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In-Season Expansion Wave To Crest Today For SEC, A&M, Others?

Could today be the day when all the dominoes begin to fall?  Or will the entire expansion/realignment process slow to a screeching halt due to legal wranglings and political maneuvering?

Your guess is as good as anyone else’s at this point.  Rumors are swirling at a fast pace… almost as fast as they swirled last summer.  Of course, most of the rumors from last summer turned out to be just that — rumors.

Here’s an early morning look at what’s being said and written about Texas A&M, the SEC and all the other conferences.  Pay close attention to all of the leagues rumored to be courting specific schools.  Take note of just how many people are saying that the Big 12 can’t survive in its current form.  Then remember how the SEC and Texas A&M have been abused and afronted for (supposedly) raiding the Big 12 in the SEC’s case and destabilizing the Big 12 in A&M’s.

The stories making news:

 

1.  The Houston Chronicle believes the SEC’s recruiting footprint in Texas will grow if/when Texas A&M enters the league.

2.  According to The Fort Worth Star Telegram: “As Monday night progressed, one (Big 12) source described the situation as ‘utter chaos’ on the realignment front, with a lot of ‘wonky’ scenarios being floated as other conferences prepare to respond to A&M’s impending move to the SEC.”

3.  Over the weekend, Oklahoma State mega-booster T. Boone Pickens said he doesn’t believe the Big 12 will be in existence in five years.  ”I think this discussion (of switching conferences) is going to come up every year as long as the conference is not equal, so you have an equal deal.”  He thinks Oklahoma and OSU will head to the Pac-12.

4.  Orangebloods.com — the Rivals site covering Texas — now says you can forget about lawsuits if Oklahoma heads west.  ”It will be a free for all.”  Sources have told the site that the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-12 have all been contacting Big 12 teams.  The site claims that the ACC might be interested in landing Texas, Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers in an effort to reach 16 schools.  With ESPN owning the ACC’s media rights, it’s suggested that Texas could keep its Longhorn Network if it chose to move so far east.  Also, Orangebloods — as well as several other sites — believes that A&M and the SEC will make an announcement today or tomorrow.

5.  ACC commissioner John Swofford said last night that the ACC’s targeting of Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers was news to him.  “I need to read more to see what we’re doing,” Swofford joked.  He also said that the ACC — like all other successful leagues — believes in equal revenue sharing among its members and has since the 1980s.

6.  Larry Scott of the Pac-12 says: “Any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory, that’s just wrong.”  Yeah.  That was last summer.

7.  Bob Stoops of Oklahoma says super-conferences seem to be “the direction that the world’s going.”

8.  Texas’ Mack Brown shared his thoughts on the Longhorns’ future yesterday:  ”We were told last year we could join any league in the country we wanted to if it changed. We’ve been told we could go independent, so there’s going to be something really good for Texas at the end of this.  Our school will be OK regardless of what happens, and that’s not the case for everybody. … We’ll end up where we want to end up.”

9.  This writer says bigger isn’t necessarily better for the Big Ten.  Indeed, Jim Delany said over the weekend that his league would not react to expansion moves by other leagues.  ”Our view, really, is that it’s about quality, not quantity.”

10.  Ah, but The New York Post — a trusted paper if there ever was one — reports that the Big Ten is eyeing Maryland (and that the Big East is interested in grabbing Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri).

11.  This writer for The Kansas City Star wonders if Missouri would be a cultural fit in the SEC.  He also says no other national power “acts on its arrogance as destructively as Texas.”  (Too bad then that many in the national media are blaming A&M for the Big 12′s demise.)

12.  Ray Ratto of CBSSports.com takes it to Texas pretty hard in his latest blog post, too.

13.  Over the weekend, a Virginia Tech official once more shot down Tech-to-the-SEC talk.  ”No one’s approached us.  We haven’t approached anyone.”  And just for good measure: “When push comes to shove, when this institution sits down and talks with each other, there’d be absolutely no reason for us to go in the Southeastern Conference.  This really is a non-issue for us. It comes to the fact that it’s not about money. It’s about fit, it’s about the kind of schools that you want to be associated with. It’s about what’s right for our region, our state, our students. The president and [athletic director Jim Weaver] will tell you they are just happy as a clam to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

14.  This writer for The Chicago Tribune tosses out his views on which schools might land where should the Big One really hit this week.  (Naturally, he’s got Virginia Tech, Florida State and Missouri ticketed for the SEC.)

 

Two quick thoughts from those of us here at MrSEC.com:

 

* If Texas winds up in the Pac-12 or the ACC or the NHL’s Northeast Division, for that matter, the big winner in Expansionpalooza 2011 will be… Texas A&M.  Not only will the Aggies have gotten out of the Longhorns’ shadow and joined the premier football conference in the country, but they will be playing their games a whole lot closer to home base than Texas will.  Sure the administration in Austin would be thrilled to connect with outstanding academic institutions to the west, north or east, but from a sports perspective, the Aggies will get the last laugh.  ”Hey, Mom and Pop of Recruit X, you can watch Junior play against the best competition in the nation with at least seven league games per year played in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Or, you can let Junior head to the Pac-12 where you can catch his game with Washington State on FSN when it kicks off at 10pm Central Time.  Your call.”

* The more the entire conference landscape blows up, the better the options for the SEC.  If the Big 12 goes bye-bye, Missouri would seem to be the best leftover for Mike Slive’s consumption.  If the Tigers feel the Big Ten won’t someday knock on their door.  The trouble here is that the SEC would like to find a school that desperately wants in… a la A&M, South Carolina and Arkansas.  If Missouri enters with some amount of longing for the Big Ten, what happens if Jim Delany — or his successor — someday comes calling on Mizzou?

The best case scenario for the SEC is for the ACC to shatter.  Slive doesn’t want to be the cause of a rival league’s demise, but if the ACC were quaking to the point that North Carolina or Virginia Tech or Florida State gained interest in moving, you can bet the SEC would be waiting with open arms.  We include FSU as a potential mate because — as we’ve stated time and again — we’ve been told by solid SEC sources that there is no “gentleman’s agreement” to lock out specific teams.  The SEC’s goal is to conquer new territories, sure, but if the Seminoles were to ask for an invitation — and extending such an invitation made monetary sense for Florida — the Noles would be welcomed.  After all, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn didn’t blackball FSU when the SEC offered them a slot in the league 20 years ago.

 


19 comments
@jtfris
@jtfris

People who worry about Mizzou being a fit for the SEC are generally myopic. They prefer the old rust-belt conference but fail to realize that Mizzou is a better academic fit among SEC schools. They also fail to realize what SEC football will bring to the state of Missouri. Mizzou will always be somewhat divided because of where it sits geographically, but a couple of years of SEC football will bring an Arrowhead type atmosphere to Faurot Field.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

I'm seeing some reports now from several sites and some A&M people about an announcement of the Aggies and FSU to the sec. Not sure if Mr. Sec is hearing anything about these reports or if they're just more of the millions of internet rumors going on?

Micheal Cummings
Micheal Cummings

They are going to have a meeting tonight in Atlanta via Liucci Tweet and they will have a meeting tomorrow in College Station.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

Oh and by the way A&M, hurry up with that paper work and welcome to the SEC where everyone is equal.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

There is more than just USCe that does not want Clemson. UT, Uga, and UF have all been less than supportive of adding Clemson. UT recruits heavily from the Piedmont area of South Carolina. So does UGA. Clemson constantly fights in Georgia and Florida for recruits. Neither UF or UGA wants to give them more resources in recruiting. I could see a deal being made for FSU, but Clemson is a no go for expansion. No new TV market, harder recruiting for 4 or more SEC schools.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

HoustonVol, I agree to a point. but Clemson has been going up against the SEC for recruits for years. Clemson and the Vols went head to head over Mr. Poole from Toccoa. Bad move on Georgia's part by the way to let such a good individual get away.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

viciousdawg...

I think I've answered this before. Clemson is probably the best cultural fit with the SEC... but it brings nothing to the table from a business perspective. The SEC already claims South Caroilna's tv markets, Clemson isn't a national brand that will grab national viewers (like a Florida State would be), and Clemson brings no new recruiting ground. If the SEC grabs Clemson, it'll be part of a 4-team expansion.

West Virginia would be another good cultural fit. But WV is a tiny state with small tv markets. There's no recruiting benefit to adding that either. And if WVU joined the SEC, it would immediately become the league's lowest-ranked academic school. And presidents are looking at those types of things.

That's why Clemson and West Virginia appear to be fall-back choices. The SEC most likely wants Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. But Florida State -- if it came calling -- would likely be welcomed, too (as a mega-brand in college sports).

John

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

John I understand your comments. But let me just say this. Oklahoma comes with baggage "osu" North Carolina is a non starter in that there is no way one of the 4 North Carolina schools would ever leave the ACC. And as far as VT, do we really want VT? why would we want a school who could easily be named the Virginia Thugs.With the problems "some" of their ex players have had does the SEC really want those kind of problems. I just can't see Beamer Ball in the SEC. Mind you, I'm in no way trying to start any kind of argument, just throwing stuff out there for comment sake.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

viciousdawg...

I'm telling you what the SEC is looking for. It's what all league are looking for -- more money. You get more money by expanding in specific ways. May not be what you want. Or what I want. But facts are facts.

Thanks for reading,
John

MIZ_SEC
MIZ_SEC

In addition, what of the supposedly great friendship between Mike Slive and ACC President John Swofford? If they truly are great friends, it is hard to see Slive actively attempting to steal schools from the ACC, which would endanger the conference and Swofford's job (not to mention potential lawsuits from the ACC).

To me, Va Tech seems like a potential option for #15 or #16 in the SEC in a few years, but not now.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

Thanks John for a fine Article. But I have a serious question. Why wouldn't the SEC look at WVU and or Clemson? Clemson while some think that USCe would try to block them, would be a natural fit into the SEC. Not only does Clemson have a great athletic department, hope I don't get thrown out of the bulldogsRus club for saying that, but the University also has some great academics that would fit into SEC sharing program. I really couldnt see USCe trying to block them without a lot of fallout in the state legislature. Secondly, WVU would also be a good fit. Has anyone noticed the fanatics in WVU over their schools sports program. Somehow the burning couch's of WVU would fit right in with the cowbells of MSU and the toilet papers of Auburn.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Sitting down here in Texas and knowing many Aggies, The Aggies are all waiting for the SEC/TAMU marriage to happen. Very few alumni and fans are counting their chickens yet because the eggs have not hatched yet. However very few Texas fans are excited about Texas joining the PAC. I could very well see the PAC take OU/OSU/ TxTech and UH(insert school B here) leaving Texas on it's own to build their own conference. The NE Section of the Big East (Pitt, WVU, Uconn, Syr, Rutgers) will be picked apart by the B10, SEC, and ACC. This would leave the most eastern schools in the Big East as Cincy and Louisville. I personally think the SEC takes Mizzou, slots them in the east and stops at 14 schools. This would leave L'Ville, Cincy, TCU, Iowa St. Kansas, KState, Texas, Tx Tech and Baylor as a foundation for a conference. With the Big East dead, ND will look for a conference for their olympic sports. BYU will not want to move their olympic sports out of the WCC, where they are a good cultural fit. So BYU joins football only, ND joins non-football. The schedules are balanced. OU and OSU are in the PAC. Texas will keep the now OOC games with OU and TAMU because the weakness of the new football conference means that they will need strong OOC games to balance the weak in conference schedule. To balance out the conference, The new B12 might take USF since they are a member of the Big East, and grab UCF as a travel partner and TV market. So the new B12 ends up being. Texas, Tx Tech, L'ville, Iowa St. Kansas, Kstate, Baylor, UCF, USF, Cincy, BYU/ND, Memphis/UH (take your pick, they both have +/-)

MIZ_SEC
MIZ_SEC

I wouldn't read too much into random articles about Mizzou not being interested enough in the SEC. You have to keep in mind that due to the state of Missouri's location, we are naturally torn between feeling like a Midwestern school (Big Ten), Southern school (SEC), and potentially a Western school (PAC-12/16) if OU and OSU head that direction. Also, the flirting between the Big Ten and Mizzou has been going on for decades, while the SEC talk is only a couple weeks old. If the SEC is serious about expanding to new regions, schools under consideration will not be 100% in agreement of ANY move unless they are just desperate.

Some Mizzou fans feel more Midwestern; some Va Tech and Maryland fans feel more Eastern; West Virginia fans would probably marry off their first-born daughter for an SEC invite - that should probably tell you how valuable their addition would be. The SEC should focus on adding schools that are a great fit AND are carry some value, not just ones that have no better options.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

MIZ_SEC...

We link you to stories. Then we comment on those stories. Nowhere do we suggest these stories are handed down by Moses at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Having said that, PLENTY of people at the University of Missouri believe the Tigers would MUCH rather grab a Big Ten invitation than an SEC invitation. That makes sense. The Big Ten is much stronger academically.

Texas A&M, South Caroilna and Arkansas were all solid in their desire to move to the SEC. Missouri -- according to those close to the program -- is not. It's torn.

Like that, don't like that. It's the view of the majority close to Mizzou.

John

MIZ_SEC
MIZ_SEC

John, I understand that, and I was commenting on the story you linked. I just wanted to provide a better backstory of Mizzou's situation for your readers. If you just want blind loyalty and worship of the SEC, you could add Sewanee or Louisiana Tech and call it a day. Missouri is unique though in that it is on the outskirts of the traditional south, so naturally the fanbase is split a bit on which direction it wants to head. But after a year in the SEC, everyone would completely buy in.

jbmcgregor
jbmcgregor

Along with much of Aggieland, I look forward to TAMU joining the SEC - hopefully for real this time around - although my wife is a t-sip and I will miss the in-house rivalry should A&M and Texas part ways.

Sewanee would be a great addition to the conference, and provide a perfect complement paired with TAMU - Sewanee a small liberal arts college and TAMU a research behemoth. Both schools are deeply rooted traditionalists with lots of kooky (and not so kooky) traditions. Sewanee was a charter member of the SEC and you can't get much more Southern than the Univeristy of the South. As a Division III bottom-feeder, they would provide a nice respite on the otherwise brutal SEC schedule. And while Sewanee's not a big research institution, they would certainly raise the academic profile of the conference. Most importantly, my daughter attends Sewanee and we could replace the A&M-Texas game with "Thanksgiving on the Mountain". Of course, I may be counting my chickens...

Farmers Fight...Yea, Sewanee's Right

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

MIZ_SEC...

I think -- given what's happening in the Big 12 right now -- most conferences will be looking for blind loyalty from the administrations of any schools they bring in.

That said, read our "Expounding on Expansion" series from a year ago and you'll find that we were mentioning Missouri as a solid SEC candidate a full year before anyone else. We received more "that's nonsense, they're midwestern" emails on the subject than we could count.

We think Missouri would be a good fit with the SEC. But if they're more interested in a Big Ten slot, Mike Slive and the SEC presidents should take that into consideration.

John

Micheal Cummings
Micheal Cummings

John,

I been checking out alot of Mizzou website and its looks like that many reports has been saying that B1G told Mizzou that they will be the second-tier school and AD/President told them to stick it. I think that even know they might be torn but it was the same last year with TAMU. Even know that there was alot of people that want to go to SEC, there was still a few that want to stay(not like this year) in Big XII. I think that Mizzou would be a sleeping giant in the SEC.

Bob Magee
Bob Magee

Mr. SEC,

Thank you from this Texas A&M family for helping set the record straight on what a tumultuous 2 years for college football. The brighter the light shines on Austin, I believe the real motives and hand that was players by Dodds/Powers become more evident to the fans and power brokers in college football. Maybe being in the "limelight" is not what it used to be for Texas.

Enough of that though, in an optimistic act, I have already bookmarked your site as my source for all things SEC.

Thanks again.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Are we on the verge of the conference realignment free-for-all that we thought was going to happen last summer?  Texas A&M’s insistence on leaving the Big 12 presumably for the greener pastures of the SEC to the east, has the rest of the league running for cover.  Reports over the weekend suggested that once again Texas and Oklahoma are in backroom discussions with the Pac-12 to join the burgeoning west coast league, and like great white sharks in the Pacific, the other four major conferences are circling the remaining schools in hopes of divvying up the rest.  Conventional wisdom is that if Oklahoma bails on the Big 12, the league is effectively finished, but it is the school in Austin who holds the trump card.  One of the sticking points is what the Pac-12 would require UT to do with its Longhorn Sports Network — would it become one of the Pac-12′s new regional networks instead of a ‘national’ channel?  Or will Texas leverage its channel into another sweetheart deal, as suggested as possible on Monday when rumors of an ACC overture to the Longhorns were revealed?  ACC commissioner John Swofford denied that report Monday night, but the possibility of a 16-team basketball league containing Duke, UNC, Maryland, Texas, Syracuse and UConn seems absolutely ridiculous.  In a good way.  The one thing we know from conference realignment madness is that nothing should surprise anyone.  More news on this topic as it merits coverage, but for a comprehensive breakdown of the facts and rumors swirling right now, check out MrSEC’s wrapup from Monday. [...]

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