March 22nd, 2013 02:40 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Bernie Machen, Big Ten, North Carolina, SEC
The SEC and Big Ten appear to be playing cowboy these days. Jim Delany and Mike Slive seem to be locked in a showdown, both men with hands on their holsters just waiting for the other guy to twitch and try to draw first.
And this showdown seems to be just as tense (and slow) as the famous climactic gunfight scene from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” (Pencil Big XII commish Bob Bowlsby into the third gunman’s role.)
While Slive has been quick to say that he’s simply keeping tabs on the situation, most believe he’s secretly working the phones and using back channels to communicate with other schools who might be on the SEC’s wish list. An ACC source told The Sporting News months ago that the SEC has been chasing North Carolina and Duke for three years.
Well today, Florida president Bernie Machen has revealed that, yes, that SEC might expand again if “some ace jewel called us and said, ‘Can you help us?’” But in a conversation with CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler he added: “We haven’t had any calls like that. We haven’t made any calls.”
As we’ve stated previously, most of the folks we’ve spoken to at SEC schools say they would prefer the league finish digesting Missouri and Texas A&M before it bellies back up to the realignment buffet. For that reason, we at MrSEC.com continue to believe that the next domino to fall will have to be knocked over by the Big Ten and Delany rather than by the SEC and Slive.
Earlier this year, Ohio State president Gordon Gee let it be known that the Big Ten is still considering expanding further. We’ve been saying for several months that Virginia and Georgia Tech have been in contact with the Big Ten. It’s also been reported that North Carolina has spoken with the Big Ten at some level. Other rumors have connected Duke, Pittsburgh, Florida State and Kansas to Delany’s conference.
Fowler, in addition to speaking with Machen, also talked with outgoing Nebraska AD Tom Osborne and he, too, seems to think the Big Ten will keep adding schools:
“From the way things are going, I would assume there may be some desire to add a couple more schools. This is strictly opinion, no hard data or anything like that. Where exactly they would go, I don’t know. I’d imagine there would be some interest to the East. I think the Big Ten’s wide open to looking to other places, too.”
Stay tuned. Especially if an “ace jewel” decides to dial up the SEC office in Birmingham.
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