Let's do it big and lock up the Southeast. The SEC needs an NC and VA presence and because of the reasons I outline below, you need one more school. Take FSU, UNC, NCSU, Duke, VaTech, and UVA and move up to 20. Expansion now is about marketshare and money. The ACC had to add Louisville to get balance in the conference vs. the academics they would have preferred to get. From the academic perspective that the university presidents like to talk about, you can't go wrong with the six I select.
- UNC, NC State, and Duke are be a package deal. I don't think you can pick one or two of them. UNC and NCSU are tied together at the state governmental level. It will be hard to split UNC and NCSU. At least that is what NC State fans tell me when I talk to them about joining the SEC. UNC and Duke are tied together emotionally so take all three. UNC/Duke basketball is equal to the football rivalries of the SEC. It would move the SEC to the top in basketball and the competition of baseball in the SEC would certainly go up. The women's athletics at those schools (not usually talked about here) is top notch, too.
- With an odd number from NC, you need another school. FSU seems to be more SEC-like than ACC-like anyway and they gives the SEC more eyeballs in the 4th largest state. Florida has around 20 million people. Sorry, Gators, but the entire state is not watching you. Get more.
- UVA and VaTech would probably go together as well and garner the Richmond, Norfolk, and DC markets.
Sorry Clemson, you are more SEC-like than anyone other than FSU in the list. However, you just don't bring enough value to the table since the SEC already has a presence there. There are almost as many people in Houston as there are in all of SC.
Put them in regional pods to maintain build those rivals. Someone smarter than me can figure out the scheduling to maintain the traditional SEC rivalries like Georgia/Auburn and Tennessee/Alabama. Lots of options though.
SEC-Atlantic: Virginia Virginia Tech Duke North Carolina North Carolina State
SEC-South: South Carolina Georgia Tennessee Florida Florida State
SEC-Central: Kentucky Missouri Vanderbilt Alabama Auburn
SEC-West: Arkansas Ole Miss Mississippi State LSU Texas A&M