One conference in particular is the all and ever Powerful SEC. Because I attend an SEC school (PIG SOOIE) all we’re talking about is what everybody else is doing. And that’s something that SEC fans do very well, never show you the hand we have. So I’m actually going to do something very unSEC like, show you the hand the SEC will play either later this summer or next summer.
Quick, of the current members of the ACC who has rivals in the SEC? Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami. So who would be the most likely suspects to join the SEC? Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami. Just look at what it will do for the conference? Florida State outside of their recent struggles still is Florida State, Clemson brings a lot of fans into the stadium on any given Saturday and also challenges every year for the conference title (even if its only for the first 9weeks of the season), Georgia Tech brings a triple option like no other and that defense is amazing, and Miami much like Florida State is still Miami.
The SEC is huge on rivalries and from living in this part of the country for most of my life (minus 4 years) the SEC/ACC rivalries are like no other intraconference rivalries in the nation, most of the time having recruits futures hanging in the balance, and national title implications on the line (1996 UF/FSU jumps out). The addition of these schools will bring rivalry week (traditionally the last 2 weeks of the regular season) a whole new meaning because no longer can the schools schedule “set-up” games for that final game. Here’s what it’ll look like if/when it happens
SEC (with ACC members) - (East) Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Miami, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech (West) Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, MissSt, Bama, Auburn, Vandy, Kentucky
ACC (minus departed members)- (Coastal) Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke (Atlantic) Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina State, Wake Forest
The above scenario makes the SEC a mega conference along with the proposed Pac10 and Big10, but where does that leave the ACC who if everybody remembers, did the expansion to get the title game back in 2004. Well, that leaves the ACC without a pipeline to Florida for the first time since 1992, so how will the schools recruit in the state? Bring in another school from Florida, and that school is USF along with the rest of the Big East.
Because the Big East has been under much speculation about whether or not they deserve a BCS bowl bid since VT, Miami, BC all bolted for the ACC, the remaining conference members of the Big East would be hard-pressed to join the ACC now. With this kind of merger you would see, the ACC stretch from Florida to Massachusetts with all the states in between. It’ll look something like
ACC (with Big East Members)- (Coastal) Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Pittsburg, Syracuse, Louisville (Atlantic) Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, USF, Rutgers, UConn, West Virginia
Big East- RIP
Now the fun starts because the ACC is still missing a school to become a true mega conference. That team would most likely be the same team who the Big 10 has wanted for the last 20years, and who the Big East has in basketball and other sports but not football, and who the ACC also courted 6years back, Notre Dame. The pieces will be in place for the Golden Hatters to join a conference, the New York Market, Boston Market, DC Market, Philadelphia Market, and Florida pipeline will all be made available to them, not to mention the ability to win the conference almost every year, and the ability to keep their contract with NBC but also expand out.
ACC (plus Notre Dame)- (Coastal) Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame (Atlantic) Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, USF, Rutgers, UConn, West Virginia
So now where do we go from there? Where do we possibly go from having 6 BCS conferences down to 4 mega-conferences? League only TV channels where the east/west bias is all but eliminated, school specific channels? Not sure, but it will definitely be fun to see the next two summers exactly where it goes.
It’s funny because all of the moves are being made because of football, but what of the state of College Basketball? With the expansion to 68 teams how will the seeding work? Do the ACC get potentially 9 schools in the tourney, the Big10 can get as little as 8, the Pac10 can get as little as 10, and the SEC can get as little as 6. And we’re not even talking about the affect on college baseball.
Everybody from the fans, to the players, to the coaches, to the boosters, to the TV companies will all be affected by these expansions and realignments.