If SEC expands, it needs to hook them Horns

sec logoThe past week, whether it’s at work or out and about, I’ve been hearing college football fans talking about possible SEC expansion if the Big 10 kicks off the era of 16-team superconferences, and which teams ought to be added.

It’s the kind of subject that leads to spirited and enjoyable debate, with the candidates I’ve heard suggested ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

So here’s my take on all of this:

If the Big 10 adds more than one team, Commissioner Mike Slive has indicated the SEC will be proactive to protect its position. Which probably means going to at least 14 and possibly 16 teams.

But just adding teams isn’t what this is all about. The aim of expansion for the SEC will be widening its television footprint by moving into lucrative new markets. Why add teams (like, for instance, Georgia Tech or Louisville) in markets that the conference already dominates? Splitting up the money more ways only makes sense if there’s more money generated. And that’s only going to happen with a bigger TV audience. (Someone mentioned that Louisville would bolster the SEC in terms of basketball, but that’s basically irrelevent to the discussion. Conference expansion is all about football.)

The Longhorns belong in the SEC. (University of Texas Athletics)

The Longhorns belong in the SEC. (University of Texas Athletics)

The best way for the SEC to add audience would be to invade the state of Texas. A lot of folks think the Big 12 will start to crumble if the Big 10 takes several of its northern teams, and the University of Texas is the jewel everyone wants. Texas in the Big 10 (as rumored early this year) is a bad fit, and while some think the Longhorns might go to the PAC 10, the SEC seems like a much more natural home for them.

According to former SEC Commissioner Harvey Schiller, Texas would have joined the conference back in 1992 had the Texas Legislature not insisted that Texas A&M must be taken, too. At the time, the SEC wasn’t interested in the Aggies. But if the SEC was going to 16 teams, adding Texas and Texas A&M would work just fine this time around. And if the Lone Star politicians didn’t get involved this time, adding Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC would be even better. Oklahoma isn’t a major TV market, but the Sooners are a marquee team.

And if Texas does decide to bolt to the PAC 10 and doesn’t take A&M with it, adding the Aggies and the Sooners to the SEC would work, too.

So that takes care of two of the four teams needed to reach 16. For the other two, some fans think locking up the state of Florida by taking Florida State and Miami away from the ACC (which probably will end up feasting on whatever’s left of the Big East after the Big 10 is through with it) would make sense. The University of Florida likely wouldn’t be thrilled about both of its in-state rivals being added to the conference, but I doubt they could veto both of them.

So if you just take one, the Seminoles are the better choice, both geographically and in terms of fan support. Miami fans don’t travel well and the U doesn’t even draw well at home (though perhaps they’d put a few more folks in the seats if they had SEC competition on a regular basis). Last time we went through all this, FSU opted to dominate (for a while) the weaker ACC rather than joining the SEC, but that would be less likely in today’s TV-oriented college football landscape.

As for South Florida, a school I’ve heard several fans mention, forget it: not ready for prime time.

For the fourth team, a lot of fans on both sides of the border would like to see the Clemson Tigers in the SEC, and admittedly they’d be a good fit in terms of football culture, location and natural rivalries. But they wouldn’t add much to the conference’s TV appeal.

Virginia Tech, on the other hand, might be more inclined to bolt the ACC, where it hasn’t been all that long, and the Hokies would give the SEC access to the Washington-Baltimore area TV market. So I like that move, unless the politicians in the Old Dominion state throw a spanner in the works by insisting the University of Virginia must be taken, too. The Cavaliers aren’t a good fit for the SEC, so in that case Clemson would be the better choice.

So there’s your menu for selecting four new teams: Texas, Texas A&M or Oklahoma, Florida State or Miami, and Virginia Tech or Clemson. Add those to the SEC and it doesn’t matter what any other conference does.

Would this lineup make it tougher for UGA to win an SEC title? Undoubtedly. But it would make it tougher for Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and LSU, too. And whichever team came out on top from such a conference would have a pretty good claim to being the best team in the country.

Feel free to share your own SEC wish list. …

240 comments Add your comment

Frank Lane

April 29th, 2010
12:16 pm

First of all LOGAN GRAY – REMEMBER HINES WARD coaches.

Four adds. Texas, Oklahoma, FSU, Miami.

OolteawhDawg

April 29th, 2010
12:16 pm

Wow! First? not even trying. These changes would do everything but guarantee the SEC the National Championship every year.

OoltewahDawg

April 29th, 2010
12:19 pm

2nd, but who cares. Even us folks from Ooltewah have trouble spelling it! Frank, I would take Clemson or West Virginia before Miami.

dawgs01

April 29th, 2010
12:22 pm

If we added Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, and Florida State to the SEC it would be impossible to go undefeated. Just think about how great those games would be. Our conference would just be stronger than it already is. I dont see the Big Ten getting any stronger with the teams it is talking about getting just more watered down.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
12:22 pm

Bill Texas is not coming to the SEC and have their History have to Bump Heads with Bama’s History. The Travel cost is out of the world too. Do you see all that many fans traveling that distance for an away game? I don’t see it. I would not go to a Tech v BC game everyother yr. if they were in Tech’s division. Maimi is a hard trip already and the city of Maimi is not all that either. The Natural Order would be to keep all the Southern Players staying in the South to play. That means Clemson (Who Tech beats consistantly in History and now 7 in a row), that UGA fears to the SEC. Tech back to the SEC. Miami and FSU in the SEC too. VT is a pretty good drive too. Dad and I go to that game because we love the town and He has Ga. Power friends that live there.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
12:23 pm

Sorry I was First I just had too much to say to do that STUPID FIRST THING.

slow down young pups

April 29th, 2010
12:25 pm

I say get Middle Tenn, Tenn. Tech, Troy and Clemson for good measure. Maybe sub Ga. Tech for Tenn Tech.

Texas and Oklahoma will not come. Maybe picking up a few from the dreadful ACC would be okay.

Go DAWGS

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
12:29 pm

dawgs01 you can’t get Oklahoma without getting Oklahoma State too. I think that is a law the state senate passed there a few years ago. OSU didn’t work out too well for UGA last year and do you really think UGA want anything to do with Texas or Oklahoma.

If they really want to be a super conference...

April 29th, 2010
12:30 pm

…then the SEC would look like this,(throw out Vandy and MS State:

EAST – UGA, UT, UF, KY, SC, Clemson, FSU, VT/UM

WEST – AL, AU, MS, AR, LSU, TX, OK, OK State/TX A&M

Delbert D.

April 29th, 2010
12:37 pm

I’m not sure there is an expanded TV market for West Virginia, other than Pennsylvania. Clemson doesn’t make sense as a new market. Greater Greenville? The comments on Miami are accurate. The don’t travel well, and they don’t support middling teams.

So, Texas and Texas A&M would open up the west, but Vandy really should move out to another conference. Ga. Tech would add to the SEC because SEC fans will travel to Atlanta, and the traditional Tennessee and Auburn rivalries would be restored. That (traveling fans to a major city) overshadows the expanded TV market in that specific case. I think VT would welcome a move to a more competitive conference. The other suggestion would be Florida State since they are as football-crazy as SEC fans.

Gordon

April 29th, 2010
12:38 pm

How would the football schedule work in a superconference of 16 teams? If there are 2 divisions and you played everyone in your division every year, you would play teams in the other division once every 8 years assuming you continued to play 8 conference games. You would only see teams from the other division once every 16 years at your own place.

Dan

April 29th, 2010
12:38 pm

I say leave well enough alone. IF the SEC does expand, and Clemson and re-ignite the UGa/Clemson rivalry and then maybe Texas, if that doesn’t pan out FSU

Sam

April 29th, 2010
12:38 pm

The t.v. money might be what drives the decisions but for the fans and alums we care more about the history and traditions. If the conferences get too big, I’m afraid it will diminish the quality of the game. That being said, if the sec chooses to add teams, they should seek the teams that already have a history with other sec teams like Clemson, FSU, and Tech. I like the thought of Texas as well but geographically, it’s too far away.

common sense

April 29th, 2010
12:41 pm

But isn’t Bull-baiting illegal?

Clem

April 29th, 2010
12:44 pm

2nd largest area for Clemson alumni outside the NC, SC, GA borders is the PA/VA/NJ area. you can check their alumni map here http://www.clemson.edu/alumni/us-map.html. I’m not saying that Clemson would leave the ACC, but don’t count out their east coast market influence.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
12:48 pm

The biggest TV advertizers are companies that do business all over the US. Why is a bigger TV market going to make all that much more money? If my business in is Texas am I going to pay a ton more money to run ads during the games to fans that can’t even buy, want, or need my products? If you want to make your town more money than you need to have the FANBASE to travel to your town and spend money. That being said more money will be made for the actuall TOWNS if away fan can get to the games. Splitting more money between the colleges doesn’t help the local economy as much as you are saying. The money will go to the people that the college uses to make the sprots programs better, but not the rest of the student bodies college experience better. Sports money doesn’t help the SMART COLLEGE KIDS or the UNIVERSITIES get BETTER PROFESSORS.

common sense

April 29th, 2010
12:48 pm

Texas will never go for the equal share ($) in the SEC. Tx and Ok get a larger portion in the Big 12.

redeployed dawg

April 29th, 2010
12:50 pm

If we added more teams, several traditional East/West rivalries (GA/AU is the first to come to mind) would fall by the wayside (too many divisional teams). I am not a fan of only playing western teams like LSU and Alabama twice every 16 years. 12 teams is a combination that makes sense; lets get all the real conferences on the same page. I guess I would be in favor of some shaking up of the conferences though.

BAMA STAN

April 29th, 2010
12:59 pm

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Personally – I hate the idea of 16 teams – totally unmanagable – 12 is the perfect number.

With that said – if the SEC were to expand – the goal would be to expand the TV market and make the SEC more lucrative for all teams.

I would be in favor of 14 teams – adding Texas and Texas A&M.
Each team would play 10 SEC games.
Each team would have a 4 games from the other SEC Division – One permanent opponent – and three rotating games. This way – you play all teams home and home every 4 years!

SEC EAST:
Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vandy.
UGA’s new SEC West Perm. Opponent Texas A&M (repacing Auburn)
Tennessee would add Texas (replacing Alabama)

SEC WEST:
Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M.
Alabama will pick up Auburn as their Perm. opponent (replacing Tennessee)

I would really hate losing the Tennessee Alabama rivalry – but we would get to play Texas every year – and would still get to play Tennessee 2 times every 4 years.

Your toughts??

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!

Spike

April 29th, 2010
1:03 pm

We are all dreaming, but here goes. Texas, of course. Oklahoma, ditto. Texas A&M, not so much. FSU, yes. But they blew us (the SEC) off once, so they are down on the list. Clemson would be good in the SEC East. DA U, no way, no way, no way. Louisville? Yawn.

Spike

April 29th, 2010
1:04 pm

And at least this got us off the Logan Gray soap opera. Thanks, Bill.

Kyle

April 29th, 2010
1:04 pm

I don’t understand why you’re writing off Miami if you’re main point about expansion is television coverage. South Florida is a huge market.

True, Miami fans don’t travel well, but it’s an 8 hour drive (if you’re lucky with traffic and don’t make stops) up to Tallahassee just to see them play the in-state Rival. What other team has its only real instate rival 8 hours away?

That being said, fans of other teams still come out and see their team play Miami, regardless if they aren’t what they used to be. Plus Miami would make an intriguing “villain” in the SEC: a private school in a major metro up against a bunch of publics in state capitals and ho-dunk college towns. Let’s not get started on Miami’s diverse fanbase and black coach. Then again, I get sick of hearing opposing fans make “rich kid” taunts and then mutter vaguely racist things about Miami.

observation

April 29th, 2010
1:07 pm

Although extremely unlikely, the ultimate dream team of 4 schools (and tv markets) would be Texas and Texas A&M in the West and UNC and Va Tech in the East. This would bring in the Dallas and Houston markets along with Charlotte and DC/Baltimore. It would also bolster both football and basketball.

Gordon

April 29th, 2010
1:14 pm

Bama Stan,

The only problem with your plan is it limits the out of conference schedule to 2 games. Some schools (UGA, UF) have permanent out of conference opponents, so for them there would only be 1 “free” game. That game would probably be used for a weaker team, so they would never have any chance to play a team from another major conference except in the postseason. Even the schools that don’t have a traditional rival from another conference would be very limited with 10 conference games.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
1:16 pm

Better YET make all conferences 14 teams. Play everybody in your divison(6 gms) & 3 rotating from the other divison(9th gm), & 1 traditional OOC rival(10th gm), and a championship game(11th gm). Stop playing 3 minor league games every year. 9 conference totaling 126 teams. Playoff with the 2 teams with the worst records having to play-in(12th gm) then 8 teams in a 4 game playoff to total 16 games and a Champion. NO BYE week in the season, but a bye week before the League championship. 1 week off before the play-in game which means the other teams get 2 weeks off before they play the Playoffs & 1 week off before the Championship Game. Start games the last Sat in Aug. and we could be done with the championship on New Year’s Day/ Night. It is PERFECT and screw the worthless bowls that don’t matter being playe on a Tue afternoon.

1eyedJack

April 29th, 2010
1:18 pm

Bill, if this should come to pass don’t expect it to make sense.

Portland Dawg

April 29th, 2010
1:20 pm

Bama only has 13 titles? I thought they were up to 34,35 by now.

Spike

April 29th, 2010
1:21 pm

Oh, I notice nobody is interested in Tech joining. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Here come the pencilnecks in 4,3,2,1,…

Nick

April 29th, 2010
1:22 pm

This is all kooky talk.
Let’s add every team in the country.
Logistically speaking I don’t think travelling to and from the states of TX, OK and to an extent south FL are viable.

Nick

April 29th, 2010
1:24 pm

First off, Bama Stan, UGA/AU, UT/UA not playing annually anymore is stupid and would cause riots. Move on. It’s a dumb suggestion.

Bobo, Bobo, a pirate's life for me

April 29th, 2010
1:26 pm

I’m not sure if it would really help guarantee the SEC a national championship team every year, or maybe even most years. I just feel like adding that many “good” teams will almost ensure that every SEC champ has 2 losses stamped on its record. With the way some of these other conference teams are scheduleing, i dont think a 2 or 3 loss SEC champ would unseed an undefeated or 1 loss other team….just my opinion.

Dawgs62

April 29th, 2010
1:29 pm

Add the teams, I think is a great ideal anything to make life harder for Fla and Al.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
1:29 pm

Spike TECH had Auburn on the schedule and we beat them with reggie Ball and then in Auburn, Miss State we beat the last 2 time we played, Beat Vandy. Ole backed out of their game with us. Tech is better than many SEC teams. My 9 Leagues 126 Div 1 teams covers it all and the crapy bowls can go away. 12 cities will get a Playoff game instead of 80 crapy cities playing a bowl game on Tuesday Afternoon.

Skyler

April 29th, 2010
1:30 pm

“And whichever team came out on top from such a conference would have a pretty good claim to being the best team in the country.”

The winner of the SEC already has an excellent case to be the best team in the country as we’ve seen for the past 4 seasons. I don’t see the trend of SEC championship teams with 1 or 0 losses playing in the MNC changing anytime soon. I understand the appeal for adding teams in order to make a quick buck, but it will only keep UGA from winning a MNC, let alone an SEC championship, for a long time. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Go Dawgs!

dawgs01

April 29th, 2010
1:31 pm

KimZ, I know that will not happen. I was going off what Bill wrote. If we did take teams it would probably be GA Tech, Clemson, FSU and maybe NC or miami. Last year did not go well with OSU but we beat the hell out them before that. We sucked last yr. nice observation. You should be on espn with all your knowledge of college football.

uuughh...

April 29th, 2010
1:31 pm

To Gordon…Since we are all dreaming anyway, why not just add another game or four.

Also…I would pay money to see Tech have to face a SEC Defense week in and week out. Their fans don’t really get it…but they would. There would be no more talk about UGA’s weak OOC schedule. Boy wouldn’t that be nice.

dawgs01

April 29th, 2010
1:34 pm

Kimz I am glad GA tech beat MSU and Vandy the worst two teams in the SEC and how many points did those teams score against. MSU would have beat yall if they would not have turned the ball over like 6 times and i think vany scored like 31 points on your “Georgia let me take off my yellow pants and jack it”

Spike

April 29th, 2010
1:37 pm

KimZ.. You are bragging about beating Auburn one time and Miss. State and Vandy. Sad, if that is all you got. You may have beat them, but you didn’t beat us!

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
1:43 pm

uuuughh UGA 2010 W La-Laf H
W USC A
should be a W Arkansas H
GT 2W’s in a row W Miss St A
W Colorado A 3-9 last yr HAHAHA TUFF game
W/L VOLS H toss up right now
W Vandy H GT beat them last yr Nuff said.
W Kentucky A will dawgs stay for the 4th Qtr?
L Gators N dawgs with a NEW gimmic?
W Idaho St H 1-10 boy I bet the Dawgs are scared
W/L Auburn A Alway a tuff call
W Ga, Tech H Dawgs don’t fear the bees do they?
Boy UUUGHH… that sounds like a TUFF Schedule for sure. Those are som real Powerhouse OCC games.

Minnesota Dawg

April 29th, 2010
1:45 pm

Too many power houses might be frustrating but you never can tell since the recruiting wars would spread out more. Miami and Florida State should definitely be consisdered seeing they are land locked by the SEC. They could go in the EAST and Texas and Texas A&M could go in the WEST.

KimZ's Package

April 29th, 2010
1:54 pm

Spike we beat Auburn 2 in a row. They can to Tech #3 with J Campbell and Cadalic. You didn’t beat Auburn that year but you did beat Tech. Don’t talk bad about vandy and Miss St when there are on your schedule with La-Laf(6-6), Colorado(3-9), and idaho St(1-10) there are 4 of the 7 wins needed for UGA to get to Shreveport.

DCJohn

April 29th, 2010
1:57 pm

One of my favorite comments ever: Va Tech Gal, “There are a ton of Virginia Tech grads working for the Federal Government.” Me, “I think I just figured out what is wrong with the Federal Government.”

I would love to play Va Tech every year in the SEC and turn them into an also ran of a school. I have seen better high school offenses than the ones when Va Tech played Maryland in a stadium that reminded me of Paulson Stadium.

Delbert D.

April 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

I can’t imagine UNC leaving the ACC. The Duke basketball rivalry means more than football.

With a 16 team conference and playing 1 team from the other half each year is essentially having two 8-team conferences with a playoff between the 2 winners. Prelude to NCAA playoff system? Four 16-team conferences = 64 teams; five = 80, 6 = 96. That is getting down to the edge of current FBS population. Schools like Nevada, Middle Tennessee State, Central Michigan would want to be in localized conferences for travel reasons, I would think. With Hawaii, it doesn’t matter – gotta fly.

How long a drive is it to Austin and College Station? How well do the most eastern SEC teams travel to Fayetteville? There are no doubt SEC fans in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston that would travel to the games in Texas.

Rock

April 29th, 2010
1:59 pm

Wow Bill, Miami and FSU would certainly be bad for UF and I thought you said it was about more money and market share for the SEC. Yet, I see you conveniently left off GT which just so happens to operate in one of the largest television and population markets in the country, isn’t that convenient.

J40

April 29th, 2010
2:03 pm

Everybody assumes Texas and these other schools would want to come to the SEC. Truth is, if the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 10 all want Texas, the Horns should go where they have the conference where they have the best chance to play for a championship every year. IMO, that would be the Big 10. It doesn’t make sense geographically, but the competition is much weaker. And the TV money (for the time being) is greater than the SEC.

Already

April 29th, 2010
2:05 pm

I am not sure why Texas a&m is mentioned over Texas Tech. Tech has a better program (currently), while A&m has shown no signs of improving. Tech has improved their facilities dramatically the past few years to keep up. Also with the addition with Tuberville and his first-class staff, it is definitely a program about to make some noise. A&m has dudes for cheerleaders anyway,

Delbert D.

April 29th, 2010
2:06 pm

Hawaii might be “legislated” into the PAC-16. USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Washington, etc. fans would be more likely to show up in numbers in Honolulu than Hawaii’s current conference opponents.

J40

April 29th, 2010
2:12 pm

@Delbert,
UCLA, Cal, Stanford, & Washington fans don’t even show up to their own home games. What makes you think they would travel across the Pacific?

Spike

April 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

KimZ.. Did you proofread that? Are you drunk? Listen big fella, rationalize all you want about Vandy, MSU, the schedules blah,blah,blah. The bottom line is this. Tech could not survive in the SEC year in and year out. Hell, UGA has beaten your arses eight out of nine times, including last year, we really were bad and you were the dreaded ACC Champs.

kaput

April 29th, 2010
2:14 pm

South Florida not ready for prime time? Tell FSU and Auburn that, USF has beat both of them.

USF is a comer.

But I would be leery of the academic standards, but then I look at Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina . . . USF is on par with them.