So here’s the deal — Texas A&M seems like a lock for the SEC. You know it’s serious when Skinny 12 commissioner Dan Beebe scolds A&M and says the league will survive without the Aggies. The question is who will join A&M.
Everyone has an opinion. I’ve heard just about every school east of the Mississippi and some west of it.
I think one thing you have to understand is that a school’s football tradition is going to mean a lot less than its TV market. One reason the SEC is looking to expand is to renegotiate its deals with ESPN and CBS. Those were groundbreaking deals at the time and then other conferences blew right past them.
What I wonder is how big Mike Slive and the SEC powers are thinking. Are they ready to go to 16 teams? Or just to 14? Or maybe to 18? The Revolution, baby.
My gut is the SEC will be bold and add four teams. I think Georgia Tech, an original member of the conference, makes sense because of the market (8th in the country) and academics. Missouri (St. Louis is 21st) would make sense as well.
From a purely TV sets standpoint, USF makes a lot of sense at No. 13. So does Miami at 16 but the SEC already has a school where nobody shows up for games. It’s called Vanderbilt.
How about UCF, No. 19 in the TV market? North Carolina State is another name I have heard and the market for Tobacco Road is 25th. Clemson is 36th.
Oklahoma makes a lot of sense to me if the Sooners are interested. Oklahoma City, just 45 minutes away and considered the market for the Sooners, is 45th in the nation.
The funny thing is that the SEC is littered with bad TV markets. That includes Gainesville at No. 102 but we know that the Gator Nation is everywhere and the SEC brand is strong enough to overcome the Starkvilles of the world.
Florida State, by the way, is a longshot. The market is No. 104 and FSU had its chance a long time ago. But you never know.
It should be interesting. And crazy.
Because alignment will change as well if all of this happens. Auburn to the East? Wow.