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A Conference-By-Conference Comparison Of TV Markets

Everyone knows and admits that television dollars are driving the current college football expansion push.  As we noted a couple of weeks ago, conference realignment isn’t evil, it’s evolution.  And we seem to finally be arriving at the final stage of a move that began way back in 1984.

Below are the top 50 television markets in the US as ranked by Nielsen for 2010-11.  Beside each city we’ve listed the conference or conferences that will attempt to claim that market.

For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that Texas A&M joins the SEC… Syracuse, Pittsburgh and UConn join the ACC… and Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State join the Pac-12:

Market Rank 1-25 Market League(s) Market Rank 26-50 Market League(s)
1 New York ACC 26 Baltimore ACC
2 Los Angeles Pac-12 27 Indianapolis Big Ten
3 Chicago Big Ten 28 San Diego Pac-12
4 Philadephia Big Ten/ACC 29 Nashville SEC
5 Dallas-Ft. Worth Pac-12/SEC 30 Hartford-New Haven ACC
6 San Francisco-Oakland Pac-12 31 Kansas City unclaimed
7 Boston ACC 32 Salt Lake City Pac-12
8 Atlanta SEC/ACC 33 Cincinnati Big Ten
9 Washington, DC ACC 34 Columbus Big Ten
10 Houston Pac-12/SEC 35 Milwaukee Big Ten
11 Detroit Big Ten 36 Greenville-Spartanburgh SEC/ACC
12 Phoenix Pac-12 37 San Antonio Pac-12/SEC
13 Seattle-Tacoma Pac-12 38 West Palm Beach ACC/SEC
14 Tampa-St. Petersburgh ACC/SEC 39 Harrisburg-Lancaster Big Ten/ACC
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul Big Ten 40 Birmingham SEC
16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale ACC/SEC 41 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo Big Ten
17 Denver Pac-12 42 Las Vegas Pac-12
18 Cleveland-Akron Big Ten 43 Norfolk-Portsmouth ACC
19 Orlando-Daytona ACC/SEC 44 Austin Pac-12/SEC
20 Sacramento-Stockton Pac-12 45 Oklahoma City Pac-12
21 St. Louis unclaimed 46 Albuquerque Pac-12
22 Portland Pac-12 47 Greensboro-High Point ACC
23 Charlotte ACC 48 Memphis SEC
24 Pittsburgh ACC 49 Jacksonville SEC/ACC
25 Raleigh-Durham ACC 50 Louisville SEC

Again, we’re making some assumptions here:

A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and UConn have been assigned landing spots.

Missouri, for example, has not and that’s why Kansas City and St. Louis appear to be “unclaimed” on our list.

We’ve also given some “benefit of the doubt” to a few leagues.  For example, Austin is clearly a Texas-first market, but A&M’s huge alumni base certainly has some tentacles in the state capital.  So we’ll give the SEC a piece of the Austin market as we believe the SEC will certainly try to make that pitch to network executives.

Here’s how things break down with regard to whole TV markets owned versus TV markets split between conferences:

Conference Wholly-Owned Top 50 TV Markets Partially-Owned Top 50 TV Markets
ACC 10 9
Big Ten 9 2
Pac-12 12 4
SEC 4 11

We know that Market X could go this way or that way depending on your point of view, but we’re trying to provide a big picture look here.  So shift a market one way or the other if you like.  The bottom line is this: When it comes to television markets, the SEC is an underdog.  Only four Top 50 markets appear to be SEC-only and a couple of those — Memphis, Louisville — aren’t strongly SEC.

Make no mistake, if the SEC can convince Missouri to come onboard, it would be a very smart business decision.  West Virginia would at least allow the SEC to stake a partial claim into the Pittsburgh market as well.

But if the future will be driven by television revenue, the SEC needs to expand outward.  It needed to raid the ACC and expand into Virginia or North Carolina.  It didn’t.  (At least it hasn’t yet.)  So now the SEC is forced to play catch-up with those schools left behind by others.

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Oklahoma, Texas And Texas Tech Waive Rights To Sue The SEC; Mizzou’s Still The Most Interesting Case

Yesterday it was reported that Oklahoma had waived its right to sue Texas A&M and the SEC — as requested by the SEC.  Today,’s Andy Katz and Joe Schad report that Texas has also said that it has waived its right to sue.

In addition, Texas Tech has apparently waived its right, too.  A Red Raider spokesperson said: “Texas Tech is not involved in any legal action against Texas A&M, the SEC or any other parties.  Texas Tech has no intentions whatsoever of being involved in any future lawsuits against Texas A&M, the SEC or SEC commissioner Mike Slive.”

In other words, most of the schools coveted by other leagues — namely the Pac-12 — aren’t in on the whole threatened lawsuit thing because they don’t want to find themselves staring down the barrel of a comparable lawsuit down the road.

Oklahoma State is the only school rumored to be a possible Pac-12 addition that hasn’t waived its right to litigate.  Mega-booster T. Boone Pickens has stated that he believes the Big 12 will be dead in five years, but he’s also said that he prefer it stay alive.  At OSU, Pickens has a large influence on what goes on… and his desire to save the Big 12 might explain why OSU isn’t waiving its rights a la OU, UT and TTU.

Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri are the remaining schools that have not waived their rights.  Mizzou’s case is the most interesting.

Chancellor Brady Deaton has to look out for UM’s best interests, obviously.  Earlier this week he pretty much admitted that everyone in the Big 12 — including Missouri — has been talking to other schools and other conferences about possible realignment.

At the same time, Deaton is the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors.  So while looking out for Mizzou’s long-term security, he must also appear to be pro-Big 12.  That would be your Grade A conflict of interest, folks.

But by not waiving his schools right to sue the SEC, Deaton may be hurting his school’s chances of landing in that very league.  As we pointed out in our lengthy “Expounding on Expansion” series last summer, Missouri is a better fit with the SEC than most think.  It’s home state borders three current SEC states.  It brings in two major television markets.  It has a sizable population, good sports, good academics and it expands the SEC’s footprint.  Win, win, win, win, win and win.

But there are some (many, in fact) connected to the University of Missouri who believe the Tigers still dream of someday landing in the more Midwestern, more academically-respected Big Ten.

While no one knows what conversations are being had between Mizzou and SEC representatives behind closed doors — and we mean no one — if Deaton wants to save the Big 12, avoid the SEC and wait for a Big Ten bid down the road… refusing to waive his school’s right to sue the SEC is certainly a good way of going about it.

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Thursday Morning SEC/A&M Expansion Update – The “Thanks For Dragging This Out, Baylor” Edition

Expansion is good for web traffic.  There’s zero question about that.

But expansion coverage also requires constant attention.  Not unlike a chihuahua.  And I don’t like chihuahuas.

So many thanks to the folks at Baylor for waiting til the last minute to toss a new glitch into everyone’s plans — including thousands of frustrated fans who are Suh-Ick of this story.  Cheers to the Bears.  If only I could go back in time to last Friday night and un-pull for BU’s upset of TCU.

Here’s a wrap of what was being said early — and we mean early — Thursday morning:

1.  Mississippi State president Mark Keenum explained in detail yesterday how the SEC’s powers-that-be learned of Baylor’s reversal of field on Tuesday night.

2.  In this must-read breakdown of a split Big 12, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin loosened his bow tie and let Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe have it for his last-minute backtrack:

“We took this letter (of September 2nd) very seriously.  We asked for such a statement.  They gave it to us freely.  It says here a unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe’s letter (from Tuesday) night it says: ‘No we didn’t really mean that,’ and I find that to be rather difficult to digest. …

We are being held hostage right now.  Essentially, we’re being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans, for example, and makes us free people.”

(An aside… dollars-to-doughnuts that if someone from the University of Texas had made that statement they would have substituted the word “Texans” for “Americans.”  Guaranteed.)

3.  Loftin also took aim at Baylor:

“Clearly for quite some time, one school has been specifically the one trying to both bring pressure on us politically for a while and now raising the threat of legal action.  In fact even calling members of the board of the SEC directly and the commissioner of the SEC directly and speaking to them and leaving voicemails for them.”

4.  Beebe put out a statement yesterday confirming that his league as a whole won’t take legal action against the SEC or Texas A&M, but he won’t guarantee what individual schools might do:

“If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M.  In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”

(That sounds pretty legit.  Except for the fact Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU could have made the same claim when Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech left them in the hot Texas dust back in 1996.)

5.  Some claim Baylor and their Beggin’ Brethren are hoping to force Oklahoma to “remain in the Big 12 and allow the conference to continue its quest to expand and survive with its strongest members.”

6.  ESPN’s Andy Katz writes that until Oklahoma agrees to stay in the Big 12, eight of the league’s nine school will not waive their right to pursue litigation against A&M and the SEC. 

7.  In case you didn’t know, BU president Kenneth Starr has always been a lightning rod.

8.  But Baylor’s got a fan in this writer from who says — unbelievably — that Baylor “has positioned itself as that guy standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square.”  Uh, yeah.  That’s a fair comparison. 

(Anyone need further proof that the anti-expansion crowd can’t make their argument without wildly exaggerating?)

9.  Gary Parish of says Baylor is both desperate and right at the same time.

10.  This writer says Baylor is simply delaying the inevitable in the hopes of catching a realignment ride.  (Agreed.  We said the same yesterday.)

11.  Speaking of Washington insiders like Starr, A&M alum and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” when asked about the Aggies move to the SEC.  (“Magnum Force,” sweet.)

12.  Written when it looked like Baylor would back down from its lawsuit threats, Matt Hayes’ piece from The Sporting News says mass hysteria will befall college football when A&M finally moves to the SEC.  (Dogs and cats living together…)

13.  The Oklahoman reports that Sooner officials have denied a report that six (now eight, according to ESPN) Big 12 schools are trying to force OU to stay:

“I haven’t heard anything about this ‘group of six.’”

14.  Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton — who also happens to be the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors – pretty much admitted that Mizzou’s been talking to people in other conferences.  Yep, good league you got there, Mr. Chairman.

“There’s so much discussion around the nation right now that I think there’s probably not an institution in the Big 12 that has not been in discussion with other institutions.”

15. reports that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Missouri “have apparently retained their right to sue but have vowed they won’t take actions against the SEC.”

16.  Speaking of Texas, this writer says the Longhorn Network is to blame for the current mess.

17.  And speaking of Texas Tech, that school’s president said yesterday that “things are going to be in a holding pattern” for Big 12 schools.

18.  This writer for The Kansas City Star says he would dismiss any court case brought by Baylor and its Beggin’ Brethren:

“You boys didn’t lose any sleep when you left those other folk on the outside looking in.  So don’t try to convince me this is anything but a blatant attempt at self-preservation now that you coots are about to be on the outside looking in.  Case dismissed.  Texas A&M, do as you please.”

19.  Pat Forde of has this to say about Baylor slowing down the expansion train:

“Nobody cares about Baylor football, which is why Baylor must do everything it can to retain the big-six conference membership it got mostly through political pressure and traditional alliances.  When the Southwest Conference collapsed in the mid-1990s, Baylor tenaciously clung to Texas, A&M and Tech for inclusion into the Big 12 while Houston, TCU, SMU and Rice were cut loose and marginalized as football entities.  Since then the Bears have done nothing on the football field to merit keeping their place among the power elite — which is why any radical redrawing of the map could easily leave Baylor without a seat at the big-boy table.”

20.  Dennis Dodd of says no one looks good in this latest Big 12 snit.

21.  Stewart Mandel of says that “no one (with the exception of Texas A&M) actually wants super-conferences.”  Uh, well, technically A&M just wants to be School #13 in the SEC.  And if the Big 12 just replaces the Aggies, all those people who don’t want super-conferences… can avoid super-conferences.  I still don’t get how trading A&M for BYU, for example, would unhinge the Big 12.  Especially when everyone in the Big 12 is telling the world it’s still strong as new rope. 

22.  So what’s up with the Big Ten’s expansion options?

23.  Tony Barnhart of wonders who’ll be the SEC’s 14th school.

24.  CBS analyst Gary Danielson — very wisely, I might add — states that the SEC’s School #14 should be Florida State because of the school’s name recognition.  (Danielson understands the business of expansion.)

25.  Finally, raise your hand if you’ll sue.

And one last note…

After the events of the last 36 hours, how welcoming do you think Aggie fans will be when Baylor visits College Station on October 15th?

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Baylor Must Be Angling For An SEC Invite… That It Won’t Get

Confession: I don’t like it when politicians get involved in athletics.  Even when its something “bad” like steroids in baseball — gasp! — I expect my elected officials to worry about the economy, not Barry Bonds’ biceps.

Likewise, I don’t like it when athletic parties take their disagreements into our nation’s courtrooms.  One entity trying to force it’s will upon another is not okay in my book.  And our court system is filled with enough nonsensical lawsuits already.

Therefore — even though I believe the SEC is just fine as a 12-school collective — I’d like to see Mike Slive tan the hides of the Baylor Bears at this point.

Still, let’s look at Kenneth Starr’s power play more closely.  Is Baylor’s president trying to hold the Big 12 together with his legal posturing?


A thinking man would realize that any league already held together by duct tape and chewing gum isn’t going to be strengthened by adding spite to the mixture.  Think the schools in the Big 12 despise and distrust one another now?  Wait until they’re forced to spend more time together because of a Baylor lawsuit.

Litigation is not a long-term solution for the Big 12.  And Baylor isn’t likely to win any lawsuit against the SEC, either.  Too many Big 12 officials have already publicly stated a) that Colorado and Nebraska hurt the league when they left and b) Texas’ huge cash advantage is the root of all Big 12 evil.

But while BU likely couldn’t prove tortious interference against the SEC, reports that “multiple sources” as saying Baylor would consider a lawsuit against Slive personally.  Frivolous or not, that kind of threat is likely to give any conference commissioner pause.

But if keeping the Big 12 intact isn’t the angle, what are Starr and his Baptist Bears up to?  Well, clearly they want to make themselves more attractive to other leagues on the expansion front.  With Baylor threatening to muck up the waters, might Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas, for example, force the Pac-12 to accept BU rather than Texas Tech?

Probably not.  While some Sooner, Cowboy and Longhorn fans might be cheering Baylor for slowing their schools’ race to the Pacific Time Zone, it’s doubtful that administrators at those schools are pleased with BU’s stunt.  Royalty doesn’t like to be pushed around by peasants.

More likely, Baylor officials think they can attach themselves to Texas A&M and the SEC.  Baylor isn’t attractive enough to draw an invite on its own, so it could be looking to enter the SEC’s warm, calm waters like a remora riding on the belly of A&M’s shark.

If the SEC truly wants to land Texas A&M — and if the league truly doesn’t want to be sued — it should consider adding Baylor, too.  The Bears aren’t a member of the prestigious AAU, but they are a well-ranked school on most lists.  (According to US News & World Report’s rankings, Baylor would tie Alabama — #79 nationally — as the fourth-best school in the SEC if admitted.)  League presidents would go for that.

But from an athletics standpoint, the Bears would fall near the bottom of the conference in terms of tradition.  Also, with Texas A&M’s enormous alumni base, the SEC would already be able to claim the biggest Texas television markets.  So Baylor would likely bring little to the table moneywise.

But let’s play some number games anyway.  If the addition of A&M brought in enough money for the SEC to cover the costs of adding Baylor, then the SEC might be wise to consider such a move. 

Let’s say you want some apples.  You can either have five or none.  But to get five, you have to give someone else two.  It’s not the five apples you’d hoped for, but three apples would still beat none, right?

Ah, but even if the SEC stood to make a profit by adding Texas A&M and Baylor… the odds of Slive and his conference presidents being strong-armed by Starr and his band of whiners from Waco are slim to none.

Just as Baylor can’t hold the Big 12 together via spite, it can’t force its way into a new league using that method either.  Shotgun weddings don’t often last.

Fifteen years ago, Texas politicians forced Texas and A&M to drag Baylor and Texas Tech into the Big 12.  (It just so happened that Texas’ governor was a Baylor grad and the state’s lieutenant governor was a Tech grad at the time.)  How well has that shotgun wedding worked?

This time, no one’s around to save Baylor’ bacon.  As a result, they’re threatening to take the SEC — and perhaps Slive — to court.  How weak.

Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are looking after their own self-interests.  But they’re leaving Baylor with options to do the same.  Schools have always looked out for their own best interests.  Including Baylor.  But Starr and BU — incapable of taking care of themselves — are now going the lawsuit route, closing off options for everyone else.

So here’s wishing nothing but the worst for the school and its athletic programs.  As if the realignment debate weren’t nasty enough already, now the wackos from Waco are threatening to get the lawyers involved.

Could this story get any worse?

Oh, yeah.  It could.  If the SEC caved and invited Baylor to tag along with A&M.  Thank goodness that’s not going to happen.

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Prospect Cites SEC As Reason For Choosing Texas A&M

Colin Blake is technically committed to a Big 12 school.

But the safety from Brandeis High School in San Antonio clearly had the SEC on his mind when he committed to Texas A&M on Tuesday.

The school officially announced last week that it plans to leave the Big 12 by next summer. That has led many to believe the SEC will invite Texas A&M into the conference, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

And that’s a big reason Blake decided to commit to the Aggies.

“I think it makes them more attractive to me because that’s the best conference in college football so I would love to have a chance to play in the SEC,” Blake told “They look real good going into the year this year and I think they are going to do well in the Big 12 this year. I like A&M a lot, so I want them to win the Big 12.”

Blake, who’s considered the 14th-best safety in the nation and 23rd-best prospect in the state of Texas by, chose Texas A&M over schools such as Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas Tech, Arizona and California.

Four of’s top 25 players in the state of Texas have committed to Texas A&M for 2012. How many of the top 25 players in Texas did the Aggies sign in 2011? Zero.

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SEC Headlines 9/4/2011 Part Four

1. Jon Solomon:”The SEC is moving closer toward the $100 face-value ticket.”

2. Despite the loss to Boise State, Atlanta is good for Georgia and the state of Georgia is good for the SEC.

3. Lessons learned from the first Saturday of football.

4. Mark Story: “If the Southeastern Conference is going to expand, Texas A&M is — choose your sports metaphor — a slam dunk, a grand slam, a Hail Mary touchdown pass.”

5. Pac-16? Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State look west.

6. Pac-12 commissioner says “schools have reached out to us.”

7. Chris Dufresne of the LA Times: “It was written here Thursday that only Oklahoma and Texas bonded together could save the Big 12, but the crazy glue apparently didn’t hold for even 72 hours.”

8. Pac-12 Oklahoma’s “sole focus”?

9. Kansas City Star: The Big 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6…

10. John Clay: “By my crack research, Thursday marked the fewest people to watch a Kentucky football game since 1995.”

11. Kentucky’s greatest moments at Commonwealth Stadium. Fans can expect some changes at the stadium when Kentucky makes it home debut on Saturday.

12.  Auburn and LSU are up next for Mississippi State – two games that will set the tone for the season.

13. Expect it to be a few days before Ole Miss commits to a starting quarterback against Southern Illinois.

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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 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.

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SEC Leads The Way In Major Infractions

The 2010-11 academic year was The Year of Scandal in the NCAA.  North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio State and Auburn.  AJ Green, Terrelle Pryor, Willie Lyles and the Newtons (Cam and Cecil).

One bad story has seemingly led to another and that’s led NCAA president Mark Emmert to call for a “how can we fix things?” meeting with several college presidents next month.  It’s also led many in the media to shout that things are worse than ever… and deliver proof in various multi-part reports.

We at believe that cheating has simply changed over the years.  As new rules have been written, cheaters have found new ways to break them.  But in our view, there’s no more cheating today than there was 50 years ago.  There’s just more media to cover it and more places for fans to talk about it.

The way we see it, making grand declarations like “the system is broken” is ridiculous.  The vast majority of college athletes go to school, get their grades, take no cash, and then move on into non-athletic occupations.  The system works well for most.

That said, the folks at are digging into the cheating problem — in a five-part series, no less — and their kickoff was a look-see at the numbers of cheaters across the nation.

Dating back to 1987 when SMU was given the death penalty, the SEC has led the way in major infractions according to NCAA records:

Major Infractions
Big 12
Big Ten
Conference USA
Big East
Sun Belt
Notre Dame

Those numbers reflect each conference’s current make-up.  Also, as you well know, there are quite a few cases pending right now.

If you’re wondering, 10 of the SEC’s 12 schools have been hit with a major violation charge since 1987.  On the downside, Alabama’s three major infractions in that span tie it with Texas Tech for the most in the NCAA.  (Congratulations?)  But on the positive side, Vanderbilt and LSU have both dodged the word “major” in the last quarter-century. 

Of course, Tiger fans had better hope that the aforementioned Lyles had as little to do with LSU’s program as folks in Baton Rouge are currently claiming or else Vandy could be the last SEC school left standing in terms of keeping its nose clean.

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Marquette’s Williams Talks Coaching Rumors… Sort Of

Marquette’s Buzz Williams is believed to be one of the leading “fall back” candidates in the Arkansas coaching search.  Why “fall back?”  Because most folks in the Natural State want Mike Anderson from Missouri to serve as the Hogs’ next coach.  But Williams’ name keeps popping up on candidate lists right alongside Mizzou’s Anderson.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel asked him about the rumors involving Arkansas – and Texas Tech and Oklahoma — but the Texas native didn’t have much to say.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  He actually had a lot to say… but it was pretty much just off-topic rambling.

Summary: Williams says he wants the media to focus on his team, he doesn’t read the internet or the rumors that can be found there, and he’s not interested in talking about other jobs.

One thing Williams did not say during the Q&A: Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

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Roberson Helps Auburn Continue Recruiting Success

Marcus Roberson’s decision to switch his commitment from Texas Tech to Auburn should come as no surprise.

In fact, we wrote the night that he committed to Texas Tech that his recruiting was still very much up in the air.

Roberson’s commitment to Auburn is another significant piece to the Tigers’ class of 2011. Roberson, who attends St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is ranked the No. 2 cornerback and No. 37 overall prospect in the nation by

Auburn has 23 commitments for 2011. The Tigers have received four commitments in the last week and nine commitments in the month of January. Auburn’s class is now ranked sixth nationally in the Rivals team rankings.

Auburn doesn’t appear to be done with its class. The Tigers are still recruiting several highly-touted prospects, including offensive linemen Cyrus Kouandjio and Antonio Richardson, defensive tackle Gabe Wright and defensive backs Erique Florence and Jermaine Whitehead.

Here’s a recent Q&A with Justin Hokanson of looking ahead to National Signing Day.

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