Conference Expansion: Georgia Tech's Triple Option

Bill ThrasherContributor IJune 7, 2010

Georgia Tech is a team silently caught in the middle of conference expansion rumors.

With the entire nation on its toes, waiting for the first domino to fall; the swirl of uncertainty has fan bases all over the country speculating what could happen.

For the Yellow Jackets, there appear to be three plausible scenarios that could play out should the fuse be ignited and a massive power grab be set ablaze. While none of these possibilities has anything more than pure speculation driving their attention, the mere thought of such transition has fans fired up.

Everyone seemingly has their realignment hopes, concerns and fears at the forefront of their off-season minds.

Here is a short breakdown of the three most speculated options for Georgia Tech and brief commentaries on the pros & cons:

Georgia Tech to a new expanded Big 10:

With their recent membership to the AAU (Association of American Universities, a requirement for Big 10 schools) Georgia Tech put themselves in a position to take an offer should the environment of college football dictate that this be the best move for the Jackets.

An intriguing scenario, Georgia Tech to the Big 10 would create some very interesting football match-ups and a presumed sizable increase in conference money for the Jackets. It would also help to bring Atlanta's eighth ranked TV market to the Big 10.

Georgia Tech, however, would be functionally putting themselves on a geographic island and would subjectively be removing themselves from a century of history and traditional rivalries established in the southeast.

Georgia Tech to a new expanded SEC:

A seemingly natural fit, the Ramblin' Wreck in the SEC would restore some of the most dynamic, longest rivalries in college football. Georgia Tech would instantly benefit financially and provide another quality football option to the strongest football conference in the country.

As a former member of the SEC, Georgia Tech would have to mend some relational bridges and would also be much less likely to contend for conference titles on a regular basis. Additionally, Georgia Tech might have to evaluate how their elite academic status presents itself in a league where high-end academics are clearly not the biggest concern for its athletic partners.

But, should the avalanche of mega-conference consumption begin to roll, this might be one of the most logical fits for both parties.

Georgia Tech to stay in a depleted ACC:

If the expansion process blows up into a mega-conference free for all, it would seem likely that leagues like the Big 12, ACC and Big East are ripe for the picking.

Teams like Georgia Tech are going to have a decision to make: stay put on a possible sinking ship or jump into waters filled with sharks. By staying, you can only hope that what remains of your vessel when it is all said and done, leaves you in a place to become the captain of something worth sailing aboard.

Should teams like FSU, Miami, Clemson and VT take offers from expanding conferences and leave the ACC scrambling to fill its voids with scraps from places like Conference USA or the Sun Belt, it could leave a team like Georgia Tech as the powerhouse program in a weakened, retooled ACC.

This new ACC would be missing many of the rivalries they had worked so hard to build over the past three decades and would lack the national respect dominated by the new mega-conferences.

While winning regularly might be a likely benefit, the financial and traditional price of staying might be a severe, long-term, blow to an institution like Tech.

With the uncertainty of the college football world, one thing does appear crystal clear—no one really has a clue as to what is going to happen. As we hold our collective breath for that first speckled-wooden-rectangle to fall, we can only guess as to what the completed outcome will look like.

But should the process explode, and once the dust settles, there will be one sure thing for Georgia Tech...

It will still have plenty of triple options left.


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