SEC Expansion and the Implications of External Expansion
Following Colorado's Pac-10 announcement, we're seeing the fruition of this offseason's rumor mill.
The Pac-10 held a press conference today to announce Colorado's move to the Pac-10.
Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are expected to make similar moves soon.
Looks like the Big 12 is nearly dead, while the Big Ten has become the Bigger Ten-ish, and the SEC has to make its next move...which would most likely be two at a time (for East/West, and would involve some restructuring).
I'm thinking the first two would be Florida State and Clemson, followed by Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
There are a few interesting points here, and they revolve around three main points:
Strength, Commercial Abilities, and Style/Heritage.
Seeing as how the SEC has been pushing its "down home southern values," I don't see Miami, Texas, or Texas A&M EVER fitting in.
This expansion is bad no matter how you look at it, unless you're pulling for a weaker team hoping that a switch will bring more notoriety and funding.
Georgia Tech, although one of my group two choices, was a founding member of the SEC and would likely be a pick for invitation. I don't see anyone leaving the SEC, given the opportunity for commercialization and notoriety.
Don't think for a second that this isn't a financial thing—every time a transaction is made, the current and future monetary value of an institution is considered.
FSU is in the top 50 for merchandising, as is GA/VA Tech and Clemson.
This will strengthen the hold of the SEC while keeping the physical region as is, which will work well financially and with the "down-home" feel the SEC has been touting.
Strength, while not as strong for these four schools, is developing—FSU is a ready and able contender and so is Clemson.
For any of these potential schools, I'd expect a culture shock for them; the SEC is far different from any other conference and it would take a few seasons to assimilate.
This brings me to another thought: I usually think of this issue from the SEC standpoint, being a Florida fan, but all schools that change are moving into completely different environments and while they may have played with teams from the conference they're moving to, they'll need to adjust to a whole new atmosphere being in-conference.
No matter how this plays out, this will be an interesting shake-up for CFB. We're talking about the basics here, but there's far more at stake, including bowl bids and TV/radio agreements.
While we may see it as a simple football/athletics change, there are many angles involving profitability and even implications of the requirement of a playoff (since there are fewer conference championships).
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