Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Count to 60 (...schools in Contract Conferences); Part 4- The SEC backfills to keep up.

So we have the Big Ten at 20, The Pac-12 at 20 (possibly with Rice as an Olympic sports only 21st member) and the SEC at 14 to 16 members.

This could put the SEC into a position where they would be seen to have an easier path to a title game.  It could hurt them landing at large spots in the playoffs --- creating an at large spot is one of the main benefits of getting to three contract conferences.

Plus the financial advantages of the other two conferences would be huge.

The SEC would feel a need to go to 20.

The SEC appears to have no shot at UT and with Duke and UNC off the board, the SEC would have all the big gem schools off the table.

The SEC leadership and their athletic departments are about new TV markets and states.  The SEC boosters are about football culture.  The SEC presidents would like to see some better academic schools.

Assuming Vanderbilt would pass on the Big Ten and Miami would be their 20th member and Missouri (or Arkansas) would take the PAC-12 invite to be their 20th team, the SEC would be at 15 members.

With that in mind, a lot of schools start to make sense.  Clemson should be able to get in at that point as the SEC's new 16th member.  They fit the SEC mold and are a pretty decent academic school in SEC standards.

A pairing of West Virginia and Pitt would make a lot of sense for schools 17 and 18.  Both draw well.  The area is a good recruiting area that is often used by the Big Ten.  They bring two states.

West Virginia is a cultural fit and Pittsburgh is not far off culturally.  Pitt is a fairly strong academic option.

It could make a lot of sense for the SEC to strongly consider two of the followingfor their last two spots:

Wake Forest, Tulane, Tulsa, Kansas State, East Carolina, Louisville, UCF, and USF.

Only Tulsa and Kansas State bring new territory, but they are not very exciting for the SEC faithful or SEC leaders.

Wake Forrest and Tulane are in rich recruiting grounds and could draw quite a bit better in this kind of SEC.  Both would dramatically raise the SEC academic profile, but offer little in TV terms.

Louisville would offer an elite basketball program which carries a lot of value for a conference network.  ECU could be a great football rival to NC State and could help the SEC try to own football recruiting in that talent rich state.

UCF and USF are very long shots (due to Florida not wanting them) and are comparatively subpar academic brands compared to some of these candidates, but they are two of the largest public universities in the country.  It is just a matter of time before they are drawing SEC sized crowds.  Adding them would insure the SEC would not lose their primary position in recruiting Florida to the Big Ten.

So any pair.

To me...That is how you get to 60.

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