The SEC spring meetings don't start until Tuesday in Destin, Fla. But I know how they will end.
They will end with SEC commissioner Mike Slive announcing the conference made a lot of money this year. It's as predictable as the outcome of the Tennessee-Kentucky football game.
Last year, the league sent $17 million each school's way. Most of that was derived from the conference's lucrative TV deals, whose value can be measured in exposure as well as dollars.
Both the revenue and exposure are paying off.
The conference receives most acclaim for having won five consecutive national championships in football. But the widespread success of its rank-and-file members is another indicator of the league's prosperity.
In a football-dominated conference, the SEC's top schools are generally regarded as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. But you can't ignore what's going on with the other six schools, most of whom are making significant inroads and demonstrating a willingness to spend money.
Arkansas is the best example.
The Razorbacks have never won an SEC championship in football, and no one confuses their basketball program with the one Nolan Richardson built in the 1990s. But they're obviously not satisfied with their SEC status or they wouldn't have upped football coach Bobby Petrino's salary to more than $3.5 million a year and extended his contract to seven years after he led the Hogs to the Sugar Bowl in 2010. Nor would they have sent basketball coach John Pelphrey on his way and hired Mike Anderson away from Missouri for $2.2 million a year.
Arkansas already has some of the best athletic facilities in the country, and a state-of-the-art football center is scheduled for completion in 2013.
South Carolina, which, like Arkansas, didn't join the SEC until 1992, is also flexing newfound muscles. It won the national championship in baseball and the SEC East in football last year. Both were school firsts.
Such success is being rewarded. Baseball coach Ray Tanner now has an incentive-enhanced contract that could pay him as much as $750,000, and South Carolina increased the salary of football coach Steve Spurrier to $2.55 million annually.
If the Gamecocks are willing to pay for winners, they're also apt to pay basketball coach Darrin Horn to leave if his fourth season isn't any better than his last two.
Nobody pays a college basketball coach more than Kentucky, which gives John Calipari about $4 million a year. And look for him to get a raise if the Wildcats win the national championship in 2012.
Kentucky football doesn't travel in those kind of circles. But it's not mired in the past, either. The Wildcats have played in a school-record five consecutive bowl games.
Mississippi State is doing even better. The Bulldogs finished 15th nationally last season, their highest ranking since 1999, and promptly more than doubled the salary of second-year coach Dan Mullen to $2.65 million a year.
Vanderbilt isn't winning in football but it's not losing happily. Otherwise, it would have stuck with coach Robbie Caldwell, who won only two games as a rush-order replacement for Bobby Johnson last year.
The Commodores are doing famously elsewhere. Their baseball program is ranked in the top five nationally, and their next basketball team should pop up in preseason top 10s.
Ole Miss finished last in the SEC West last season in football and is apt to do so again this fall. But at least, it's not losing cheap (coach Houston Nutt makes about $2.8 million a year).
And it still has The Grove.