With the Big Ten potentially expanding to 16 teams, SEC commissioner Mike Slive quickly announced that the SEC would not sit by and lose their position of supremacy
. Interpret his stance however you want, but most took it to mean that if the Big Ten expands, the SEC will expand too. If the SEC were to expand by four teams most predicted it would be Texas, Texas A&M, Miami and Florida State. You also saw Oklahoma and Clemson mentioned. Texas is a no brainer. The school's profile makes sense. The geography makes sense and it would expand the SEC's TV footprint. To compliment the Texas addition, you would probably want to add A&M or Oklahoma. However, I don't know if any of the ACC schools floated would bring as much to the table. They all have great football traditions, but neither Florida State, Miami nor Clemson would bring in new TV markets. And while I think all three are fine programs, none bring any unique prestige to the SEC. But I still think the SEC could/would look to the ACC to fill out its expansion, only with two unlikely targets -- Duke and North Carolina.
Why Duke and North Carolina makes the most sense1. Brings in new TV markets.
The North Carolina TV markets are not huge, but where else can the SEC go? As I mentioned earlier, they already have a strong TV footprint in South Carolina and Florida.
2. It adds prestige to the conference.
North Carolina is the flagship school of the state and one of the better public universities in the country. Duke's reputation is well known and would finally give Vanderbilt a fellow private school to commiserate with
3. They wouldn't threaten any football powers.
The SEC doesn't need help on the football front. Adding Texas will already shift some of the power. Duke and North Carolina would not. They might pop up and have nice seasons on occasion, but neither is going to become a perennial power.
4. It would make the SEC the premier basketball conference.
Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky would be a hard triumvirate to top. Throw in the Texas and a few hot middle of the road SEC teams and you would easily have the most talked about hoops season every year.
5. It would kill the ACC.
The remaining ACC schools would probably form some sort of super conference with the Big East leftovers, but there wouldn't be a hoops matchup to carry what has traditionally been a basketball conference.
Would Duke and Carolina leave their comfort zone? They are both so attached to the ACC. Neither school liked giving up power when the ACC expanded. If they were to leave for the SEC, they would see their voices diminished that much more. But money talks. If the SEC came to them with the Godfather offer, they would certainly listen.
Labels: Conference Expansion, Duke, North Carolina