Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Since the summer's coming to a close, I had to actually leave the house and go to an actual place of work today. While I worked, I was listening to the Scott Van Pelt Show; they're in the midst of Pac-12 days and were talking to coaches from the conference's South division today. They also spoke with Commissioner of the Future Larry Scott, and he had some interesting things to say. I don't have exact audio quotes or a transcript, but the gist of what he said was that he was certain that another round of conference expansion is not far off and that he feels it's only a matter of time until we see the Super-Conference movement. I think he's right.

Come with him if you want to live...through conference expansion.
Before the Big-12 made their call on the Longhorn Network, there were new defection rumblings coming out of College Station. The Aggies choice for a new home? Why, the SEC of course. And the rumor mill has Oklahoma as a likely moving partner; the Sooners also wanted out from under the 'Horns new media shadow before the arbitration. For the SEC, it's a great move picking up the Texas-market and a traditional, storied powerhouse.
But is 14 teams enough? Scott mentioning super-conferences has set off the tingling nerve of 16- or even 20-team leagues. And probably the death of the Big-12. To me, 20 is too big, but 16 is just right. The Pac-12 picking up 4 more teams, at least one likely to come from Texas (Tech?), would spark a free-for-all. A&M and OU would certainly move to the SEC while the newly entrenched media kings in Austin would go independent. There were already Kansas to the Big East  rumors last year and the conference already has TCU. Oklahoma State moves with T.Tech and KSU goes with the Jayhawks, Missouri re-applies to the Big Ten and Iowa State finds the mid-major home it always truly should have belonged to. Meanwhile, on the east coast, the ACC loses two teams to the SEC (but who? do you go for historic/geographic fits, or new markets?) and the rest scramble to get into whatever ACC/Big East basketball-heavy behemoth remains.

I know it's a long way off, but I'll admit, expansion talk always gets me excited. Since money's the true driving force behind everything, I think the main thrust of expansion will be into new markets; new places and populations to sell your brand to and recruit from. Texas is the biggest target with it's central location and room for multiple conferences; the PAC and SEC would certainly eye a lone-star toehold, even if it means taking a Sooner State tag-along. Beyond that, the SEC has better pickings east of the Mississippi than the PAC does out west. Boise's a good program but a shit market. BYU's already independent and Utah State sucks, everything else is the definition of mid-major. There is Nevada, but Las Vegas isn't the biggest audience in the world. The SEC, on the other hand, could either stack the deck with schools already covered by the brand, but still conference-worthy (FSU, Clemson, Miami) or branch out themselves, maybe to the DC market (VA Tech)? The Big Ten would be in a tougher spot; they'd most likely have to puch towards NYC and Philly or further south and/or west.

It's pretty much Texas and then what?
Obviously, right now, the possibilities are endless. I finally got over all this once the season kicked-off, and hadn't thought about it again until last week. But I'll be damned if Dr. Futurebrain didn't really get me going again today. And I'll also say this about Scott, he's not old-school and he's not from inside the system; he won't simply be waiting around for Slive or Delaney to make a move and then react. Remember how close he was to stealing the entire Big-XII South last year? Larry's a hustler y'all - cash rules everything around him. I'm just glad the conference I'm attached to can always win - I'd love a 16-team conference of four 4-team divisions with a mini-playoff for the conference title. That's nine league games with a possibility of two more. The local FCS teams better get ready to do some traveling to fill those ooc spots.

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