Any expansion rumors won't force SEC's hand

DESTIN, Fla. - The presidents and chancellors of the 12 SEC schools will discuss expansion today on the final day of the business meetings.

The discussion might be a bit more lively after an Internet report from Orangebloods.com said Thursday that the Pac-10 is prepared to invite Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado to join.

Orangebloods reporter Chip Brown said the 16-team conference would start its own TV network that would command premium subscriber dollars worth $20 million in revenue to each conference member.

Brown also reported that the new conference would include schools in seven of the country's top 20 TV markets.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said his league will continue to be "strategic and thoughtful" the way it approaches expansion.

"We'll discuss it on our terms, without reacting to what we hear or read, though we pay attention to what is happening around us," Slive said. "We have to think about who we are. We're a very special league with a very special fan base, and we've had very special success. We're the mostly widely distributed conference in the country."

Slive said he's not worried that other conferences would steal one of his SEC schools.

He didn't want to comment on reports that Texas A&M had discussions with SEC about joining the league.

"The important thing is to stay focused on things that make us better," Slive said. "We think about our best interests long term."

Florida president Bernie Machen still thinks the SEC doesn't need to do anything hasty.

"We're in a pretty good position," Machen said. "We're a very powerful league. We just met with the ESPN people (the conference began a 15-year contract with the network last football and basketball season) and their ratings are up 15 percent.

"Hopefully, we've got enough sense not to mess up what we've got going."

Football Telecasts: Both ESPN and CBS released dates for some of its early season telecasts.

Here's what has been released so far with all times EST:

n Sept. 2: Southern Mississippi at South Carolina, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

n Sept. 4: Miami of Ohio at Florida, ESPN, noon; Kentucky at Louisville, ABC, 3:30 p.m.; LSU vs. North Carolina in Atlanta, ABC, 7 p.m.

n Sept. 9: Auburn at Mississippi State, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

n Sept. 11: Georgia at South Carolina, CBS, noon; Oregon at Tennessee, 7 p.m. ESPN2; Penn State at Alabama, ESPN, 8 p.m.; Ole Miss at Tulane, 9 p.m., ESPN Classic or ESPN2.

n Sept. 18: Arkansas at Georgia, ESPN or ESPN2, noon; Florida at Tennessee, CBS, 3:30 p.m.; Alabama at Duke, ABC, 3:30 p.m.; Clemson at Auburn, ESPN, 7 p.m.

n Oct. 30: Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville, CBS, 3:30 p.m.

n Dec. 4: SEC championship game, CBS, 4 p.m.

Early To Rise: SEC football coaches are finally unanimous.

They want the league to sponsor NCAA legislation for early signing period, but the coaches haven't advanced their discussion to figure out when the signing period should be.

"We think the early signing date in December would be disadvantage to us as coaches and our team," LSU coach Les Miles said. "You don't want a ton of kids taking official visits during the season, because you are still trying to coach your team.

"We're still searching for a date that fits a dead period without official visits.

The signing period is aimed at the recruits who have committed early to schools, the recruits that have known for a long time that they preferred a certain school.

"There are guys who live within driving distance of a campus and have taken five or more unofficial visits that don't need to take an official visit," Miles said.

"You know they want to sign with your school."

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Comments » 18

tdvol1989 writes:

I would like to believe that the SEC will make the right decision, but the only thing that is obvious right now is IF anything major happens, it will begin with the collapse of the Big 12.

Also, the best way we can really win with exposure is to go West.

Finally, look at the areas we can add that bring recruiting. Folks can yap all day long about TV Markets, but we still have some of the best recruiting turf in the country. With Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Louisiana/Missippi, our conference still has captive some of the best football talent in the country. And, while I cannot imagine our talent leaving the Southeast for Big 10/Pac 10 schools, having Texas would allow us to really lock down the best athletes in the country.

That said, the SEC cannot allow the Texas teams to go to the PAC 10. That leaves us very few options to really upgrade the conference. So, I hope the rumor about Texas A&M talking with the SEC is true. They are a package deal with Texas. And, I hope we are at least letting those schools know that the SEC is THE conference to be in if the Big 12 implodes. We MUST be in the conversation.

Of course, I prefer for all the dominos NOT to fall, but if this is going to eventually happen, we might as well be the ones to dictate what happens.

orangecountyvols writes:

For years I always wondered how a rivalry would be with our REAL orange against the other orange from Texas. May never happen but Texas and A & M would further the dominance of the SEC.

vols2#227315 writes:

Sounds to me like UT football needs to join a conference with weak teams until we get a real AD and a winning coach who has a winning pass and can get great football players to come to UT.

OrangePride writes:

We've got the best football in the country right now. But add Texas and Texas A & M in the west and Va Tech and Florida State to the east and then nobody even comes close! Frankly, I can get along with things just the way they are, but if we have to go larger, those teams would be my wish list.

OrangePride writes:

in response to vols2#227315:

Sounds to me like UT football needs to join a conference with weak teams until we get a real AD and a winning coach who has a winning pass and can get great football players to come to UT.

Oh get a life. You have no idea what you are talking about.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

For years I always wondered how a rivalry would be with our REAL orange against the other orange from Texas. May never happen but Texas and A & M would further the dominance of the SEC.

TN-TX sits now at 1-2 in favor of Horns. RIGHT NOW, a rivalry would probably reach 1-9 before the Vols would even compete against them.

Sad but true....

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

"Florida president Bernie Machen still thinks the SEC doesn't need to do anything hasty."

Yeah that's because the alleyGators wouldn't always be top dog with a Texas or FSU in the SEC.

TLepage writes:

Slive is a moron... If he sits backs and waits for other conferences to make moves, the SEC could really be screwed.... We would lose our TV contracts and lots of money when/if the big ten and pac 10 expand.... I think it would be better to make a move before everyone else, that way we would get the best possible teams... If the SEC waits, we might be picking up conference USA teams.... The SEC was always an innovative league prior to Slive.... I'm not sure how is wait and see approach will help the league...

richvol writes:

I can't believe that an issue as important as this is primarily in the hands of a 5'5" lawyer that never played a down of football in his life. He's not even capable of addressing the incompetent officiating that is an ongoing problem in this league.

As far as him negotiating the TV contract...Pee Wee Herman could have sold the SEC to ESPN.

gohawks1 writes:

Two thoughts on moving to a 16-team conference:
1. Each team would have to play all 7 teams in the East division, plus 3 teams from the West division (as it currently stands), which leaves only 2 games per year with teams outside the conference.
2. Bringing in 4 more weaker teams would likely mean less money per school, while bringing in 4 strong teams only means that it becomes more difficult to win the SEC title.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to TLepage:

Slive is a moron... If he sits backs and waits for other conferences to make moves, the SEC could really be screwed.... We would lose our TV contracts and lots of money when/if the big ten and pac 10 expand.... I think it would be better to make a move before everyone else, that way we would get the best possible teams... If the SEC waits, we might be picking up conference USA teams.... The SEC was always an innovative league prior to Slive.... I'm not sure how is wait and see approach will help the league...

Well said, TL. That was exactly what I have been thinking. Slive IS clueless.

Troll_Here writes:

I’d like to throw in my 2 cents on SEC expansion. Specifically how I’d like to see it set up if we did go to 16 teams. I’d add Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and OK State.

I wouldn't go with two 8 team divisions like what is being suggested in the media right now because the rotation time between games with teams from the other division would be too long. Instead I would go with 4 divisions of:

Texas
Texas A&M
Oklahoma
Ok State

LSU
Ark
Ole Miss
Miss State

Alabama
Auburn
Vandy
Tennessee

Florida
Georgia
UK
South Carolina

You would play the other 3 teams in your division every year, plus 2 teams from each of the other 3 divisions for a total of 9 regular season SEC games. I wouldn't rotate through the other divisions like we currently do with a home game 1 year and then an away game the next year. Instead I would play two of the four teams from the other divisions, 1 home and 1 away. Then the following year play the other two home and away. Then switch the location the next time through. This would allow each team to play every SEC school within a two year time frame. Then I would get an exemption from the NCAA (or leave the NCAA if the other conferences followed suit) to have a two week SEC title tournament with the 4 divisional winners. The title game could stay in Atlanta, with the semifinals in two other SEC friendly cities, or you could play all 3 games in Atlanta.

The downside for my Gators would be that we would play Tennessee and LSU every other year instead of every year, but the up side would be that we would also play Bama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Miss State, and Arkansas every other year instead of having a 3 year layoff between the time a west team rotates off our schedule and when they rotate back on our schedule, plus we'd play Texas, Oklahoma, Ok State, & Texas A&M every other year as well. Every teams schedule could be set up to play only 1 of the top two programs from each division every year. For example, Tenn would play Fl one year and UGA the next, LSU one year and Ark (I guess they're the 2nd best team in that division) the next, and Texas one year and Oklahoma the next year.

This set-up would also work great for basketball by playing each team in your division twice, and all other teams once for an 18 game regular season. Baseball would probably only be able to play 3 of 4 other division teams each year. I’m sure the other sports could work it out as well.

Just my 2 cents.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to gohawks1:

Two thoughts on moving to a 16-team conference:
1. Each team would have to play all 7 teams in the East division, plus 3 teams from the West division (as it currently stands), which leaves only 2 games per year with teams outside the conference.
2. Bringing in 4 more weaker teams would likely mean less money per school, while bringing in 4 strong teams only means that it becomes more difficult to win the SEC title.

I would go with 4 Divisions. You play the other 3 in your division, 1 each from the other 3, and you have 2 permanent opponents from outside of your division. I am pretty sure we could preserve the existing rivalries that way.

Then you have a 4 Team Playoff with the winners of each division and an SEC Superbowl. That puts 25% of the conference in the playoff and probably half of the conference in contention.

Yes, the downside is it will be a lot tougher to go undefeated and there is a chance a heavy favorite could get beat, but that is really what makes the game fun. How would you like to have to beat Alabama and Florida twice to win the SEC?

KINGKONG writes:

I feel like the SEC need to make a move.These other conferences are trying to derail the SEC by forming a super confernce.SEC got the best tv contracts,the most revenue and have dominated the bcs game.SEC owns college football we don't need to get puff up with pride, I am worried that we might loose our kingship.The great roman empire took a fall because they ignored whats was going on around them.

Troll_Here writes:

in response to KINGKONG:

I feel like the SEC need to make a move.These other conferences are trying to derail the SEC by forming a super confernce.SEC got the best tv contracts,the most revenue and have dominated the bcs game.SEC owns college football we don't need to get puff up with pride, I am worried that we might loose our kingship.The great roman empire took a fall because they ignored whats was going on around them.

How does someone write with this many grammatical errors and then throw in a wise lesson from the fall of the Roman empire?

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to KINGKONG:

I feel like the SEC need to make a move.These other conferences are trying to derail the SEC by forming a super confernce.SEC got the best tv contracts,the most revenue and have dominated the bcs game.SEC owns college football we don't need to get puff up with pride, I am worried that we might loose our kingship.The great roman empire took a fall because they ignored whats was going on around them.

I agree. If Slive just sits there and lets the Big 10 take Texas, he will greatly weaken the SEC. The SEC would be a natural fit for Texas and its little brother. Waiting for other conferences to act makes no sense.

tmartin writes:

in response to Troll_Here:

I’d like to throw in my 2 cents on SEC expansion. Specifically how I’d like to see it set up if we did go to 16 teams. I’d add Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and OK State.

I wouldn't go with two 8 team divisions like what is being suggested in the media right now because the rotation time between games with teams from the other division would be too long. Instead I would go with 4 divisions of:

Texas
Texas A&M
Oklahoma
Ok State

LSU
Ark
Ole Miss
Miss State

Alabama
Auburn
Vandy
Tennessee

Florida
Georgia
UK
South Carolina

You would play the other 3 teams in your division every year, plus 2 teams from each of the other 3 divisions for a total of 9 regular season SEC games. I wouldn't rotate through the other divisions like we currently do with a home game 1 year and then an away game the next year. Instead I would play two of the four teams from the other divisions, 1 home and 1 away. Then the following year play the other two home and away. Then switch the location the next time through. This would allow each team to play every SEC school within a two year time frame. Then I would get an exemption from the NCAA (or leave the NCAA if the other conferences followed suit) to have a two week SEC title tournament with the 4 divisional winners. The title game could stay in Atlanta, with the semifinals in two other SEC friendly cities, or you could play all 3 games in Atlanta.

The downside for my Gators would be that we would play Tennessee and LSU every other year instead of every year, but the up side would be that we would also play Bama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Miss State, and Arkansas every other year instead of having a 3 year layoff between the time a west team rotates off our schedule and when they rotate back on our schedule, plus we'd play Texas, Oklahoma, Ok State, & Texas A&M every other year as well. Every teams schedule could be set up to play only 1 of the top two programs from each division every year. For example, Tenn would play Fl one year and UGA the next, LSU one year and Ark (I guess they're the 2nd best team in that division) the next, and Texas one year and Oklahoma the next year.

This set-up would also work great for basketball by playing each team in your division twice, and all other teams once for an 18 game regular season. Baseball would probably only be able to play 3 of 4 other division teams each year. I’m sure the other sports could work it out as well.

Just my 2 cents.

Good idea but you cant seperate UGA and Auburn, it one of oldest rivalries in football. Also, cant seperate UK and Vandy; the annnual rivalry game that decides who is the worst team in SEC.

Colliervol writes:

in response to vols2#227315:

Sounds to me like UT football needs to join a conference with weak teams until we get a real AD and a winning coach who has a winning pass and can get great football players to come to UT.

Clueless. And more than likely not a UT fan.

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