Monday, August 29, 2011

Rules of thumb for SEC expansion.

Like it or not, it's looking more an more like Texas A&M will be an SEC school more sooner than later. With the Aggies on board, the SEC will have a baker's dozen of schools, which makes things a bit uneven. There's going to have to be a 14th team to make future scheduling less of a hassle. With that, there are a few rules of thumb the SEC really needs to follow in looking for the perfect fit.

1. Stay within the "traditional" South.
This may offend my political connects, but by "traditional" South I pretty much mean states that joined the Confederacy in the Civil War. Wanting to expand the market for the SEC may sound like a good idea, but do Missouri or Kansas really sound like SEC country? The SEC needs to take a cue from where the ACC made mistakes in its bout of expansion silliness (hello, Boston College!).
While this may look like it cuts a lot of potential expansion targets out, it leaves ones that make more sense as SEC schools, such as Virginia Tech, Louisville, Texas Tech, and many of the emerging FBS schools.

Exceptions to this rule: Oklahoma (Sooners, duh), West Virgina (which was carved of the part of Virginia that didn't want to join in the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot party that was the Confederacy), and Notre Dame (because Southern Indiana has more in common with the South than either Indiana or the South care to admit).

2. Be American Idol, not Celebrity Rehab
Texas A&M is wanting to come to the SEC because it sees the conference because of the more equitable division of revenue.  That's not really the kind of program you want to see in the conference. The SEC should be looking for programs that are on the rise, hungry, and ready to prove that they can play with the big boys of the BCS.

There are certainly quite a few schools like that around the South. Texas Tech, ECU, Central Florida, USF, and Houston all would make good SEC schools. They'd at least try harder to compete than Vanderbilt.

3. Beware of Fool's Gold.
Be free to translate this as Miami, FSU, and Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes, if they don't get the Death Penalty, are going to be radioactive for a long time to come, because of Nevin Shapiro. FSU may look all nice and shiny, but that just because of the pants. It may be back on the rise due to Jimbo Fisher, but will it be able to compete week in and week out against the heavier competition of the SEC? As for Georgia Tech, it pretty much plays the Aggies to UGA's Longhorns, even with it being in a separate conference.

And while on the subject of the ACC...

4. Stay away from North Carolina. 
Does any SEC school besides Kentucky really want to see Duke,  UNC, NC State, or Wake Forest in the SEC? Thought so. North Carolina schools scream "basketball." And sorry, expansion is all about football.

5. Clemson or bust.
Above any Southern football program, Clemson is the one that shouts "SEC" without actually being in the SEC. It has the kind of aura and tradition you're looking for in a potential SEC team. It also has deep connections to SEC schools that other schools don't. Clemson may share some of the negative traits brought up in the above rules, but the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You'd rather of Houston than Texas A&M? You must be smoking something!