Texas A&M to the SEC: What This Fallen Domino Means to NCAA Alignment
The college football landscape appears to be realigning again, and this time it is with one of the nation's elite conferences. According to multiple sources, Texas A&M will be heading to the SEC.
Reports have been swirling all week, especially with a meeting this week between the Big 12, SEC and various officials at the Texas House committee on Higher Education this Tuesday. The topic is plain and simple, realigning the Texas schools in college football.
This should come as no surprise with Nebraska and Colorado both bolting last summer. The conference has no TV deal, and at least for this year no conference title game, which earned millions in years past.
So what does this Texas A&M atom bomb mean if it is in fact true?
Who else is next to move?
Here are a few things to watch as this story stays hot, just three weeks before the 2011 campaign kicks off.
The SEC Will Continue to Add
If Texas A&M is accepted into the SEC as speculated, they will obviously have to expand to balance the conference out at 14.
The question is who will they go after, and how many more universities will they look to gobble up.
Among the rumored institutions are FSU, Clemson and Missouri. However, FSU and head coach Jimbo Fisher say they are quite content with their situation in the ACC.
Look for the SEC to eye one more for now, but ultimately a 16 team mega conference is not too far down the road.
The Big 12 Will Fold
There is little doubt that with teams running away from the conference, it will not survive. More dominoes will continue to fall, with Mizzou apparently shopping around as we speak.
The conference has failed to get a TV deal, although the Longhorn network with ESPN is enough to rub the other nine schools the wrong way.
Oklahoma is the key here and whether they decide to venture West along with Colorado, or head South with A&M.
So what do they choose and what will the Big 12 turn into?
Remember the Big 8? What about the SWC?
It looks like both conferences could be re-born, but without the marquee value of the A&M's and Nebraska's.
Oklahoma Will Be Gone by 2012
With everyone heading for greener pastures, the Sooners are smart enough to start looking for themselves. The question will be Pac 12 or SEC?
The Pac 12 makes the least amount of sense, but never count out the thought of new rivalries with USC, Stanford and Oregon.
The SEC would geographically make the most sense, giving them annual matchups with Bama, Auburn and likely Texas A&M.
Oklahoma will move, they have no choice in the matter with everyone leaving the Big 12.
Florida State Will Stay in the ACC
The Seminoles have a history in the ACC. They get to play their rival Miami every year in conference play, plus their in-state rival Florida in non conference play. Plus they are always a favorite to win their ACC division.
So why leave?
FSU has a good thing. The ACC has a solid TV deal with ESPN and their own conference title game, plus FSU has a track record in the conference.
The Seminoles will not take the chance of heading into the SEC and being a middle of the pack program.
FSU stays in the ACC, print it.
Missouri to the Big Ten? Again?
The folks at Missouri are looking to go into a conference that has high standards in the academic field. The SEC would not fit their aspirations.
Last summer it appeared the Tigers were headed to the Big Ten, until Nebraska took away their bid. But with the anticipation of the Huskers in 2011, could the conference look to steal away Missouri again?
It isn't likely, but you never know. But if Mizzou goes anywhere other than staying in what may become the Big 8 again, it would be the Big Ten. Look for them to try and sell themselves to the conference, especially when the Sooners do pack up and head out.
The SWC Comes Back
It only makes sense to renew a classic conference in this situation. Texas will not go anywhere, and Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, SMU and Rice would in all likelihood buy in.
But what about TCU?
Geographically it would make sense for the Horned Frogs to come back to messing with Texas. Add in the potential of maybe Oklahoma State and you have a decent alignment.
Look for this to happen within the next three years.
The Big 8 Is Reborn?
So why not bring life back to the Big 8?
Sure you won't be getting Nebraska or Colorado, but if you can replace them with say, a Boise State or a BYU, and maybe you are talking.
This would make the least amount of sense, but when it comes to changing the landscape of college football you just never know.
The SEC Adds a Carolina School
It is reported that Clemson is the team eyeing a switch to SEC play. This would even things out and give the SEC East a solid geographical solution to the SEC West and Texas A&M.
But is Clemson the one and only Carolina solution?
Never count out North Carolina. This would form a natural North vs South rivalry with the Gamecocks within the division. The red flag would be competition in basketball, where they are in a heated rivalry with Duke every year.
Nevertheless Carolina, as in either Carolina, should be adding another SEC team to its Eastern division.
Other possibilities include Texas A&M not getting approved by the SEC for the move. Nothing is in concrete as of the publishing of this article.
But what about some of these other thoughts that I mentioned previously?
What is the fate of the Big 12?
When and where does Oklahoma end up? What about Texas and their mega million dollar Longhorn network?
Will smaller, old school conferences re-emerge, or will these leftovers join other power conferences that will force the NCAA into a small group of mega conferences?
As always these are just my thoughts and I could be wrong. I want to hear what you have to say about the re-alignment of college football, and please be good sports when responding to the opinions of others...