10 Teams the SEC Could Look to Add Via Expansion
Another week, another solid roar of expansion coming from NCAA communities and media members around the country. This week? Texas A&M looking toward the SEC rumors have continued to progress and pick up serious amount of steam.
Everyone wants a piece of college football's most dominant and financially successful pie--known as the Southeastern Conference.
The recruiting boost, the competition, the exposure, the money--the SEC has anything and everything an athletic program wants and needs and strives to achieve; however, there is one little problem. Getting an invite is going to be nearly impossible.
With that being said, it's time to throw geography out the window and break down ten schools that would make the most sense within the confines of the Southeastern Conference.
Texas A&M Aggies
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The athletic department that began the rumor mongering lies in the city of College Station--a measly two hours away from one of the America's most populated cities, Houston, Texas. The Aggies are disgusted at the thoughts of the Longhorn Network and the manipulative attitude the Longhorns used to keep the Big 12 together.
They are a logical fit in the SEC for several reasons, but the most important is their residency. The state of Texas is one of the country's most dominant media markets, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The SEC wants and needs a presence within the state of Texas to continue to nationalize their brand.
Bringing the Aggies aboard will also open up a wide array of recruiting circles for teams throughout the conference, strengthening their hold on the college football landscape.
In other words, a perfect fit.
The Texas Longhorns have long controlled the decision making process of the colleges within the state, it's time the Aggies lose big brother and make their own decision.
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Similar to the aforementioned Aggies of Texas A&M, the Oklahoma Sooners would provide the SEC with another powerhouse from the Big 12.
The Sooners are one of the country's most proud and storied football programs and would provide another thoroughbred to an already dominant conference.
Oklahoma also has a strong follow in the state of Texas and possess two large media markets in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Plus, they get away from those dreaded Longhorns.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
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This possible inclusion is based more on the convenience they possess with Oklahoma and Texas A&M. If one of the aforementioned teams go, they will not go alone. The Cow Pokes from Stillwater are the perfect battery mate for Oklahoma and/or Texas A&M.
The Pokes are similar in fashion to Oklahoma, they provide a strong Texas connection and a dominance in two of Oklahoma's biggest cities.
A solid second or third partner in an expansion project for the SEC.
West Virginia Mountaineers
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When you hear the terminology expansion, West Virginia is one of the first teams that is constantly brought into the fray. Residing in a downtrodden football conference--The Big East--West Virginia is a program that is waiting to explode into a perennial national football power.
They are financially successful and have a domineering fan base that rivals everything the SEC has to offer. They possess a natural border rivalry with Kentucky, a rivalry that could grow into something beautiful within the confines of the same conference and are within striking distance of several other SEC schools.
The social and economic status of the WVU fan base rivals many of the Southeastern Conference's communities, as well. A state university from a poverty stricken state that is lacking a professional sports team and a university that is the light in the eye of every resident.
Outside of Texas A&M, WVU is one of the most logical choices for this expansion.
Virginia Tech Hokies
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The Virginia Tech Hokies are a relatively new member of the ACC, but would jump on the opportunity to head to the SEC.
The Hokies strive to be one of the country's football powers, and a transfer into America's greatest football conference may place them on that level.
A West Virginia and Virginia Tech combination would make a nice coup for the SEC and bring forth a rivalry that has extinguished since the Hokies left the Big East.
The SEC would immediately develop a strong following from the Virginia and D.C. media markets, providing the conference with another large fan base that is well developed in one of the country's major cities.
South Florida Bulls
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The South Florida Bulls, located in Tampa, have developed a strong football program since their jump from the FCS level. Skip Holtz has the opportunity to take them to a much higher level, and if the SEC wanted to add the Tampa market, this would make perfect sense.
South Florida does not possess the national branding that the rest of the SEC currently garners, but they could grow into a national power under the proper scenario, which the SEC would provide.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
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A former member of the Southeastern Conference returning home? It certainly would be feasible.
Georgia Tech returning to the SEC would reestablish a conference rivalry with its in-state brother, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia Tech certainly does not bring any other additional factors, but from a geographical standpoint they would make excellent sense and could be a fall back plan for a growing SEC.
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Ah, another in-state rival of a current SEC member. The Clemson Tigers are a southern born and bred town that have the love and passion to rival any current member of the SEC. A fan base that is clambering for the opportunity to become a dominant football program.
They are a natural geographical fit for the conference and would provide the SEC with one of college football's most passionate fan bases;however, they bring nothing to the table as far as media markets are concerned.
Making the USC-Clemson game a conference game would be thoroughly entertaining and provide for some serious bantering among the schools. Clemson would be an entertaining addition the the conference.
Florida State Seminoles
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The Florida State Seminoles are one of the country's most prized football programs, possessing a dominating fan base that extends across the country. They are loved and treasured by many and are quite a coup for the conference that they exist within.
The ACC brought them into their conference and they immediately became the most dominant team in it's history.
The SEC would be a fool to not consider the Seminoles among one of their candidates; however, FSU would be reluctant to leave their cozy spot in the ACC for the strict confines of the SEC.
University of Central Florida Knights
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A program that is growing at a considerable rate, competing at a high level and on the verge of an NCAA investigation—sounds like a program that would be right at home in the SEC, right? That was a joke, however, Central Florida would be a nice quality addition to the SEC.
They would strengthen their hold in Florida, which is currently a tug of war with several conferences, and specifically obtain a dominance in the Orlando area.
Central Florida has recruited well in Conference USA and if you give them the branding of SEC representative, they could become a national power in due time and compete with the likes of Florida, FSU and Miami for the top tier recruits in the state.
Central Florida is a sleeping giant, waiting to be awoken.
Derrick is the Co-Founder, Lead Content Editor and Lead Columnist for Sports-at-Work, http://www.sports-at-work.com, and a National Columnist for Southern Pigskin, http://www.southernpigskin.com