I know it's all very cynical to say that college athletics has boiled down to nothing more than a race to make money, not to graduate athletes, win championships or make legacies for both the school and the athletes. I might be cynical, but that is all college athletics and especially college football has created. An obsession with money.
The Pac-10 has become the Pac-12, poaching away Colorado and Utah from other conferences. The Pac-12 wants expansion for of all the cliched reasons of earlier this decade.
More prestige, a conference championship game and most importantly, a way to expand geographically to give the conference a larger fan base and a way to start a cable channel like the Big Ten Network.
After all, outside of Southern Cal and on the off year Arizona or Oregon, what does the Pac-12 have to offer the national picture in college football? Not much. But what that creates is a "football first" mentality which ignores all other sports in which the Pac-12 is better at such as basketball.
With these factors considered and acknowledging that is the standard way of operating in college athletics today, how should the Southeastern Conference react to expansion?
The SEC is already one of the largest, most successful, and most widely respected conferences in college football and any team would envy being invited to play in that conference. But which teams have the best connections and the most to gain by joining an expanded SEC?
Florida State University has a legitimate claim to join the SEC. A rejuvenated program with lots of young blood and potential and lots of enthusiasm surrounding it, Florida State also has its much-vaunted rivalry against the University of Florida.
Florida State also gives the SEC strength outside of football with strong men's and women's basketball teams, baseball and other minor sports. In addition the school has quite a large fan base to attract large TV money.
Georgia Tech would be a good addition as the natural rivals of the UGA Bulldogs and for many of the same reasons as Florida State.
Clemson much like the two schools above has both a good football and basketball program. Dabo Sweeney just graduated one of the best talents from this NFL Draft, C.J. Spiller, and has room to improve that program from where he took over two years ago from Tommy Bowden.
Clemson, while not as well known for its basketball program, still has something to offer in that department. The strength of the ACC would mean that even middle of the pack ACC teams would be very competitive in the SEC.
North Carolina has a long rich basketball history which I don't need to go into to explain why the SEC would benefit from the Tarheels joining its ranks.
If the SEC wants to benefit from expansion beyond football, FSU and Georgia Tech, Clemson and North Carolina would be natural fits. The ACC in basketball is as good from top to bottom as the SEC is in football. The SEC has proved to have some quality basketball programs both historically and in the past few years.
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida have had their success during March and April recently and adding more talent and potential to that list of quality basketball schools would benefit both the conference and the schools.
All of the schools mentioned here have excellent athletic programs in general. And either well-established, prestigious, or up-and-coming basketball and football programs to make the SEC a true powerhouse conference to compete with both the "Pac-16" in football and the Big East in basketball.
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