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Monday’s SEC Expansion Odds And Ends

As fans and media wait for the inevitable announcement that Texas A&M will be joining the SEC, a number of southern writers have been talking about expansion the past couple of days.  Here are six pieces we thought you might find interesting:

1.  Since last May we’ve been trying to explain that expansion has more to do with business, revenue, television markets and geographic footprints than it does with football success and easy driving distances.  Still, many people refuse to accept those facts.  They still wonder, “Why Texas A&M?”

Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News once more attempts to explain just what A&M offers the SEC and why the league wants to make College Station its foothold in Texas.  If you still haven’t grasped the motivations behind all conferences’ expansion plans, you likely never will.  But we suggest you read the above piece as one last attempt to figure out what’s up in the SEC and why.

2.  Tim Griffin of The Houston Chronicle looks at the likely A&M-SEC pairing from an Aggie point of view.  Laughably, he takes time to discuss whether or not leaving Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech would cripple the Aggies.

First, Arkansas left all those schools and more 20 years ago and the Hogs since then have made millions of dollars, won the SEC West a couple of times, made millions of dollars, reached a BCS bowl, and made millions of dollars.  We think A&M could survive.

Plus, if the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry can be halted, Baylor-Texas A&M can be nixed rather easily.

3.  Brent Zwerneman of The Houston Chronicle says that, legally speaking, A&M’s move to the SEC is in the fine print stage at this point.  That’s why the process has slowed down since last Monday’s announcement that A&M had empowered it’s president to start looking at realignment options.

Zwerneman also states that everything is a go from A&M to make its move… “no matter the vocal protests of Baylor” or possible Big 12 exit fees.

4.  The Aggies likely departure will leave the Big 12 looking for a replacement and Arkansas is starting to get mentioned as a possible target once again.  No, really.

Some think it’s possible that Arkansas might leave the SEC — and its riches and stability — for a league that’s University of Texas-centric and wobbling.  The people making such claims also ignore the fact that A&M’s move to the SEC will give the Razorbacks their first true rival in 20 years.

Arkansas to the Big 12?  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

5.  In case you missed it over the weekend, Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel penned an excellent column showing why A&M should be more than able to hold its own in the SEC in any number of sports.  Go on, snickerers, give it a read.  The Aggie program is better than you think.

Many SEC fans, jilted Big 12′ers, and national media types continue to say that Texas A&M football will be all but crushed if it enters the mighty SEC.  But as we’ve noted on several occasions, teams rise and fall all the time in Mike Slive’s conference.  Doubt us?  Go check the SEC standings prior to Nick Saban’s arrival at, first, LSU and, then, at Alabama.  Check Florida’s record under Ron Zook.  Compare Tennessee in the 1990s to Tennessee in the 2000s.  Now look at the recent rise of Arkansas and South Carolina.  Ole Miss and Mississippi State have combined to play in three straight January bowls.  There’s room for upward mobility in the SEC.

The Aggies are projected to be a Top 10 program this year.  Historically, they rank in the Top 20 when it comes to the AP’s all-time football poll.  In other words, they’re likely to enter the SEC with a stronger football team than did Arkansas in 1992.  And they have a much stronger overall football program than South Carolina did when it entered the SEC.

We at MrSEC.com don’t expect A&M to enter the SEC and reach Atlanta in Year One, but we also know that the school ranks among the top programs in the country dating back to the 1930s.  The Aggies shouldn’t be underestimated.

6.  Finally, some folks just don’t seem to realize that the powers-that-be in the SEC do not want to be the first football-first league to hit the 16-school mark.

The SEC wasn’t looking to expand, A&M was looking to escape the Big 12.  Knowing what A&M brings to the table, that sped up the SEC’s expansion clock.  At most — according to our sources in Birmingham — the league will find a 14th member to pair with A&M and then it will wait to see what unfolds elsewhere as a result.

Still, folks like Jerome Boettcher of The Nashville City Paper are talking about a 16-team superconference.  He discussed that possibility with Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor of athletics David Williams.  Judging by Williams’ answer, do you think the SEC is hurriedly rushing to reach to 16 teams?

“Growth for growth’s sake is not always the best thing.  What is the advantage of 16 teams?  Do you now have four conferences of 16 and you got 64 teams and it is those 64 that boo-boo all the rest of the colleges?  I would hate to see that.  No, that is not something I would look forward to.”

Now, will it eventually come to that?  Probably.  But that doesn’t mean Slive and other SEC administrators like Williams want to be the ones to usher in such a day.

The SEC may well announce tomorrow that it’s expanding to 18 or 20 teams — anything’s possible — but we would be shocked if Slive and the SEC’s presidents go further than 14 in this round of expansion.

 


17 comments
ShaneinMO
ShaneinMO

Now KC is a little different. You hear about MU and the Kansas schools. Again go to any sports section on a KC media site and see the difference, its pretty even between all the schools. However, should MU join the SEC, that would change pretty dang quick. The interest level would increase, and one could bet the SEC would encourage and even help flood the KC market with those SEC dollars promoting MU. BIG10 would take a huge hit, and I think that is why SEC is looking this direction. They can get a foot-hold right between a bunch of BIG10 states and markets, expanding the conference brand which from a business perspective has to be huge.

I truly believe Pinkel has his best days at MU ahead of him. This years recruiting class is looking really solid and with the talent MU has been sending to the NFL, I think people are underestimating the program or just maybe not paying close attention. MU has been a top 25 team for 4 years now, something not a lot of programs can say.

Oh and if us MU diehard find out we had a chance to go SEC but held out for BIG10, we will riot!

ShaneinMO
ShaneinMO

As a lifelong Mizzou fan, I gotta chime in here.

I found this article after googling 'Mizzou SEC'. Im surprised by some of the comments, but not at all surprised some are against SEC grabbing Mizzou.

First and foremost, Mizzou is STL. There is no Big10 presence what-so-ever in the STL market. I live here, our local news had Fall camp coverage of Mizzou football including interviews and scrimmage highlights, not a single mention of any other program during any of this. Go to any local STL news website and look at the sports stories or even stream some local sports talk radio, you will find Mizzou absolutely dominates the STL market and it isnt even close. Just do a little homework and see for yourself.

cont.

jtfris
jtfris

As a long time Mizzou fan I think I speak for the majority of Mizzou fans by saying that first and foremost we want to go to a conference where all teams have an equal vote. The Big 12 (-3) is not that conference. The Missouri Administration however probably likes the B10 (+2) and their CIC. Look for a small booster revolt if Mizzou backs away from the SEC.

Mizzou gains a lot from going to the SEC. The SEC gains market footholds in B10 and B12 markets. If that is enough to get an SEC invite Mizzou better be all in.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

If I had my guess I would say that the SEC presidents' top target for the 14th team right now would be Mizzou. They might be more interested in a school like UNC, but I don't think that is realistic.

Mizzou is an AAU school which these guys most certainly want, they bring in new markets that although they aren't devoted to college sports right now still have the potential for growth in that area, and they bring competitive sports teams in multiple sports.

I think Mizzou may gain more ground in recruiting from being in the SEC than the SEC gains by having a foothold in Missouri, but it's still better than bringing in someone from the current footprint. And besides, the recruiting opportunities presented by getting into Texas more than make up for that so I don't think that should be a great concern. And really, that is only when it comes to football. I'm sure there are more recruiting opportunities for the other sports by gaining access to large metro areas like St Louis and KC.

B Roberts
B Roberts

does the SEC risk leaving A&M all packed up with no where to go if 14 can't be found? Right now, it appears that WV is the girl at the end of the bar that the SEC knows will say yes, if asked. I get the feeling Mizzou is holding out for an eventual Big 10 bid (or learned from last summer and is playing the thing incredibly cool). VT is clearly the prime choice, but there hasn't been a peep out of Blacksburg. I know John has covered it (in multiple posts) but I still have a hard time believing the SEC and ESPN prefer the mountaineers to FSU. I know it is a new market, but FSU stills brings more to the table IMO.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Mizzou would prefer to join the B10 instead of the SEC. However does the B10 want them? What if that anti-expansion message by the B10 was a public NO to Mizzou. It could also be a grandstanding statement like the SEC issued two weeks ago so that it sets everything up as Mizzou is seeking the B10 and not the other way around. The only catch is the B10's message had a little bit more of a no we are not expanding message to it than the SEC's message of we are not expanding unless there is an independent team worthy of an invitation. Remember Mizzou does not bring any real new TV markets to the B10. St. Louis already has a bunch of B10 alumni living there. Mizzou to the B10 would be like Memphis to the SEC. However Mizzou does bring lots of new TV, recruits, etc. to the SEC. The biggest worth of adding Mizzou now to the B10 is to keep the SEC from adding them and gaining a foothold into B10 markets and recruits.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I think you are exactly right.

I don't know what the Mizzou officials are thinking and talking about behind closed doors, but I have to think they feel jilted after last year's fiasco. They probably aren't willing to make themselves seems so available again from a publicity standpoint right now. I don't understand though if Mizzou is waiting for a call from the Big 10 that probably isn't coming anytime soon. If the Big 10 expanded then they might go after Mizzou in that scenario, but I think Delaney like Mike Slive is not going to be the first to go to 16. I think Delaney wants into more Northeastern markets and I think he might be willing to destabilize the Big East in order to encourage Notre Dame, the school they really want, to jump ship. That means grabbing teams like Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse, or maybe all three. Even then, he may wait until other conferences have already torn apart the Big 12 before he makes that move.

If Mizzou is willing to wait on the Big 10 after being rejected last year then I have to say that that is like the pathetic nerd who keeps crawling on his hands and knees up to the door of the Prom Queen to ask for a date.

K Mills
K Mills

So, anyone that mistakes Aggie Jokes for the real TAM better beware. When it comes to things that make for a real good University, TAM is light years ahead of all the SEC schools except one or two.
With that having been said, I hope TAM leaves soon and just gets the hell out of my life. I am sick of their jealouy, their loud whining and complaining. Everyone in the B12 will be just fine without them. There are several schools that would be good additions to the B12 and will thrive if given the added revenue and exposure. TAM, we won't miss you!

K Mills
K Mills

Missouri made a fool out of themselves last year, and TAM this year. I most defiitely am not a TAM fan...I have been to their stadium more than once and have witnessed some of the worst cases of poor sportsmanships possible...Not joking, it is dangerous for the opposing team fans at College Station...so beware. But, on the other side...TAM is not some backwater school like Mississippi or Mississipi State, KY, etc...TAM is a very large, rich school with high academic tandards, tradition, a large endowment, large alumni base and sits right in the middle of the most fertile football recruiting area in the country. If TAM could get their ducks lined up, they not only have the deep pockets and ability to be a dominating factor in the SEC, but they can dominate in other sports too.

@schmak01
@schmak01

Must be a tceh (spelled correctly according to the cheerleaders there) fan trying to re-write history thinking that knowing football, and recognizing great plays by both teams as well as being polite as poor sportsmanship, but soaking tortillas in red kool-aid and throwing them with batteries and benches (yes benches) with the possibility of a goal post here and there is good sportsmanship.

UofA72
UofA72

No fans are as dangerous as UT. My daughter and son in law were in Austin a few years ago when they played Arkansas. People were throwing beer bottles at a group of Arkansas fans in the parking lot. Also, when they were eating in a restaurant, UT fans were throwing ice at them because they were wearing Arkansas gear.

Jorts
Jorts

sorry, but no one believes that A&M isn't a fantastic place to play. Their fans are the best in the business, much like Nebraska and Clemson fans. Keep saying it though.

ViciousDawg
ViciousDawg

While mizzou would have a natural rivalry with arkie I think they want to join the big10+2

K Mills
K Mills

Please encourage MIssouri to leave and not let the door hit their butts on the way out. Missouri adds very little to any conference...that's like trading a nickel for 5 pennies...what's the use?

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

TAMU is such a slam dunk that they might do TAMU first, and then see what the options are. Mizzou might be sitting quite until after TAMU announces so then they can announce as a reaction to the B12 losing yet another team. Remember as long as Texas and OU are willing to maintain the B12, the B12 will survive. I personally think that Mizzou will be the 14th team. For balance and scheduling ease, the SEC will slot them in the east. Mizzou will get a cross division set rival in Arkansas, and TAMU will play USC each year instead of Arkansas. If/When the SEC goes to 16 teams, the teams will be from the East. Since the schools that are the most valuable are not in play at this time (UNC, Duke, VT, FSU, Pitt, WVU, Rutgers, L'ville) and may never be, then the SEC waits to move east until either the BE or ACC falls apart under pressure. Then the SEC can scoop up the two best schools to balance the conference and add new TV markets.

paulovol0
paulovol0

From this SEC fan's perspective hopefully number 14 will be Va Tech. But from following this site's updates, it appears Missouri is the most likely to join.

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