Nice website detailing why Mizzou is a great SEC fit and potential divisional realignment.
Multiple sources reported late Tuesday night that the SEC’s presidents and chancellors have voted to bring Texas A&M into the conference.
MrSEC.com has learned through a very solid SEC source that A&M officials are planning to hold a press conference tomorrow in College Station. (It’s since been reported that A&M is blocking off an area near Kyle Field in preparation for an influx of media. If the Aggies instead play disc golf in the parking lot, many of us will be embarrassed.) It’s quite unlikely that the Aggies would hold a presser to deliver bad news, so while we’ve not been able to nail down the vote tally from yesterday’s SEC get-together for ourselves, it does appear to be a safe bet that today will be D-Day for the SEC’s Texas invasion.
If such a move is announced as we expect, the SEC’s vote will almost certainly be revealed to have been unanimous. This spring, not all of the league’s presidents were onboard with the conference’s soft cap on football signees… but once it was clear that the measure would pass, Mike Slive asked for a re-vote so said measure would pass unanimously. Expect the same regarding expansion, whether the vote was really unanimous or not.
Here’s what’s being reported across the country early on this Wednesday morning:
1. AggieYell.com — the Rivals site covering Texas A&M — reports that the SEC’s vote was “either 12-0 or 11-0 with Vanderbilt abstaining.” The site also claims that Mike Slive now has “authorization” to talk to Missouri and West Virginia about joining the SEC as School #14.
2. Tony Barnhart of CBSSports.com tweeted the following last night:
“Not a done deal yet but announcement on Texas A&M to SEC could come Wednesday. Then the real fun begins.”
3. The Houston Chronicle reports that “Texas A&M plans to hold a news conference at the Zone Club at Kyle Field today to announce its entrance into the Southeastern Conference.”
4. Orangebloods.com — the Rivals site covering Texas — reports that once A&M’s move to the SEC is made official, all eyes will turn to Oklahoma.
5. Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops says the Red River Shootout could end if super-conferences emerge:
“I don’t think it’s necessary to keep the OU-Texas game if we do move out of a conference with Texas. I know no one wants to hear that, but things change. I love the game, but if it doesn’t work out, we will find other places to play and get excited about. All of a sudden we weren’t playing Nebraska anymore, but we are still here. Life goes on.”
6. Andy Katz of ESPN.com reports that a Pac-12 source disagreed with Stoops’ assertion that 16-team superconferences are probably inevitable.
“Why is 16 inevitable? If we’re going to 16 there better be enough money. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk at all that we’re going to add more.”
7. The folks at CollegeFootballTalk.com report that Kansas’ chancellor said yesterday that “it’s obviously disappointing that (the Big 12) has come to this point.”
8. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram calls Missouri “the X factor” in expansion. The Big East is reportedly interested, but so is the SEC. Still, rumors persist in Columbia that Mizzou is more interested in gaining a Big Ten invite.
9. This writer for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes:
“… the Big East could be a better competitive and cultural fit (for Missouri) than the Southeastern Conference.”
10. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com tweeted yesterday that West Virginia and Missouri are the top choices for the SEC.
11. David Ubben of ESPN.com reports that Baylor is desperately trying to get fans to push a “Don’t Mess with Texas football” message to the administrators at Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. (Folks at Rice, TCU, SMU and Houston have to enjoy watching Baylor’s struggle considering the Bears had no problem walking away from those four schools to join the Big 12.)
Assuming Texas A&M and the SEC announce their partnership tomorrow, several questions will still be on the table:
1. Conference commissioners have spent the past week staring at one another — each with a hand on his six-shooter — “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” style. It appears as though the SEC feels safe enough from a legal perspective that it’s no longer frightened of a potential Big 12 lawsuit claiming tortious interference. So Slive will be the first man to draw. But will anyone draw second?
For all the talk of the Big 12 splintering, we heard the same reports of doom right up until the league’s last second reprieve last summer, too. And the Big 12 could still simply add one team and keep much of its television cash rolling in. While Midwest presidents might like the idea of partnering their schools with the academic behemoths of the Pac-12, at some point they’ll have to realize that their sports fans will need to travel from Norman to Palo Alto and from Stillwater to Pullman. That’s not to say it won’t happen. TCU just moved to the Big East. But TCU didn’t have a choice if it wanted to gain a shot at an automatic BCS bid. The schools in the Big 12 have options. Lots of them. And one is to somehow save their league again.
2. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State showing no interest and with North Carolina/Duke and Virginia/Virginia Tech likely married to one another as well as to the currently-stable ACC, SEC talk is focusing on Missouri and West Virginia. Adding Missouri would bring in bigger television markets and a large population base. West Virginia would bring solid athletics and a fanbase that cares about nothing like it does WVU… which fits the SEC’s profile. Adding either would also leave the door open for future expansion to the east if the ACC does begin to show cracks.
But who’s to say the SEC might not invite both and then stop at 15 schools? Three divisions of five teams each. The two best teams in the BCS rankings meet in Atlanta for the league title. It’s possible. If SEC accountants crunch the numbers and find that the league’s school would make more cash with 15 schools than with 16, you better believe Slive’s group would consider it.
Each team could play its four division opponents plus one permanent and one rotating foe from the other divisions as part of an eight-game league schedule. In basketball, each team could face its divisional foes twice and all other schools once to form an 18-game in-conference schedule.
Oh, sure it’s doubtful, but 20 years ago there were no 12-team leagues or conference title games. Fifteen years ago there was no overtime in college football. And 10 years ago no one was seriously talking about super-conferences. In other words, even something as odd as that lay out above… is possible.
3. There’s been more and more talk of 20-school conferences in recent weeks. Ex-Texas A&M and Alabama coach Gene Stallings said that he expects 20-team leagues to become reality. Former WAC commisioner Karl Benson — whose league once went to 16 schools — has said he thinks 20-team leagues might be the best way to go. If that’s the case, how long will it be before people begin to realize that we’ve all done a lot of handwringing in order to wind up right back where we started?
Here’s what we mean by that: If four 20-school conferences are formed, each would likely be divided into 10-team divisions. The schools would probably face one another in round-robin fashion (nine-game conference schedules) and the winners of each division would face off in a league championship game.
Go back 25 years, before the Big Ten and SEC expanded, and the world consisted mostly of nine- and 10-team leagues. In a 20-team conference world, the 10-team divisions would likely come pretty close geographically to those old 10-team conferences. The only difference? All the money would be going into four leagues’ bank accounts rather than eight.
We’ll have much more on expansion all day long.