SEC football should consider further expansion on one condition4 min read
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey borrowed from Bob Dylan previous summertime at his conference’s media times when he teased what would before long sharpen into target: “I’m heading to depart you with this a person last reminder: ‘Times are altering,’ Sankey mentioned then. “It’s not simply a tune lyric. It is a fact.”
Two times later, news broke of the SEC’s plunder of the Big 12’s prized items, Oklahoma and Texas. That lit the fuse on a round of conference realignment that the Large 10 proved is considerably from completed when, previous week, it seized Southern Cal and UCLA from the Pac-12.
With their new additions, the SEC and Massive Ten will characteristic 16 teams.
Now, a unique Dylan music title, recorded a long time immediately after the hit Sankey referenced, seems correct: Issues have altered.
And they’re not performed altering.
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Hope the SEC and Huge 10 to proceed their quest to develop even larger, richer and a lot more highly effective mega conferences that morph the Electric power Five into the Tremendous Two, while other conferences struggle for scraps.
To keep its place atop school football’s throne, the SEC ought to be open to extra expansion opportunities, but deal with with care.
Do not insert just to insert. Focus on high-quality more than quantity, and nurture the SEC’s well-manicured model relatively than diluting it.
Talk to a supporter of an SEC soccer staff what they really like about the sport and the convention, and they’ll be aware the rivalries, the lifestyle, the pageantry, and the tradition. People factors, merged with a top quality on-area product, make SEC football particular.
SEC football is crimson Solo cups in the Grove.
It’s singing Tom Petty in The Swamp.
It is Kyle Area pretty much shaking in the din.
It is Legend from Alabama sounding off on “The Paul Finebaum Show.”
It’s getting lit and having crawfish at a tailgate in Louisiana.
It is a black costume and cowboy boots in South Carolina.
It’s boats on the Tennessee River.
SEC soccer is woven into the tapestry of the South, and vice versa.
USC and UCLA enhance the Massive Ten’s value (hi, Los Angeles media market), and, compared with past additions Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska, they could enhance the total merchandise. But the Significant Ten’s persistent enlargement attempts haven’t cultivated a outlined identification or footprint.
Rutgers and UCLA are divided by 2,800 miles. They will get in touch with the same league house. Envision currently being a Maryland volleyball participant and having to vacation to USC for a midweek convention match.
The SEC’s different expansions have expanded its footprint without leapfrogging swaths of the nation. Welcoming Texas and Oklahoma into a convention that properties Arkansas, LSU and Missouri tends to make feeling in a way that bringing Piscataway and Hollywood less than the identical roof does not.
If the Pac-12’s leftovers search for an exit, go away them for the Significant Ten or Significant 12 to look at.
You will not locate a solitary Cracker Barrel or Waffle Home in Washington condition. Sorry, Huskies, your soccer program is respectable, but the SEC is not for you. Exact for Oregon.
So, which universities would make feeling for the SEC? Allow the additions of Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Texas serve as a product for how to boost the solution while remaining on brand.
Clemson would be a slam dunk, while the ACC’s grant of rights deal that operates by way of 2036 could complicate an exit. Also in the ACC, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech would suit the SEC’s identity. Miami would stretch the footprint and split from the Southern college or university-city mildew, but the Hurricanes boast football pedigree and would supply rivalry video games in opposition to Florida and FSU, ought to the Seminoles join.
The SEC corralled the Oklahoma Town media current market by welcoming the Sooners, but Oklahoma Point out remains for the taking. The Cowboys would be a intelligent suit, and locking up Bedlam as a conference clash would remember to admirers and television executives, alike.
Matters have changed, but some matters remain the very same.
The SEC even now possesses a properly-crafted, recognizable, cherished and worthwhile brand, and when eyeing expansion possibilities, it should keep on to retain that manufacturer in brain.
Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the Usa Right now Community. Follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer.