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Texas Is The Jackpot In Super-Sized SEC

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Texas Is The Jackpot In Super-Sized SEC

Post  Carolina Kat on Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:43 pm

Adams: Super-sizing SEC? Texas spells jackpot

By John Adams, Knoxville News Journal

Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:09 p.m.

You might be surprised to know "expansion" is not on the agenda for the SEC spring meetings, which begin this afternoon.
Of course, that doesn't mean it won't come up for discussion.

The media will see to that.

What else is as compelling? Will Memphis get the SEC basketball tournament in 2015?

College football's impending landscape change was being bandied about even before spring football had run its course. For this, we can thank the Big Ten, which has proved that it is still a big-time player in college football - in the off-season, at least.

The likelihood of the Big Ten expanding and creating a conference championship game is fine with me. But that doesn't mean the rest of college football - least of all the SEC - must expand or perish.

Suppose the Big 10 and Pac-10 expand. Suppose the Big 12 must scramble to reassemble itself. The SEC will still flourish.

The league's 15-year, multi-billion-dollar television contracts are proof of that. They haven't even been in effect a full year.
No matter who expands where, my guess is the SEC will still have the best football conference whether it stands pat or stretches its borders east and west.

This isn't about success or failure. It isn't about wealth or poverty. It's about how big and rich college football's marquee conference wants to be.

Does it simply want to add a few more millions to its profit margin? Or does it want to be a super conference?

Harvey Schiller envisioned a super conference when he was SEC commissioner in the late 1980s. Texas was his No. 1 recruit.

Florida State, whose football program was as good as anybody's at the time, was another coveted candidate.

FSU's Bobby Bowden, who had as much clout as any coach in the country at the time, was opposed to joining the SEC. Texas was tempted, but the state legislature had other ideas.

When the SEC finally expanded in 1992, it settled for Arkansas and South Carolina. It got bigger and better with a 12-team league and a conference playoff game, both of which were advocated by Schiller, but it didn't become a super conference.

If the SEC aspires to super status, then its course is simple: Go after Oklahoma and Texas. With the Sooners and Longhorns in the SEC, the conference would have more elite football programs than any other two conferences combined.

Since Oklahoma is a geographic stretch and Texas seems forever interlocked with rival Texas A&M, a Longhorns-Aggies parlay would be more likely. The Aggies don't have the pedigree of the Sooners or Longhorns, but they aren't lacking in resources. They're just lacking a Mack Brown or a Bob Stoops.

Unless the SEC at least gets Texas, it's not going to hit the expansion jackpot. The Longhorns would strengthen the SEC significantly in baseball and basketball as well as football. They would expand the conference borders all the way to New Mexico. And they would bring prestige as well as millions of more television viewers.

Without them, the next expansion wouldn't be much different from the last one.

If you're looking for compatibility, Clemson and Florida State make the most sense. They've always had more in common with the SEC than the ACC. But if you want to expand your market, Virginia Tech would be a better choice.

Georgia Tech might be next in line, simply because of its location. However, even in their hometown of Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets are still a distant second to the Georgia Bulldogs.

And do you really want to add a school that was foolish enough to leave the SEC in the first place?

Bringing in any of those programs might improve the league somewhat from a competitive and financial perspective. But in a conference that has won four consecutive national championships in football, they won't wow anyone.

Texas could do that.

Carolina Kat
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