not convinced the SEC will expand...yet. As I pointed out, this could be a move by TAMU to get Texas and the Big 12 a bit closer to even. Not saying it will work, but it could be going down like this. Also, the SEC won't likely move without a very good idea about who will balance the conference, and a better idea if it'll be 14 or 16 now. And when 16 will happen.
The last time Mike Slive did something that wasn't planned to the barest detail, he was born a day early, although he did that on purpose. As PWD put it to me, the conference presidents are strategic people. They won't just jump on Texas A&M just because they can. There are only three programs out there that I see as legit Napoleon Battle Plan types (show up and see what happens, making it worth moving to 13 schools without a 14th): Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma.
So, we've all debated the merits of pursuing Texas, TAMU, Oklahoma, and Okie State. Notre Dame ain't coming. What if Slive and the Presidents are looking East?
If TAMU wants to come, great. I don't think Slive will ask until the SEC has a very good idea who the 14 (and possibly 15 and 16 will be). Slive knows the first dude in line has to load up the plate or some of the tastier morsels will be gone from the buffet. The SEC can't/won't chance just getting TAMU and hoping to add a solid 14th, then get stuck with A) some random school that doesn't fit strategically, or B) Slive being forced to jam an in-state competitor school down a current member's throat. Before you get all "adding FSU hurts Florida, which is good for Georgia," remember FSU hurts Georgia in recruiting plenty. Same goes for Clemson.
So that leaves us with Virginia Tech, right? Not a bad pick: strong academics, to satisfy those that would worry about such things; good athletics, to help with the product that brings the money in. Strong DC area alumni base, getting the conference some access there (although DC is not a college football town; I'd equate it with Philadelphia in that it is much more a pro-football, college basketball town). There is the pesky issue of UVa, as the Virginia Legislature might block a move without knowing what would happen to UVa's interests, but that isn't insurmountable like it would be in a state that cares a lot more about things such as that.
But what if the SEC decides it is time to go to 16 schools, and to do it now? How do they go about that? I have a couple of ideas that I'll post about later today.
What are your thoughts: Will the conference just get 13 and see what happens? 14 or 16? What schools can they target/will they target?
For Further Reading:
- The Search for Number 14 - Team Speed Kills