John Adams: Expansion math would work well for SEC

John Adams

An SEC team winning a national championship is nothing new. But winning one against another SEC team gets your attention.

South Carolina and Florida might as well have been playing in Atlanta last week. At least they could have reduced their travel expenses.

Instead, the Gamecocks had to go all the way to Omaha, Neb., to win their second consecutive College World Series, this time at the expense of a divisional rival.

With three consecutive national championships in baseball, the SEC is starting to demonstrate football-like dominance. Kentucky just made the Final Four in basketball and probably would have won the whole shebang if the NCAA hadn't ruled Turkish center Enes Kanter ineligible.

At the risk of sounding provincial, I'm starting to wonder if the SEC has outgrown the NCAA. If it expanded to 16 teams, I wouldn't just be wondering.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive indicated there wasn't so much as a whisper about expansion at the conference's spring meetings last month. I get sad just thinking about it.

I've been following the SEC long enough to qualify as a traditionalist, but I'm also a realist. The nation's best conference could become even better - and wealthier - by expanding. And its tradition wouldn't have to be destroyed in the process.

My thoughts on expansion haven't changed since last summer, when every other day seemingly brought a different rumor, if not a substantive report of conference addition and subtraction. The conference that got my attention then and now is the Big 12. It just doesn't work.

It works even less since Nebraska has moved to the Big 10 and Colorado to the Pac-10. The Big 12 now has 10 teams. What does that tell you?It tells me that every mathematics professor in the conference should be appalled.

The Southwest Conference was fine until it went full-fledged outlaw on the way to oblivion. The Big Eight made sense, too. But the Big 12-SWC conglomeration didn't click even before attrition.

Geography is a factor. So is Texas' exalted status.

Nebraska couldn't take it. And it couldn't sit well with Oklahoma, either, especially since the Longhorns now have their own television network. In fact, Texas is on the verge of becoming a league of its own.

Where does that leave the rest of the conference? It should leave the best of the bunch looking elsewhere.

My latest expansion fantasy would put Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M in the SEC. The Cowboys and Aggies can't match the Sooners as a traditional football power, but they obviously have a passion for sports, and their boosters are willing to put their money where their passion is. Since 15 isn't a workable number, I also would add Florida State from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

You might argue that the Seminoles would have no incentive to leave a less competitive football conference since it gives them a better shot at a national title. If you make that argument, you're thinking small. You're also thinking status-quo.

My fantasy wouldn't include the NCAA. It would be a super conference composed of teams with similar interests that could make its own rules, which would be considerably less complex and enforced with common sense.

Sure, you would lose something. The NCAA basketball tournament and the CWS would go on without you. But a league as strong as this one could create its own championships and identity - not to mention a staggeringly lucrative television package.

Imagine four four-team divisions with the winners of each division advancing to the playoffs, which would be comprised of two semifinal match-ups and a championship game. You could have playoff series in basketball and baseball.

The model would be more pro than college. So would the caliber of play.

Great athletes already are drawn to the SEC. The allure would increase if the conference expanded and seceded from the NCAA.

Even Texas might get jealous.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 22

born2ride writes:

Kick out Vandy and the Black Rebel Bears and replace them with Texas and Oklahoma.

arkyvol writes:

"the model would be more pro than college. So would the caliber of play."

while we're at it, why not totally dispense with any connection with education or college. that way the jocks aren't bothered with trifling things like g.p.a.s or preparation for the 95% of them who will never cash a n.f.l. or n.b.a. check. we could call it something original, like the w.f.l. or the a.b.a.

i'm all for it if it separates the metastasizing cancer that is the athletic department from the underfunded, undersupported institution called the university of tennessee. its amazing to me how many of the so-called true blue vol supporters don't give a damn about u.t.'s academic reputation.

volunteer_cowboy writes:

just bring in Miami and florida st.

9krpms writes:

I don't think it works, but sure would be fun to be a part of that revolution!

flatrock writes:

I think others should refuse to play Texas, BYU and Notre Dame...let them play each other 6 times per year...whoopee!

Bigger_Al writes:

Nurse Tebow the circumcision aficionado.

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

another dumb article by JA. You should really stop speculating and write on something that is actually occurring. My wild guess would lead me to believe this will never happen and that your simply blowing smoke up our *****!!! I just did you "expansion math" and my calculations tell me that your big ole dumb ***!!! GO VOLS!!!

murrayvol writes:

The scenario may not play out exactly as John Adams envisions but (more) change is coming and many powers that be are already thinking seriously about it......even when they say "I know nothing".

buzz29 writes:

Interesting, wishful speculation. My wishes: 1) If the SEC expands, that it adds only teams that are located geographically in the Southeast. 2) Despite the greed for money, that we focus on academics, schools' traditions, and traditional rivalries as top priorities. 3) That the NCAA remains intact, but enforces its rules in a consistent manner as a result of somehow being held accountable for its actions.

Tulane75 writes:

The pilgrimage to Omaha is what makes it special!

I'm not sure why anyone would want a Texas or Oklahoma school in the SouthEASTERN Conference.

Common sense issues aside though, expansion would further diminish Tennessee's already reduced chances of ever winning anything!

LJS1984 writes:

in response to volunteer_cowboy:

just bring in Miami and florida st.

Miami can't fill their off campus pro stadium. That won't fit in with the rest of the SEC. Clemson and or Florida State would be much better adds than Miami.

Steve_2 writes:

in response to Tulane75:

The pilgrimage to Omaha is what makes it special!

I'm not sure why anyone would want a Texas or Oklahoma school in the SouthEASTERN Conference.

Common sense issues aside though, expansion would further diminish Tennessee's already reduced chances of ever winning anything!

Hey Tulane, We are not scared of Texas or OK. When did they last win a national championship of some status. (Vince Young, Texas) They do not want to venture into the mighty SEC. If you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Vols.

Tulane75 writes:

in response to Steve_2:

Hey Tulane, We are not scared of Texas or OK. When did they last win a national championship of some status. (Vince Young, Texas) They do not want to venture into the mighty SEC. If you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Vols.

You missed my point, as they do not qualify for our club! If you don't care about geography, why not bring in Oregon State? Then, at least we can be amused by the matchup between the gameCocks and the Beavers. Go gameCocks!

VolGrad writes:

Rabble-rouser.

"Ain't" gonna' happ'n.

dislikethemtrolls writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch_Doctors_Punk, what are you doing up trolling on a Vol site at 2:49 a.m.? What an idiot.

tennezz writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know who he is...He is that salesman you get your panties from!

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

I really do not care for the pro games and would lament further deviation from tradition and the student athelete model. I am dating myself but I remember when announcers would call out the acad majors of the players before that got too embarrasing. There was a time when you would see a future doctor, lawyer, dentist, or engineer out on Shields-Watkins field. Most recently David Yancy was one of my favorite players (Nuclear Engineer student).

jgm2qg writes:

We are the SEC not a division of Southern teams playing football. So why add Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., and Texas AM. Why not have a 24 team conference that not only strengthens the football program, but also the basketball program. Add Florida St., Miami, UNC, Louisville, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, V Tech,Clemson Georgia Tech, NC St. and Memphis. Then we divide the division into four sectors Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest SEC. add a game at the end of regular season as the North champion and the South Champion then have the SEC championship between the North and South SEC. North Championship could be in the Music City Bowl and the South Championship could be in the Outback Bowl and the SEC game could be in the Peach Bowl. I know Memphis and and Louisville, right? This concept adds to the basketball talent of the SEC also. We split the East and West right down the middle of Tennessee so that would put Tennessee in a 6 team Northwest sector with Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest. See where we are going now we play two teams we have learned to hate over the last few years with UNC and Virginia Tech. Then Duke has David Cutcliff. We could still play Bama, Florida, and Georgia which now puts us at 9 games with 3 other teams that are non conference to play. Then the North divisional Championship and the South divisional championship and the SEC Championship plus the National Championship which puts us at 15 games. This now pushes other conferences to have a conference playoff for the extra $$$ and makes other conferences have to expand due to us taking teams from their conferences. We then become a much stronger basketball conference with adding UNC and Duke along with adding more football strength. As for leaving the NCAA... has anyone ever watched the 30 for 30 Small Potatoes: who killed the USFL? That is what will happen to the SEC if we broke off.

Troopervol70 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

Math would agree johnboy adams get out of reporting but that dont mean he will darn it!!!

Tulane75 writes:

in response to Steve_2:

Hey Tulane, We are not scared of Texas or OK. When did they last win a national championship of some status. (Vince Young, Texas) They do not want to venture into the mighty SEC. If you want to be the best, you have to compete with the best. Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Vols.

The SEC is already he best! Texas doesn't sweeten the deal!

mtnbikrtn writes:

Tulane's not getting back in and neither is Sewanee!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features