Adams: Super-sizing SEC? Texas spells jackpot

John Adams

You might be surprised to know "expansion" is not on the agenda for the SEC spring meetings, which begin this afternoon.

Of course, that doesn't mean it won't come up for discussion. The media will see to that.

What else is as compelling? Will Memphis get the SEC basketball tournament in 2015?

College football's impending landscape change was being bandied about even before spring football had run its course. For this, we can thank the Big Ten, which has proved that it is still a big-time player in college football - in the off-season, at least.

The likelihood of the Big Ten expanding and creating a conference championship game is fine with me. But that doesn't mean the rest of college football - least of all the SEC - must expand or perish.

Suppose the Big 10 and Pac-10 expand. Suppose the Big 12 must scramble to reassemble itself. The SEC will still flourish.

The league's 15-year, multi-billion-dollar television contracts are proof of that. They haven't even been in effect a full year.

No matter who expands where, my guess is the SEC will still have the best football conference whether it stands pat or stretches its borders east and west.

This isn't about success or failure. It isn't about wealth or poverty. It's about how big and rich college football's marquee conference wants to be.

Does it simply want to add a few more millions to its profit margin? Or does it want to be a super conference?

Harvey Schiller envisioned a super conference when he was SEC commissioner in the late 1980s. Texas was his No. 1 recruit. Florida State, whose football program was as good as anybody's at the time, was another coveted candidate.

FSU's Bobby Bowden, who had as much clout as any coach in the country at the time, was opposed to joining the SEC. Texas was tempted, but the state legislature had other ideas.

When the SEC finally expanded in 1992, it settled for Arkansas and South Carolina. It got bigger and better with a 12-team league and a conference playoff game, both of which were advocated by Schiller, but it didn't become a super conference.

If the SEC aspires to super status, then its course is simple: Go after Oklahoma and Texas. With the Sooners and Longhorns in the SEC, the conference would have more elite football programs than any other two conferences combined.

Since Oklahoma is a geographic stretch and Texas seems forever interlocked with rival Texas A&M, a Longhorns-Aggies parlay would be more likely. The Aggies don't have the pedigree of the Sooners or Longhorns, but they aren't lacking in resources. They're just lacking a Mack Brown or a Bob Stoops.

Unless the SEC at least gets Texas, it's not going to hit the expansion jackpot. The Longhorns would strengthen the SEC significantly in baseball and basketball as well as football. They would expand the conference borders all the way to New Mexico. And they would bring prestige as well as millions of more television viewers.

Without them, the next expansion wouldn't be much different from the last one.

If you're looking for compatibility, Clemson and Florida State make the most sense. They've always had more in common with the SEC than the ACC. But if you want to expand your market, Virginia Tech would be a better choice.

Georgia Tech might be next in line, simply because of its location. However, even in their hometown of Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets are still a distant second to the Georgia Bulldogs. And do you really want to add a school that was foolish enough to leave the SEC in the first place?

Bringing in any of those programs might improve the league somewhat from a competitive and financial perspective. But in a conference that has won four consecutive national championships in football, they won't wow anyone.

Texas could do that.

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 35

chbradshaw writes:

I don't see that Oklahoma is not a geographic fit. Norman is about three hours from Fayetteville.

Otherwise I agree with Adams. Any new teams need to be WOW teams.

The SEC basically raised South Carolina from the dead when they invited them in the early 90s. They have contributed nothing.

Arkansas contributed in basketball in the 90s but is not much now.

I don't think Florida State brings anything. Bobby Bowden was afraid of a tough schedule so he joined the ACC and FSU began a two decade descent to mediocrity. No need to rescue them from themselves.

I am not sure what Clemson is other than Danny Ford cheating a while back.

Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would make a pretty attractive addition and would add value to the overall conference more than the dilution they would bring.

The SEC Championship would be the de facto National Championship game. The SEC winner could play the ACC winner in the Orange Bowl while the Big Ten winner plays the Pac 10 winner in the Rose Bowl.

The winners of those two games could play in a BCS Championship game.

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Texas won't happen. They are the standard in the Big12.

TennHillbilly writes:

Add Texas, Texas A&M, since they are tied together by legislature, to the SEC West. Add Va Tech and Fl State to the East or you could go for NC and Duke to bolster Roundball.

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

Texas State legislature requires that Texas and Texas A&M be in the same football conference to mandate a regular meeting between the two. You want Texas, you get A&M too.

SmegVol78 writes:

in response to TennHillbilly:

Add Texas, Texas A&M, since they are tied together by legislature, to the SEC West. Add Va Tech and Fl State to the East or you could go for NC and Duke to bolster Roundball.

NC and Duke to bolster BB - now that's a good thought. I'd go with GA Tech VA Tech for FB. Hows about UTC?

kdaff51 writes:

Its all about TV Market. We have the South covered so the expansion needs to gather more market. Tx, Tx. A&M, Va. Tech and North Carolina are the best bets.....Here you gain market share and look at the recruiting area you open up!!!

volzcrushm writes:

...AND, if there was a playoff instead of the BCS, would we be discussing expansion??

crimsonviper writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pretty good post Big..There is nothing like the SEC...Nothing even close.

volunteers4life writes:

Add TX, TX A&M, OK, and VT. Split to a 4 division format maintaining the rivalry games between divisions, and then add a quarterfinal game prior to the Championship at nuetral sites. Would bring in big money from ticket sales and tv rights, SEC could renegotiate its ESPN contract due to the additional 4 teams' games it could broadcast and bam! the $$$$ starts flowing in and we force the NCAA closer to an overall playoff format. It would be funner for all the SEC fans as more teams remain in play deeper into the saeson thanks to the adding in of a divisional playoff round to get to the championship.

Think Texas would say no to that? Especially considering Texas is getting 10.2 Mill appx. per year now and the SEC shared 11.2 Mill appx. per member institution last year. Folks, that means this number is going up, not down with these changes in addition to the inevitable and continual increases year over year that the SEC has been enjoying for the last 7-8 years already.

Oh yeah OK got 9.8 Mill and A&M received 9.22 Mill. I think the SEC brings this to TX and OK and the rest of the conferences will be fighting over second place from now until ESPN shuts its doors.

Link for Big 12 revenue sharing info:
http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/...

CabanX writes:

Ugh... I don't want to deal with Texas considering how they tried to screw over the rest of the Big 12 repeatedly. The last thing we need is a bunch of programs deciding to rewrite TV contracts to benefit themselves above other conference members.

I'm fine with Oklahoma, the Florida schools, Clemson, and the Virginia schools. I don't even want to screw with Texas. If they are convinced of their superiority, let them go Independent.

CabanX writes:

Also, Virginia Tech won't come without UVA. The state legislature will have a fit, and probably block it since it is a public university.

Maybe I'm crazy here, but I think we bring enough to the table as a conference to increase viewership well beyond the current numbers for any team we invite. So I'm not really that concerned about who we invite.

CroKev writes:

Since we're looking at TV markets, why not add USC and Illinois? While we're at it, let's go for Oregon, ND, and Ohio State? Man, the SEC is already the premier conference and has a whopping 12 teams already! It's already close to impossible to remain undefeated in this conference, which is normally necessary to make the NC game. Bama did it last year and UF and LSU only made it because of some late season losses in the Big 10/PAC 10. I might be for replacing some lower-rung teams (although Vandy and UK generally guarantee us bowl eligibility), but I'm sure not for adding additional teams.

blazeglory07 writes:

If were going to expand drop Ark. and LSU they are west of the mississippi river.Lets add Va.Tech,Florida St.,Miami,and either Clemson,Georgia Tech or North Carolina.These schools are in the southeast.They are not west of the mississippi river.

tsaecesnitsebhtruof writes:

in response to 02champs#209256:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Because people like you and I read his columns.

SummittsCourt writes:

It's the SEC - Southeastern Conference and its perfect the way it is. There is no need to add Mid west teams, south west teams and definately not northern teams. If they are not in the SE screw 'em.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to SmegVol78:

NC and Duke to bolster BB - now that's a good thought. I'd go with GA Tech VA Tech for FB. Hows about UTC?

Why would NC or Duke even consider leaving the ACC for the SEC. Football is a secondary sport to both NC and Duke just like BB is secondary in the SEC. While getting either of these schools in the SEC would be a dream come true for BB, it is still only a dream and won't happen.

VolsFanInNC writes:

in response to kdaff51:

Its all about TV Market. We have the South covered so the expansion needs to gather more market. Tx, Tx. A&M, Va. Tech and North Carolina are the best bets.....Here you gain market share and look at the recruiting area you open up!!!

I like that thought...Maybe then I could get a better variety of football games on local TV. I really don't enjoy watching ACC football on the local channels here.

dvhill100 writes:

I just don't see the SEC needing to expand just because everyone else is. When the SEC expanded into two divisions, there were some hard choices made concerning rivalries. TN had always played Alabama and Auburn every year. When we went to division play, one of them had to go. Rivalries are the life blood of college football. If we expand, we dilute the thing that makes college football so special.

VOLume27 writes:

in response to CabanX:

Also, Virginia Tech won't come without UVA. The state legislature will have a fit, and probably block it since it is a public university.

Maybe I'm crazy here, but I think we bring enough to the table as a conference to increase viewership well beyond the current numbers for any team we invite. So I'm not really that concerned about who we invite.

Good article, Adams.

It's phooey to say that Va. Teck wouldn't come w/o UVA. Although sponsored by UVA for 30 years each time the ACC expansion issue came up, the ACC understandably crapped on Teck and added 1) Ga. Tech. 2)Florida state. The North Carolina schools took turns casting the deciding "no" vote against Teck. Chokies understandably should have no allegiance to the ACC.

Texas/A&M would be a home run. But why would Texas, which owns the Big 12, give up its own conference (unless it was forced to)?

Although the first, best destinies of both Clemson and Florida State would be in the SEC, no way Jose -- they add neither new eyeballs nor new recruiting turf.

North Carolina IS the ACC. No way would they accept an invitation (unless the ACC blew up).

Re: The ACC, there are three teams that give the SEC new eyeballs and recruiting turf and are in the right situation.

**Va. Teck -- Tidewater recruiting (Teck owns Tidewater, along w/ UNC), DC & Tidewater TV markets.

**N.C. State -- Huge NC TV market. More recruiting. State would jump at the SEC chance -- tired of losing to Tidy Bowl Blue.

**Maryland -- DC and northeast corridor TV. Some recruiting penetration into Virginia. A stretch, but the Twerps would give the SEC more overall than, say, a Ga. Tech -- which gives the SEC absolutely nothing it doesn't have already (e.g., Atlanta).

mrvol2u writes:

Leave college football alone!!!! What do BP, Obama, and the heads of college football have in common? They all 3 can screw-up a great thing fast. The Pac-10 and Big-10 can add to 12 and then some readjustment by conferences that may have lost a team but stop there.

I love the regional games. I still enjoy the Tn.-Ky game. Games like that abound when the conference is geographically tight. Look at Ark.. They bolted to the S.E.C. and the fan base for the most part still yearns for the days of the Southwest Conference rivalries. Tn.-Tx would be a good game but would you trade it for the Fla. game?

Too may adjustments and we will have the same type of deal they have in pro-football. Very few games that really mean much outside of playoff games and the Super Bowl.

I love the game of college football and hope they leave it alone. I go to just about all the home UT games and at least 1 to 2 away games a year. I don't like the idea of super conferences. Just one mans opinion.

mtnbikrtn writes:

in response to blazeglory07:

If were going to expand drop Ark. and LSU they are west of the mississippi river.Lets add Va.Tech,Florida St.,Miami,and either Clemson,Georgia Tech or North Carolina.These schools are in the southeast.They are not west of the mississippi river.

Technically, Louisiana is east and west of the Mississippi River. LSU is on the east bank of the Mississippi.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to SECFB:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lane?Is that you?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Big 12 TV revenue pales in comparison to the SEC; so they don't hold a lot of leverage for expansion..The Big Ten is another story altogether;What they really want is a 16 team league; a pretty tall order that comes with many domino effects to others.History tells us the Big Ten tends to add by one school;The addition of one school would allow for a 2 division conference and a championship game but might not satisfy the TV deals they want that we have in the SEC..In the Big 12 Missouri is the school most unhappy because they justly receive 3 million less than UT and OK..Missouri could triple revenue by going Big Ten but that comes with a $20 million buy out and more money to buy in to the Big 10; WITH A $57 million AD budget thats a pretty big nut!!! In my eyes poaching teams from the big east like UCONN;Rutgers and Pittsburgh makes more sense for the Big 10 because it captures a broader TV revenue which is the ultimate goal..One thing is for sure;At the upcoming Big 12 conference the commish will point blank ask Mizzo and Neb. are you in or out; The answer will be I don't know..As far as SEC expansion goes it will be driven more by basketball than football which makes Louisville;UNC;Ga Tech and Duke the major players.

volsnationalchamps writes:

I agree with wanting Texas and if we have to take A&M that would be ok to. They are on the upswing of coming back to big time football. If we don't get them, there are others on the lists that would be great additions, true not the wow of Texas, but the SEC is the wow for dominating football the past 15 yrs basically. I could see GA Tech and Clemson or VA Tech in SEC and that is three good football prorams and not bad at basketball either. It would be great to get Texaxs and A&M for the west and VA Tech and GA Tech in East. That would be a Super Conference.

DancingOutlaw writes:

Why would Texas want to come here? Why play out the "de facto" NC game in a conf. championship? If you lose there's no chance for the NC. On the other hand texas can probably handle nebraska or whoever else emerges from the north on a regular basis. Better odds to get back into the NC. We don't need texas to be sucessful, and texas doesn't need us to be sucessful.

givehim6 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree other conferences want to grow to try to catch up with the SEC.

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to chbradshaw:

I don't see that Oklahoma is not a geographic fit. Norman is about three hours from Fayetteville.

Otherwise I agree with Adams. Any new teams need to be WOW teams.

The SEC basically raised South Carolina from the dead when they invited them in the early 90s. They have contributed nothing.

Arkansas contributed in basketball in the 90s but is not much now.

I don't think Florida State brings anything. Bobby Bowden was afraid of a tough schedule so he joined the ACC and FSU began a two decade descent to mediocrity. No need to rescue them from themselves.

I am not sure what Clemson is other than Danny Ford cheating a while back.

Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would make a pretty attractive addition and would add value to the overall conference more than the dilution they would bring.

The SEC Championship would be the de facto National Championship game. The SEC winner could play the ACC winner in the Orange Bowl while the Big Ten winner plays the Pac 10 winner in the Rose Bowl.

The winners of those two games could play in a BCS Championship game.

Unfortunately, Clemson, over the last decade or so, has been a better FB team than our Vols and certainly better than at least half the SEC teams.

Why should the ACC and Sorry 10 champions automatically qualify for what is in effect a Final Four. In all likelihood the Mountain West and possibly Big East champion will, in many years, be better.

I prefer eight 14 or even 16 team conferences with the eight conference champions in a playoff. I think this would give a true, undisputed, national champion.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The fix to that is instead of 8 conferences with 16 teams with conference championship games, you have 16 conferences of 8 teams with the conference winner entered into the 16 team playoff. Same number of post season games. Each team in a conference plays all other teams (7 games) plus 5 others for variety.

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Guys, this is all about the Big Tv networks...and money. Take Florida with their 17 million folks away...the remainder of the SEC combined in population would be about half the population of Texas...I haven't figured it up but its possible that Texas alone has more population than the entire SEC combined. The Big tTelevision are only interested in the number of fannies they could get before the TV sets. Ga. Tech, Clemson, VA. Tech are already in our back yard...this would not add the viewers that Big TV wants. Big TV with all its big money care nothing about rivalary games...its the big money guys.In addition Texas is football crazy.

voloffaith writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you suggesting that mister adams cannot come up with original material on his own? Plagarism was not your charge so ok there. Creativity issue on sec expansion conversation though......

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The worst part is that he goes by the name SECFB, and he still doesn't know which conference is the best or why it's the best.

DaddyVol writes:

This is off the subject but...

My wife and I drove from Nashville down to Quintin Alabama yesterday searching for the grave of her grandmother.

All I can say is OMG.

If you want to see one half azz backward place...the crotch of the earth...look no further than the entire state of Alabama.

It would take me a 20 chapter book to even begin to describe that experience.

Makes the movie "Deliverance" look like a stay at the Ritz Carlton...and I just DO NOT see what those sweet people are so darned proud of!

I will gladly continue to be a BIG ORANGE FAN, and thank God I live in the beautiful VOLUNTEER STATE of Tennessee!

GO VOLS

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think that is an excellent first step, only conferences with championship game will be invited to the playoffs.

wayoutwill writes:

What a joke article;you might just as well be writing about the 4th of never,IT AIN"T GONNA HAPPEN!

sm1 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't forget Fresno State.

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