The SEC accepted Texas A&M as its 13th team this morning. There is a possible glitch in Baylor's withdrawal of their agreement for the Aggies leave the Big12. I expect that won't last long, as they really have little leverage at this point. The next move by the SEC is the one that may affect us.
More below the fold:
The SEC has three possible expansion options:
1- continue to expand westward
2- expand eastward
3- expand within their existing footprint
Westward expansion would put Missouri and Oklahoma in play, as well as another Texas school. The SEC could decide a full frontal assault on the Big 12 is their best option. In that case they could add Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech for a neat 16 team conference with clear East/West divisions:
West: Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Mississippi State
East: Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina
This would give them most of the Big 12 TV market and lots of national appeal. This leaves Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri to join the Big Ten. Don't be surprised to see Notre Dame relent and make it the Big 16. The biggest question is where does this leave Texas, whose greed set this whole thing in motion. I think they are headed for the PAC-16.
Eastward expansion is more trouble for us. It does not make sense for the SEC to raid the ACC of Virginia Tech and not get a NC team, but which one? The NC schools have very long ties to each other and those rivalries are very thick with tradition and appeal for their fan bases. Clemson and FSU might be interested, but what does the SEC gain? I think this is option doesn't look likely. VPI might join if asked, but Virginia politicians made a big deal about VPI and UVa being a package deal, so it doesn't make sense to think they would go by themselves. I cannot see UVa in the SEC. Would West Virginia and Pittsburgh join the SEC? Interesting to think about. These possibilities put the ACC in a state of flux that does not bode well.
Expansion in existing footprint could include us. This is the least likely, so I have a hard time getting too deep into the possibilities. Tech, FSU, Clemson, another Florida team, and maybe another team from Texas are possibilities. It does not seem to work and would not make much sense financially for the SEC.
Assuming the SEC moves west, which I think is most likely, the ACC has a lot of options. I tink a 16 team league would be appealing to the traditional ACC schools as it would return the basketball season to some form of normalcy and make the tournament interesting again. I like raiding the Big East most of all, especially Rutgers, UConn, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.