Conference Realignment: Why Virginia Tech and NC State Could Be SEC-Bound

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 14, 2012

If Florida State leaves for the Big 12, Virginia Tech and N.C. State could be headed to the SEC
If Florida State leaves for the Big 12, Virginia Tech and N.C. State could be headed to the SEC

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've already heard that the rumor of Florida State being interested in the Big 12 is picking up steam. While we aren't in full-fledged expansion mode like we were last summer, the possibility still remains that we could get to that point if Florida State and another school bail on the ACC in favor of greener pastures.

If we do get to full-on super-conference expansion mode, where would the SEC look?

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer
Virginia Tech head coach Frank BeamerKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Virginia Tech and NC State, by my estimation. 

Virginia Tech has established itself as the powerhouse of the new-look ACC. It has won three of the last five ACC championship games and has finished in the Top 20 of the Associated Press poll eight of the last 10 seasons.

More importantly, it would bring the coveted Washington, D.C. television market into the SEC footprint. Expansion is all about television revenue, and adding the No. 8 television market in the country to the SEC's growing list of cities would undoubtedly add to the bottom line. It may be a four-hour drive to Blacksburg, but the Hokies have a big following in the D.C./Northern Virginia area.

I know, I know; it took a lot of political wrangling in the state of Virginia to get Virginia Tech into the ACC to begin with. But if the Big 12 takes two, three or even four ACC teams, the ACC could start crumbling even with the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. At that point, politics would take a back seat in favor of self-preservation.

Which brings us to NC State.

The Wolfpack are by no means a football power, but it would bring in the Raleigh-Durham television market in the country, which a lot of people don't realize is ranked No. 23 in Nielsen's latest audience rankings. Plus, the $48,845 median household income in the market makes it even more appealing.

Would people in the area care more for NC State football if it were in the SEC? That remains to be seen. Would recruits? Certainly. 

N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon
N.C. State quarterback Mike GlennonStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

I thought the realignment dominoes would fall towards 16-team superconferences last season, but several factors forced college football leaders to pump the brakes on that for the time being.

Florida State jumping ship could kick-start that process, however, and don't be shocked if the move results in Virginia Tech and NC State landing in the SEC.


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