for a bowl bid.

No one gets a free pass in the SEC.

BTW, re SEC basketball, I seem to remember the Florida Gators wining two NCAA tournaments since the Kentucky Wildcats won their last one. Tennessee and Vanderbilt have had some pretty darn good hoops teams in the last five years, too.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
5:54 pm

Dostoyevskiy,
“kentucky remaining the only viable bb program in the conference”.

UF won back to back NC’s this past decade in BB. LSU went to a final four, as well. Vandy and Tennesse have been in the top 25 with great regularity. I’d say that is more than one program.
Care to recant?

Dostoyevskiy

June 14th, 2010
5:54 pm

Question here: Why is the ACC so much better in academics than the SEC? Anybody have a rational explanation? Why are UNC and UVa, both state schools, better than UGa, Alabama, Fl., etc., also state schools. Or will the question be ignored or simply lampooned?

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
5:55 pm

Virginia Tech and Pitt would both be worthy additions, but Pitt is a little outside our geographic zone, don’t you think?

Dr. Van Nostrand

June 14th, 2010
5:56 pm

The way the University of Texas behaves in conferences is the same way cancer behaves in the human body.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
5:58 pm

Atlanta Gator – smote? smat? I don’t use the word nearly enough to know.

GeneralNeyland96

June 14th, 2010
5:58 pm

5IML – follow up question for you regarding Champ Games…..now that the big 12(-2) is short of the champ game qualifying count….do they have to give up their game???

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
5:59 pm

AG,
Beat me to the punch in regards to SEC basketball. Anyone saying it’s not a basketball conference hasn’t been paying attention the last 10 years or so. Cetainly, we have a long way to go to even be considered on the same level as the ACC in hoops, but there are several programs on the rise. Very competitive conference.

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
6:00 pm

Dostoyevskiy – It isn’t the Age of Reason for a large segment of the population.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:01 pm

Atlanta Gator
Your right about Pitt be a challenging geographic, but they do have a decent football team and the state of Pennsylvania would watch the games. Perhaps I am just being an optimist. Would not like Pitt to get sucked into the “not able to count” big 10 conf. Rather have SEC be proactive.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

GeneralNeyland96,
As I undertand it, you have to have a minimum of 12 teams to hold a championship game. That does not REQUIRE you to have one, but is the minimum number. I’ve heard that they would petition for an exemption from that rule until they could retain 2 more members IF they hold the conference together.

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

you do need 12 teams for a championship game…per NCAA

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

Dostoyevskiy – Let me add that the faculty, students and alumni of the University of Florida and the University of Georgia are rational. Thought is a wonderful thing, if it results in action.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

Just trying to think of two teams due north or northwest around arkansas that would be a good fit for the SEC. ????

playmeortrademe

June 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

Texas is leveraging everyone to get their own network, and daring A&M to go without them…The Pac-10(11) will have egg on their faces before the end of the week and will scramble to get a 12th in for a championship game to get a sweet TV deal, so Utah OR, if they really had guts, UNLV, gets in.

1) SEC expansion will not happen if its not Texas. the only schools that might add value and consider joining are Memphis and Louisville. I don’t think Va Tech is a candidate, and I don’t think they would join anyway and get weekly beat-downs in the SEC East. Clemson is a decent fit with a Charlotte presence but same thing, they would be fourth or fifth banana most years in the SEC East, plus I think USC, UGA, and Florida would veto their admission unless they could really bring $$$ to the league.

2) Houston will eventually join the 10-team Big XII, and TCU will follow if the MWC can’t get an automatic BCS bid. Not that they are needed for market share, but they get the league back to XII and they make the most sense, TCU is a strong program in the Dallas market, Houston is building a new stadium and, well, is in Houston.

3) OR (and I think this WILL happen)…tables turn on the PAC 10 and the Big XII steals Arizona and Arizona State to get back to 12. This paves the way for the Pac 10, in desperation, to get Utah, BYU, Colorado State, UNLV to get a 12 team conference, effectively ending the MWC as a BCS player, paving the way for TCU and New Mexico to go Big XII, then Houston and either Tulsa, Rice, UTEP, or Tulane join for the 16th Big XII member.

Texas is brilliant…They are engineering the first superconference their way, and they will be the kings at the head of the table.

ckgator

June 14th, 2010
6:04 pm

Tech back to the SEC. Let’s go already!

Delbert D.

June 14th, 2010
6:06 pm

The athletic director of Notre Dame, a alumnus and former player, has stated that they intend to proceed incrementally over a period of probably a few years.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:09 pm

The Pac 10 was only 10 teams for years. Do not need conf champ game. Also, the big 10 which in reality was 11 teams did very well.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:13 pm

Got it… Pitt (little outside the territory but give them some money) and Louisville. One to the east and one to the west.

Louisville will become a stronger team with the new coach from Florida. He has Florida ties for recruiting so they may be able to pool from the main source of talent in the SEC.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:20 pm

Playmeortrademe
Great outline. Just for humor or keep things interesting. You know the big 12 (10) will eventually add 2 more teams. I think the big 12 wait on the results of the SEC and Big 10 battle and perhaps can get an unhappy SEC team like Arkansas and then bring in TCU. As of today, for the big 12 I think they sit tight and watch what happens in the SEC expansion. May be some fall out. Who knows..

Tide Rising

June 14th, 2010
6:22 pm

I just realized that other than a little poking fun at Texas today I haven’t seen any of the Georgia sucks, Bama sucks, Tech sucks, Florida sucks mindless banter that we usually see. Mostly just a reasonable discussion as to the possible conference realignments and scenarios. Kinda refreshing.

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
6:27 pm

Oil in the Gulf sucks, football is awesome

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
6:28 pm

Fyodor—-

First off, three of the top four ranked schools in the ACC are private, not public: Boston College, Duke, Wake Forest. Georgia Tech is an engineering and hard sciences school that has only relatively recently evolved decent liberal arts and business programs. Virginia (of which I have some personal knowledge) and North Carolina are model comprehensive public universities. UVa is currently ranked ahead of every state university other than Berkeley. But let’s be blunt: Clemson, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Florida State are nothing particularly special among elite public universities, nor is Miami among private schools.

If the ACC and the SEC were merged, Vanderbilt would be the second school overall, and Florida would be the fourth state school and sixth overall. Georgia would the fifth state school and seventh overall.

Why do UVa, UNC and Georgia have tougher admission standards? Well, for starters, they are all less than half the size of Florida and a third smaller than Georgia. A fair comparison is not a university of 25,000 like UVa, but another state university of 50,000, say, like Texas. Not surprisingly, Florida and Texas are ranked very similarly, and Georgia is not far behind. Or how about Florida’s in-state ACC rival FSU; yup, Florida is ranked a lot higher than another Southern university of similar size. Georgia is not far behind. Auburn and Alabama, like Clemson, Maryland, NCSU and FSU are respectable public universities. Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are all relatively large public universities that represent historically impoverished and relatively small Southern states with horrendously weak secondary education systems. In fairness to those four states, they’re not doing so badly with the resources they have historically devoted. Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia had better tax bases and could afford to spend more money on higher education. Those four states also had significant influxes of upper middle class in-migration which also improved their educational outcomes. Not surprisingly, the higher education outcomes for those four states was better.

Not making excuses for anyone, but history, demographics and economics explain a great deal of the differences. In Virginia’s case, the university was also the beneficiary of the vision of its founder who was at least a half-century ahead in his thinking the founders of other American state universities.

CrackDaddy

June 14th, 2010
6:28 pm

Dosto…, it’s a fact that the colleges and universities to the south of North Carolina, all the way across the country (with a very, very few exceptions), are inferior to those to the north. I’d like to here an explanation for this as well. And I’m a southerner.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
6:29 pm

Tony Blowhart, a whole lot of dribble, with not 1 comment about the Big East and the only statement about the ACC is that The SEC is not interested in ANY of their teams.

It is ALSO boring.

Look. Let’s describe who the LOSERS are to-date : Big XII, the ACC, the Big East and Southern California Trojans.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
6:31 pm

Tide Rising—-

But no one ever says “Florida sucks.”

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:34 pm

Atlanta Gator
Well stated. The private and public university scenario and why Florida and Texas are situated similiar in many fashions/traits/characteristics.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:35 pm

Atlanta Gator
You just opened up the flood gates for “suck comments” LOL.. You had to keep it interesting. Good for you…

aggie94

June 14th, 2010
6:37 pm

Texas Tech sucks!

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:42 pm

High five to you aggie94. We will need to promote you to Aggie54 instead of aggie54…

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:42 pm

Crap.. it is aggie94 to Aggie94. Not 54

bad brad

June 14th, 2010
6:45 pm

my 2 cents worth: Reason Texas A&M is an attraction for SEC is that they will bring an old-line traditional school with access to big state and no real down side. The Aggies ain’t going to come into the SEC and whip anybody’s arse on a regular basis. I don’t have a lot of respect for teams that will come play you on your home field and not demand a return home date. Dawgs beat A&M 44-0 in Athens and didnt have to go to College Station to reciprocate. Baylor also came to Athens for a butt whipping but we didnt go there.

I think if A&M will come they will be welcomed by conference with open arms. Then SEC will try to add another school probably from the SEC with similar status…not sure if it will be Clemson or FSU but someone like them. FSU brings a big-time name but Bobby Bowden was chicken in the 90s and I think SEC will remember that rejection.

However it shakes out, this has made for some interesting speculation and reading.

CrackDaddy

June 14th, 2010
6:46 pm

I believe the ACC said they would not answer the phone if the SEC called. I guess that’s why no one from the ACC was invited (assuming they were not).

bad brad

June 14th, 2010
6:47 pm

meant to say add a team from the southeast not SEC…too far into happy hour

UCLA

June 14th, 2010
6:52 pm

BAD BRAD,

UCLA also went to Sanford Stadium in 1985. The dogs backed out of the return trip to LA that they were supposed to take the next year. It could be that the dawgs were expected to reciprocate like in the case of UCLA and Georgia simply backed out for whatever reason. Dawgs went something like 56 years of not playing outside of the confines of the immediate southeast. Playing high profile home and homes outside of the southeast with other major programs is what elevated Alabama and Tennessee over georgia and other sec programs in the 60s and into the 2000s. Only 2 years ago did the dawgs begin to step up to the plate and even then it was with middle of the pack Az state and OK state which has never won its division. .

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
6:53 pm

atm got whipped in the big 12. They surely will be whipped in the SEC. atm a good product. I really think atm is just making noise and the SEC is falling into thier scheme. Remember there is a huge endowment fund(oil and natural gas) that funds Texas and Texas atm. That money is staying in the State of Texas.
If the state of Alabama was set up with that type of endowment that would link U of Alabama and Auburn together. They would never split.

Atlanta Gator

June 14th, 2010
6:53 pm

Pitt is hoping for a Big Ten (12) invitation when the dust settles. Memphis would add absolutely nothing to the SEC other than a new academic anchor man. Maybe Louisville: good basketball, decent and improving football, but another Tier 3 academic mediocrity (but at least it’s stronger than Memphis).

The directional Florida schools would add nothing, and outside of football, have fairly weak athletic programs overall. Southern Miss? Why would we add the third school from Mississippi, already the weakest state in the conference? (Talk about your vetoes—-Ole Miss and State will never let USM in.)

Guys, it really is a short list of schools that make sense:

1. Texas (would only join, if at all, on terms unacceptable to existing members);

2. Oklahoma (not joining without Texas);

3. Texas A&M;

4. Vriginia Tech;

5. Missouri;

6. Florida State (doesn’t want to play an SEC schedule);

7. Clemson;

8. Georgia Tech;

9. Louisville.

Having played with the scheduling in 14 and 16-team scenarios, I would prefer to see no more than two teams added because it would help preserve multiple rivalries and would still permit a reasonable six-year rotation among opposite division opponents (if the conference schedule were expanded to 9 games). Add 4 teams to get to a 16-member SEC would really be more in the nature of two 8-member conferences with a playoff because of the inability to schedule a relatively frequent rotation of opposite division opponents.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
6:53 pm

Aggies suck. Over the last 8 years, Aggies are # 69 in won / loss record. They have also lost 14 of the last 16 games vs Texas and Oklahoma. So what if they want out of having to play Texas and Oklahoma.

Southern California will be the big losers if Texas and Oklahoma go to the PAC-1 because there would be more than 1 team in that conference finally. There is no tradition in the PAC-1.

PAC-10 sucks.

Big XII sucks and all the Big XII homers who said I was wrong, where are you NOW ?

Nebraska sucks.

The Big Ten (12) sucks.

The Big East sucks.

The ACC sucks.

We have kinda sucked around here at 38-14 over the last 4 years ourselves, good for # 19 in the nation in won / loss record.

With Chris Low ESPN pointing out that Coach Richt is # 5 in The SEC in his entire 9-Year Career here at UGA vs Top 25 teams on Game Day for current coaches at the current school, Coach Richt does not suck, but his coaching staff for the entire 9-Year Coach Richt Era to-date clearly SUCKS the big one.

Colorado sucks.

Georgia tek sucks.

Baylor sucks.

Oklahoma, who has lost 4 of the last 5 games vs Texas and 3 of the last 5 games vs Texas Tech, and over the last 5 Consecutive Years now and counting, sucks.

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
6:54 pm

ESPN just announced that the Texas President has declined the PAC10 invite.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:00 pm

Atlanta Gator,

NONE of those teams 3 through the end could even begin to hope to compete in The SEC. Therefore, ALL are out.

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

Because they suck and can only compete against cupcakes.

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

Pac will be hurting for revenue without Texas. USC is in decline and will take a good 6 years to rebound from sanctions.

BuLLdawg… did someone need to vent a little… LOL
I had to laugh when you even stated that thing in Georgia sucked too. Outlook look good for Georgia. Last year was a rebuild year. Lose a QB and RB to the draft the year prior. That would suck…

Paul in RDU

June 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

Atlanta Gator – Nice post on the various universities. A couple of points:
1) you can’t say that UGA is elite and Clemson isn’t – they have similar rankings
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/national-top-public
2) UGA has improved its academic rankings dramatically in the last 30 years – due to $ and committment

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:03 pm

Florida and Alabama would not schedule any cupcakes????? They need cupcakes because everyone plays them like it is a superbowl for the visiting team. I do give Georgia credit. They will line up and play anyone..

Yeppie

June 14th, 2010
7:05 pm

Texas played arkansas, then arkansas backed out of the agreement. They postponed the return series for another year. Just an fyi..

Beast from the East

June 14th, 2010
7:06 pm

It appears that Texas used the PAC 1O like a dish-rag. With USC in a free-fall, that conference is in a world of hurt for the next 5-6 years.
Now I would love to see Arizona and Arizona State bail and head for the Big 12. LOL!!!!!

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:06 pm

BuLLdawg

June 14th, 2010
7:08 pm

“Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed that the University of Texas has declined an invitation to join the conference.”

The Dallas Morning News