At first glance, the idea of speculating about Clemson joining the SEC is absurd. However, some strange conference realignments in the near future might merit a little recreational guesswork.
With the Big Ten and Pac-10 both looking to expand to twelve teams, possible shock waves from those expansions could be significant and nation wide.
The most common scenario currently being floated is that the Big Ten will snag Missouri from the Big 12, and the Pac-10 will either coax Colorado or Texas out of the Big 12.
The Big 12 will then need to restock. The mostly likely team for them to go after is Arkansas from the SEC. After all, Arkansas was in the Southwest Conference less than two decades ago, and the SWC eventually evolved into the Big 12.
Finally, to my point, this scenario leaves the SEC one team short of the magic twelve needed for a conference championship game. The SEC would almost certainly look at nearby ACC schools for a possible match.
Miami, Florida State, and Clemson could all expect to be "vetted" for a possible SEC invite. Clemson has long received the tag of an SEC school in the ACC due to its large stadium, small college town, and generous/fanatical alumni.
So, what happens if the SEC invites Clemson to join sometime in the next few years? Could any school really resist a move to the deep pocketed SEC?
Would Clemson make the jump? It would undoubtedly be a difficult decision considering that Clemson was a charter member of the ACC in 1953 and still has more ACC football conference championships(13) than any other school.
Clemson has always been competitive in recruiting against SEC schools, and it's very possible that the additional money and clout gained from joining the conference could help tilt the scales in Clemson's favor.
In spite of recent recruiting inroads into Florida and Alabama for Clemson, the SEC's major TV money will start reaching schools. That money will eventually convert into better facilities, better recruits, and more success for SEC schools. It's difficult to imagine that Clemson could keep up in a spend-a-thon against the SEC.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this decision may come down to a monetary bottom line. So, I guess the real question is, if the SEC comes calling, can Clemson afford to hang up?