For the better part of a month or two (actually more like a year), Texas A&M and the Southeastern Conference have danced around getting together. The advantages for both would be incredible however the SEC would need to find a willing and able second partner to pair with A&M that would make sense as well. The pair would have to be attractive and give the SEC things that they’ve never had before. And that threesome would make the SEC the most popular, as if it already wasn’t, conference in the schools.
The news yesterday (via the NY Times) was that Texas A&M would officially succeed from the Big 12, sending a letter to Missouri president and Big 12 board chairman. But Texas A&M sent a statement out this morning are saying that that letter was never sent. On a side note, kind of interesting the Big 12 board chairman is from Missouri. The Tigers are a huge target for the SEC should the Aggies join.
Texas A&M still has some things to iron out before they should leave the Big 12. One, the SEC president’s would have to approve a move into the conference. Two, Texas A&M would have to negotiate a buyout from the Big 12, between $10-$15 million. Three, and this isn’t anything Texas A&M can really do, they need to find a partner.
The SEC presidents, depending on who the 14th team would be, would be silly not to vote in the Aggies. It opens up Texas as a huge state for recruiting, and we know football is religion in Texas and plenty of blue chippers come out of that state. It also opens up TV markets in Texas that weren’t necessarily previously there. Texas A&M also has a pretty good athletic program, one which won the women’s national championship this past season (and saw the 65 year-old head coach Gary Blair do “The Dougie”), made it to the College World Series, and this season is ranked in the top 10 in football. There’s natural rivalries with Arkansas and LSU. And they fit in pretty well with tradition, having college football’s “official” 12th man in Kyle Field.
So let’s just finish dancing, go to the after party, and get ready for some intense, physical action!
Not so fast. The SEC Championship is a highly lucrative extra game for the conference and the school’s as a whole. With only 13 members, the SEC would have to most likely adopt a 9-game conference schedule (which they may do on their own anyhow) and abandon the title game in the Georgia Dome. In my opinion, not gonna happen. That weekend is one of the best in sports and usually (at least lately) pits the two best teams in the nation against each other. As much as Texas A&M is ready for action, the SEC is going to take it slow.
As for possible partners in this threesome, Missouri is a great choice, along with Virginia Tech and a school from North Carolina, most likely NC State. Missouri offers the St. Louis and Kansas City markets that are untapped for the SEC. Two great markets and another strong athletic program. Missouri always puts out a competitive football team and their basketball team is going to compete every year. If Missouri left the Big 12, it would ruin the conference and the seven remaining teams would be ripe for the picking (I’m assuming Texas would go independent). Virginia Tech is probably the sexiest pick. Large fan base, great athletic program, DC area TV possibilities, and good geographic location (teams wouldn’t have to travel far). My first problem with this: What the hell is a Hokie anyway? Also, I don’t think there’s any way they come into the SEC just because they seem perfectly content with the ACC and scratched tooth and nail to get into the conference. The ACC is a conference they can dominate year in and year out. Why leave it? My third possibility, and the dark horse in the race is NC State. Their athletic program is well respected, they bring the Charlotte TV market, fits in great geographically, and have a pretty decent following. In the ACC, they’re overshadowed by UNC (and Duke in basketball), and are quite possibly getting tired of it. I like this pick. It’s not being talked about a lot, but it just makes so much sense. The SEC gets new, big TV markets, and NC State gets the chance to shine in the SEC.
Teams that will not be invited: Florida State, Miami, and Clemson. These are the ugly girls that no suave man in the SEC wants fool around with. Florida will block any attempt to get their in-state schools into the SEC. The Gators hold a recruiting advantage over FSU and Miami just because the conference they play in. Do you really think they’d give it up? Plus, the Seminoles have owned the ACC and have a chance to be in a BCS bowl every year. Why squander that with a schedule that would give you 3-4 losses and a mid-bowl every year? As for Clemson, you best believe South Carolina will be saying the same as Florida. I don’t think there’s one chance that these two get together. You never know though. There are those chubby chasers.
So the whole point of all of this is everyone knows it’s going to happen. The SEC and Texas A&M are going to hook up. And with that third member, be it Mizzou, Va Tech, or NC State, this hot and steamy threesome will start a domino effect for every other conference. The SEC will leave that menage a trois, feeling like the big man on campus because they just became the first collegiate superconference. Already the premier conference, these additions make them able to wield power over any other conference like nothing you’ve seen before. Schools will drop to their knees to get with the SEC. Texas A&M and team to be named later will have had the world opened up to them and will want more SEC than ever before. And after all this happens, after prom night, the buildup will be forgotten and both sides will lose their innocence. And it’s only a matter of time before this threesome becomes a full on orgy with 14 members.
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