Should the SEC expand? If so, whom should it include?
This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the possible future expansion of the SEC. Check back throughout the day for more responses and weigh in with a comment of your own.
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
Texas A&M is not going to the SEC any time soon, if you think soon is the next week. But it’s likely going to happen, the SEC’s weekend decision to not invite A&M only a stall tactic to prove 12-year-olds are not actually in charge.
I think the big holdup is not A&M but the SEC taking a 13th team without identifying a 14th team. There are politics down South too, almost as bitter as Texas and A&M, so simply plucking Florida State or Clemson from the ACC isn’t going to work with rivals Florida and Clemson. Virginia Tech, also out of the ACC, would be a solid pick, but shoot, didn’t Virginia just bend over backward a few years ago to get Tech to the ACC out of the Big East?
A good alternative might be North Carolina, embroiled in NCAA issues right now but with no real SEC blood enemies. The Big 12 has to fear the SEC coming after Missouri, which might start a chain-reaction leading to the 16-school super conference concept that is coming -- sooner or later -- to a football theater near you.
Remember, though, the NCAA is reforming with only the best interests of the student athletes in mind.
Matt Murchel, Orlando Sentinel
Like death and taxes, expansion is inevitable for the SEC.
With conferences like the Pac-12 and the Big Ten adding schools in recent years, it was only going to be a matter of time before the SEC would look at the idea of adding several new faces to its league.
Whether or not the conference adds Texas A&M in the coming months or coming years, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for conference realignment. Florida State, Clemson and Missouri have all been mentioned as possible candidates as well; however, I think the SEC should think bigger.
Texas and/or Oklahoma would be home runs for the SEC and would make the nation’s premier conference bigger and better. The history of those two programs alone plus the added benefit of their perspective markets would make the SEC even more attractive when it comes time to sit down and hammer out the dollars and cents of a new television deal.
Jeff Barker, Baltimore Sun
Are conference shifts what pass for moving forward in college football these days?
Then I say -– as the Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote -– “Let us hush this cry of ‘Forward ' till ten thousand years have gone.”
The problem with the SEC fattening up at others’ expense is collateral damage. Such moves can produce a ricochet effect as the raided conference moves to restock. Sure, the rich get richer, but when does it stop and what happens to everybody else?
As the “It’s a Wonderful Life” angel, Clarence, said: “Each man’s life touches so many other lives.”
Here’s what can get trampled:
-- Traditional conference rivalries such as Texas-Texas A&M bursting in meaning and story lines.
-- Academic sensibilities. The farther a conference reaches across the country for new members, the longer the road trips for fans and team members — and not just football players, but other student athletes.
Ah, the student athletes. Anybody remember them?