SEC Expansion Talk Candidates

So we all know that college football is about to expand and become things it has never been before. SEC expansion is a reality folks so lets talk about who we are gonna add…

Florida State


Tallahassee, Fla., is probably not the biggest and best market, but the prestige of the Florida State program alone is enough to kick the tires on the Seminoles program. It already has a big time rivalry with Florida, and when you throw FSU, Florida, and Miami in the same conference, someone is going to come out bloody and battered. That’s only a good thing for the rest of the SEC East.

So in the case of Florida State, there are a number of reasons why the Seminoles should join the SEC if, in fact, the SEC comes calling. For starters, they have been the face of the ACC for 20 years now, but the face of the program is gone now. Bobby Bowden has retired, and Jimbo Fisher is now left to carry on his legacy. So why not move to the premier conference?

Secondly, the SEC brings in the top-notch recruits year in and year out. High school athletes want to play against the top competition every week, and they would certainly find that if they play in the SEC. The SEC boasts the past three national champion winners and has dominated this decade in the BCS standings. It has the top two coaches in all of college football in Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as well as having Les Miles and Steve Spurrier, who have both won national championships. If Florida State joined the SEC, the recruits would come pouring in. FSU already maintains being in the top 25 in recruiting classes every year, but the classes would only get better with a new conference identity.

Finally, the move makes sense because Florida State plays Miami and Florida every single year, so why not make those both conference games? The rivalries with Miami and Florida would get better knowing that there is more on the line. On top of that, with two top-notch programs joining, the SEC would still be the premier power conference.

Florida may oppose allowing State to join the conference, but it is doubtful that it will matter. Besides, the Gators play the Seminoles yearly anyway, and this would free up an OCC game for them to make even more money. It is a fit all the way around with a huge fanbase, great program, and great tradition.

Miami

Another major option for the SEC would be the University of Miami. It is a great media market that the SEC doesn’t have entirely in its control yet and the rivalry possibilities are endless. The ‘Canes would be the southernmost SEC team, but the potential payoff for having such a storied program in the greatest conference in the land, would be huge.

The Hurricanes may not be the best fit ideologically, but they certainly have tradition and style. Another benefit is that they are pretty good in all other sports as well. Their academics are good and they have a great coach leading them in Randy Shannon. However, I doubt that Florida would be very happy to let them come in and join the SEC.

Florida would be opposed because right now Florida is on top in the state, and with the SEC money it would not be hard for an old power to catch up.

Texas


If there is an obvious top priority, should these dominoes begin to fall, Texas would be the choice of more than one conference. The ‘Horns could fit into the Pac 10, SEC, Big 10 or stay in the Big 12.

If the Big 10 raids the Big 12 for Nebraska and Missouri, it’s likely that conference would continue to be hit, and hit hard. It is possible that the Big 12 may not exist anymore even. With the all-powerful SEC and the millions of dollars that are being funnelled through the conference from ESPN, you can bet the SEC would get its man in Texas.Let’s just face the facts and just state for the record that Texas is the Golden Goose that every conference wants. Texas is the namesake of one the richest recruiting bases in America and it attracts huge audiences, which equals lots of money.

The biggest problem with all of this is that Texas knows it, and the Longhorns are greedy. The SEC is not going to let Texas have more revenue than any of the other schools, and Texas won’t like that.Texas at no time in any world is going to agree to take the same share of revenue as Vanderbilt. Texas is way too cocky and full of itself to do that.

The other main reason why the Horns may not join is because Texas legislature has adjoined Texas A&M at the hip to Texas. They are a package deal, and no matter how much the SEC may want Texas, it has no interest in A&M other than to get Texas.

Texas A&M


If the SEC takes Texas, it would have to take A&M as well. The Aggies are the Longhorns biggest rival and it’s a rivalry that goes deep into the heart of many Texans. It has turned family members against one another for years. There’s no way the SEC can get it’s top target, Texas, without taking A&M, as well. Literally it’s illegal in the state of Texas thanks to the state legislature.

Obviously both teams would fit into the SEC West. A&M has a SEC style fan base and is relatively good in all sports. This would be a solid add into the Kentucky-South Carolina-Arkansas range of the SEC.

Texas Tech


The SEC wants to expand into Texas, for the recruits and the TV money to be made there. That point surely by now has been made clear. If Texas and its side kick can’t or won’t make it into the SEC then perhaps the SEC should go for the next best thing.

Right now Texas Tech is not a Texas power with a large fanbase, but it would explode with the TV coverage from the SEC deal, not to mention the money. It has the potential to become a massive power in Texas. They have a new head coach which is familiar with SEC in Tommy Tuberville. They have a good basketball team as well.

This would be a gamble, but it is one that I feel would pay off for the SEC in the long run.

Oklahoma


I can foresee a scenario, in which, the SEC takes the Big 12 South’s big four–Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas A & M–and then move Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East. However this situation is highly unlikely to happen.

Oklahoma would definitely be an attractive option for all the same reasons Texas would be. Plus to add the Red River Rivalry to the SEC’s already storied traditions would add even more argument to the best conference ever. Stoop’s has SEC experience and the Fans are definitely up to par with ours.

Oklahoma St


Much like A & M being a package deal with Texas, Oklahama State could become the same to Oklahoma. It is not a law in the state yet but if Oklahoma doesn’t escape quickly and quitely it very well could become one. One of the main reasons would be to keep the rivalry and tradition.

Sure, there are scenarios where the rivalry could be worked out without the teams being in the same conference, but SEC here is my message for you. If you have the change to get Oklahoma and the Cowboys are the stipulation, you take both.

West Virginia


West Virginia is a tad north of the SEC footprint, but the program is prestigious enough to whet the appetite of the SEC decision makers. And If the purpose is to expand the SEC’s footprint anyway, West Virginia makes a ton of sense. Plus if you don’t think West Virginia is southern enough, you obviously have never been to West Virginia.

West Virginia, though it does not bring a large media market to the table, could bring credibility and a huge fanbase to the SEC in not only football but basketball as well. These are measurables the SEC should definitely be looking for. However, the biggest thing that West Virginia can bring to the table is that it is well rounded in all sports and has an explosive offense. The defense is not that good, but offense will bring in a viewer base that might not particularly watch the SEC weekly, which is known for its Defenses more so than its Offenses.

West Virginia is a football state and people there love their Mountaineers, so this would be a good fit.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech is an original member of the SEC. They have recently started to come on again as a hot football team. They have good basketball and baseball and would solidify the SEC’s hold on the Atlanta media market.

Clemson


Clemson has the passion to be a SEC team. They have rivalries with SEC schools and can recruit with the best of them. Tradition and passion abound in Death Valley. Clemson would be a solid add.

Virginia Tech


Once again, Blacksburg, Va., is not exactly a buzzing media metropolis, but the program prestige factor weighs heavily in this decision, as well. Tech has an automatic regional rivalry with Tennessee–a potential rivalry that Tech and Vols fans have wanted to see happen for a long time.

This is by far the best fit for the SEC in terms of regional proximity, style of play, and media market. Virginia Tech would bring the D.C. and Virginia TV markets and possibly part of the Baltimore market. Frank Beamer is an SEC coach in ACC sheep’s clothing, and Bud Foster has always created an SEC defense. In the simplest terms it is a match that should happen.

Virginia


Just because of the possibility Virginia may pull a Texas move here too. This should not happen though.

Louisville


Unlike Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, Kentucky would not be opposed to allowing Louisville in the Conference. It would clear up an out-of-conference game and would improve the strength of the basketball schedule in the conference dramatically.

Also, think how much fun it would be to see Bobby Petrino have to take Arkansas into Louisville for a conference game and Rick Pitino take on the Wildcats in Basketball 2x a year. The market and money would not be great with the addition of Louisville but it would help. Plus overall the conference would improve in all sports.

TCU


The team already plays an SEC style of football. It is a rising program, and it is a geographical fit for what the SEC wants most in Texas. It’s also in the Dallas market. That fact alone makes TCU worthy of consideration. You can bet the Horned Frogs administration would jump at the opportunity too.

TCU should be the SEC’s prime target for expansion from a realistic point of view. The realistic point of view being that the University of Texas is greedy and will never join a conference where it will have to evenly share money. Still, TCU is not a consolation prize for not being able to snag Texas. TCU has the potential to become the “Mega School” in the state of Texas. With the Dallas TV market behind it and SEC TV exposure plus SEC TV money, this program could supplant Texas A&M in a couple of years.

This school has everything the SEC wants. Potential to grow and become the premier school in a non-SEC state. The media market and TV market to expose the SEC even more and bring in substantial money to the conference. Most importantly, the Horned Frogs also have the style of football that the SEC has made famous and would be a perfect fit all the way around.

Houston


Obviously Houston would not be able to come in and compete immediately in the SEC week in and week out. Then again, the same can be said of Vandy, Kentucky, and Mississippi State. However, what cannot be said of Vandy, Kentucky, and South Carolina is that they have a huge media market like Houston and its surrounding areas. If expansion happens, money will be the key, and this move would be about money and the recruiting ground that is Texas.

The SEC needs schools in Texas to expose the state to great football and to strengthen its position above the rising Big 12. Houston would be a school that, with the SEC TV exposure and the massive amount of money that comes with it, could explode. I am not saying the Cougars could ever challenge Texas or A&M in popularity in the state, but they could definitely pass Tech and Baylor.

Another added bonus and a good fit is Kevin Sumlin. The SEC is as much about coaches as it is defense and fans. Kevin Sumlin is a star in the making and would be a great fit in SEC media days.

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About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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