Friday, September 9, 2011

West Virginia Should Be Next On SEC's Radar

With the SEC maybe/kinda/sorta adding Texas A&M to their conference, the next step is finding a 14th team (then maybe a 15th or 16th team). It really shouldn't be all that difficult.

Forget raiding the ACC. The SEC has no reason to do so and really would have a hard time doing it. Clemson? Florida State? Miami? Georgia Tech? That wouldn't expand the SEC's footprint at all. The conference already has South Carolina, Florida and Georgia and would probably anger those schools if the add to their territories. The North Carolina schools? No way would any of them leave each other. Maryland, Virginia and Boston College make little sense to add. Virginia Tech would be a nice find, but the Hokies have a perfect thing going with the ACC. They have been the dominant team since the ACC expanded -- why would they give that up?

Also ... and I know this gets thrown to the curb ... but the ACC schools do value the educational value of the conference. To be lumped in with Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, North Carolina, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech is a big deal. That's not the slight the other schools, but those are some premiere institutes of higher learning.

So the SEC must look elsewhere.

They could keep looking west at other Big XII schools but do any of them make sense? Texas wouldn't join the SEC now. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State seem resigned to join the Pac-12/16 if things get bad. You can't add Baylor or Texas Tech because, again, you would just duplicate that area (plus Tech will pair up with the Longhorns wherever they go). Missouri just isn't sexy enough to add but could be a fit if they can't find anyone else. I'm not sure any other Big XII school works for them (though Kansas would make SEC hoops much more interesting).

I honestly believe the Big XII will survive. If anything, we are seeing the Big XII act in unison over this whole A&M deal. There is buzz that BYU would love to join the conference and that would be quite a get for the league. If that happens, expect the Big XII to stay alive for a while.

The league that looks like it could get pillaged is the Big East. To me, the SEC would be smart to add West Virginia.

West Virginia is a perfect fit for the SEC. They are a big state school who are nuts about their football team. While the state of West Virginia really isn't that big of a get as far as audience wise, you still get some love in western Pennsylvania and the northern Virginia/DC area.

West Virginia brings a very solid football program. They have been the Big East's best team since the big expansion of a few years ago. Don't you think some of those fertile western PA guys might take a look at going a bit south if they know they'll be in the SEC? Of course. They will not disappoint the football side of things.

Basketball-wise, this is a program that went to a Final Four two years ago. They have Jerry West, for crying out loud. Just imagine how a West Virginia-Kentucky hoops rivalry could materialize.

It just makes perfect sense.

1 comment:

Da-ud said...

"That's not the slight the other schools, but those are some premiere institutes of higher learning."
Well, actually, they're "premier" institutes of higher learning. And I know you meant not "to" slight the others.
But seriously, your call is perfect. WVU fits in many ways: it is the land grant *and* the liberal arts college for the state of WV, giving it a similar profile to UK, UT, UGa and UF. Plus, it fits in the East so well. Just wish AU could move to the East too (with a lock crossover on UA). those AU-WVU games were good. We could send Vandy west, I guess with a lock crossover with UT.