Ten Candidates For The SEC’s 14th School

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By the time you read this, Texas A&M may officially be the SEC’s 13th member. The not-yet-announced race to be the 14th member has already begun, at least in the realm of Internet and media speculation. Since it appears the 12 current members do not want to add schools within existing SEC states, let’s examine — and arbitrarily rank — the contenders for the 14th position.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football Teams 14
1. Virginia Tech

Why it’s a fit: Like most of the SEC, Tech football has its roots in the old SIAA/Southern Conference. After a quarter-century as an independent, Tech has already made two conference moves in the last 20 years and its ties to the ACC are by no means secure. Under Frank Beamer’s long tenure Tech football has a distinguished record — seven straight 10-win seasons and 19 consecutive postseason appearances — and it is based in a football-focused small town that fits the SEC’s profile perfectly.

Why they would join: Tech gives the SEC not just Virginia’s flagship football school — sorry, Cavalier fans — but arguably the most marketable college football brand in the northeastern/mid-Atlantic corridor. Tech’s alumni base extends well into the DC market and its consistent level of success makes it television mainstay. Adding Tech also restores the balance between the SEC’s East and West divisions without the need for further realignment. For Tech, SEC membership would solidify a football identity that has been in flux since it first joined the Big East in 1991.

Why they won’t join: Tech is a big fish in the shallow waters of ACC football. Moving to the SEC may be too hard a transition on-the-field.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football Teams 14
2. Oklahoma

Why it’s a fit: In purely football terms, Oklahoma may be the biggest prize available. Onetime Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops has led the Sooners to an 80% winning record, seven Big 12 championships and a BCS title in 12 seasons. Norman is as crazed as any SEC hometown boasting an 82,000 seat stadium.

Why they would join: The departures of Colorado, Nebraska and Texas A&M has left Big 12 competition lacking. Given Oklahoma’s football pedigree and ambition, trading Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech for LSU, Auburn and Alabama seems like a no-brainer.

Why they wouldn’t join: Many observers believe Oklahoma won’t make a conference move without Oklahoma State. But the bigger issue is Texas. Unlike Texas A&M, Oklahoma doesn’t appear eager to cut its ties to Austin. Oklahoma-Texas is the axis of southwestern college football and Oklahoma is more likely to pursue a reconstituted Big 12 or a package move with Texas (and Oklahoma State) to the Pac-12.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football Teams 14
3. Missouri

Why it’s a fit: The football has been good under Gary Pinkel, but the real attraction here is Missouri’s two main television markets, Kansas City and St. Louis, that would give the SEC greater leverage in future television negotiations.

Why they would join: Missouri isn’t wedded to the Big 12 or the Oklahoma-Texas axis and it would likely be the easiest school to add right away. It would also be a strategic move to keep Missouri away from the Big 10.

Why they wouldn’t join: Missouri may have great television markets but it’s not a football-first state. Culturally, the school is a better fit for the Big 10.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
4. Texas

Why it’s a fit: The SEC has pined for Texas since the 1991 expansion and with the Big 12′s imminent collapse, there would never be a better time to make what would be the biggest move in recent college football history.

Why they would join: Because the Longhorn Network fails to build an audience, thwarting Austin’s reputed desire for Notre Dame-like independence. Rather than rebuild the Big 12 or become an afterthought in the Pac-12, joining the SEC gives the conference a one-two punch in Texas and likely secures the SEC’s dominance for decades.

Why they wouldn’t join: The SEC is an “all-for-one, one-for-all” conference, and Texas doesn’t play nicely with other children. Just witness how they’ve wrecked the Big 12. Adding Texas introduces an unstable element into a stable, well-functioning conference.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
5. North Carolina

Why it’s a fit: Butch Davis left the program in a lurch, and Carolina is a basketball-first school, but culturally, UNC fits in better with the SEC than almost any other school on this list.

Why they would join: Charlotte is a good television market and a UNC-South Carolina matchup is far more attractive than an ACC game against Boston College. Geographically, UNC falls right into the SEC East, avoiding any awkward realignment discussions.

Why they wouldn’t join: Leaving the ACC means turning your back on nearly 60 years of basketball-first tradition and the close alliance of the fourth North Carolina schools at the conference’s core. That’s a lot to give up just to be an also-ran in SEC East football.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
6. West Virginia

Why it’s a fit: Outside of the SEC and Texas, it’s hard to find a more football-crazed fan base than West Virginia. The school’s football tradition dates back to 1891 — no school has won more games without winning a national title than West Virginia — and in recent years the Mountaineers have claimed six conference titles.

Why they would join: The Big East is likely the next conference to implode after the Big 12. West Virginia, an independent before Big East football began in 1991, can move into the SEC without much of a fuss.

Why they wouldn’t join: There isn’t much that ties West Virginia to southern football. The school’s biggest rivalries are in the northeast. And the Moutaineers’ recent coaching drama doesn’t bode well for the program’s immediate future.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
7. Oklahoma State

Why it’s a fit: Like Texas A&M, the Cowboys may be ready to step out of their in-state rival’s shadow and forge a new identity in the SEC.

Why they would join: Oklahoma State has an excellent stadium and a wealthy booster in T. Boone Pickens who will likely ensure the program is competitive in the SEC.

Why they wouldn’t join: In the end, politics and tradition likely keeps Stillwater and Norman together. SEC leaders may also be weary of settling for the second-best school in yet another state.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
8. North Carolina State

Why it’s a fit: The SEC really, really wants a foothold in North Carolina and the other school won’t join.

Why they would join: N.C. State is arguably the weakest link in the ACC’s core and it would sacrifice the least by switching conferences.

Why they wouldn’t join: N.C. State football still aspires to mediocrity. The Wolfpack hasn’t even managed an ACC title since 1979.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
9. Maryland

Why it’s a fit: It’s not. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports floated Maryland as a possible 14th member.

Why they would join: Maryland probably wants out of the ACC. The school has a new athletic director, basketball coach and football coach, and there’s long-simmering animosity within the alumni base towards North Carolina bias of the conference.

Why they wouldn’t join: Like Missouri, Maryland really aspires to the Big 10, where the football is boring and indifferent. College Park in the SEC makes about as much sense as, well, Boston College in the ACC.

Southeastern Conference Expansion SEC Football 14th School
10. Texas Christian

Why it’s a fit: Like Maryland, TCU is on this list because one media member suggested it, in this case Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. Of course, that was before TCU lost to Baylor 50-48, an offense against football that probably warrants the NCAA’s death penalty.

Why they would join: Wetzel’s only real argument here is that TCU is located in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is great television market.

Why they wouldn’t join: TCU is a small, private university. It doesn’t fit the SEC’s profile at all. Wetzel notes the exception of Vanderbilt. But Vanderbilt is a founding member. It’s like the Green Bay Packers and their public ownership structure; it’s not something the SEC is likely to replicate anytime soon.

Who do you think will be (or want to be) the SEC’s 14th school?

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COMMENTS

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  • To Brad Sage…..yes, Maryland IS a southern state in the traditional sense. Looking at things from a historical point of view, Maryland has always been considered part of the South.

    • I agree with the statement that Maryland has always been considered a southern state in a historical and traditional sense. If not, why would Southern Living include them in their articles and features and yes, Texas is as well but the University of Texas can take their elitist attitude and shove it. Nobody realized just how far Alabama knocked the Texas football team into oblivion during the National Championship game and their finding it hard to climb out of the dung pile and regain the stature that they had in 2009.
      The SEC will look for teams in areas where they do not currently have TV coverage to expand their market base. I think Va Tech, W Va, or Mizzou would be great choices. Funny to say that WV isn’t a southern state when it borders with Kentucky. I think if you can have Kentucky in the SEC or Arkansas then location wouldn’t hurt W Va.

  • UNC, OU and OSU. If we could somehow split up the Oklahoma/Texas brotherhood, I think OU,OSU and the SEC would serve each other just fine. A footthold in UNC would help even things out in the east, AND bring in a school that has the potential to grow…(and brings more firepower to the SEC in other sports, i.e. basketball.) Personally, UT can suck an egg, they just don’t fit the SEC bill at all. It’d be hard for me to EVER root for them, and I’ll root for any SEC team.

  • I would like to see Clemson or FSU. Both schools have great entrances, have a similar style of play to the rest of the league and would keep geographical balance. I wouldn’t want Georgia Tech in because of the option, that style of play is not a good fit for the SEC.

  • To say Va. Tech’s transition on the field would be difficult just isn’t factual.

    This is a team that averages 11 wins a season, storied program, legendary coach, etc.

    At worst, Va. Tech would go 9-3 (6-2 in SEC play) every season if put in the SEC East.

    • That’s a bold statement. I would like to see how they do in the SEC. They have a ton of talent in Virginia and it would be good for the SEC to add them. I just don’t see them going 9-3 every year.

  • None of these schools fit. Absolutely none of them. Neither does Texas A&M.

    • I may be an Auburn fan, and have an agreement to disagree with you. But on this one, you’re right. I like SEC football to stay in the southeast. We have a good thing going

  • From a “fits nicely in the the East” standpoint, Clemson, Georgia Tech or Florida State would make nice additions. They all bring more than just football, too.

  • I cannot believe no one has mentioned FSU in every post—-you have been dodging FSU for 20 years. UF blocked us twice. Is it that we beat, UF last year, USC in the bowl game and Bama in 2007?? While we have been down against UF the past 6 years, FSU is a natural powerhouse for the SEC. You’ll take a weak Miami, UNC or VaTech over a surging powerhouse like FSU????? Really?

  • I say FSU for sure…… would make the UF/FSU rival even bigger, and have more meaning to boot…… Fisher has them on the rise, and would a good fit in SEC for sure.

  • I know the SEC already has the Atlanta market, but Georgia Tech was a charter member of the SEC and it would be great to have them back where they belong.

  • FSU is the obvious choice for all the reasons OK wouldn’t come. Joining makes them more competitive in the FL high school scene/recruiting, makes the FL rivalry even more intense and they bring a good, not great, but good TV audience with a fan base that travels very well. They would be very competitive in baseball and add a solid hoops team. There is no way UNC, NC state, OK, OK state come to the SEC as singles plus UnC, and by default NC state, never leave the ACC! We don’t want Mizzou, WVU, Maryland or VT. Texas is going to the PAC-10 or 12 or 16, whatever it is, because that makes the most sense for them. They have no desire to play an SEC schedule and joining the SEC really opens the door to Texas high school recruiting more than it is now. FSU is the choice. GT would make sence if they were any good but they aren’t and have a limited fan base. The Dawgs are the draw for GA as a state, GT is the Vandy of Georgia and we don’t need that (and I played hoops at VU and love what we are doing in baseball and basketball), we need to add another football school.

  • Why not the University of Virginia? They are a quintessential southern school. Granted, they don’t contribute much from a football standpoint (or basketball for that matter), but they do have great baseball and other sports. They open up the Richmond and D.C. markets. They don’t have any major rivalries in an ACC that is dominated by the North Carolina schools. If they are worried about being competitive in the SEC, they have not been competitive in the ACC for a number of years, so what do they have to lose? They are one of the top academic institutions in the country. I think if Va Tech (which offers nothing beyond football and TV markets) balks then Virginia should be an adequate target.

  • Supposedly the presidents in the Southeastern Conference voted tonight and will extend an invite to Texas A&M. The Aggies will have a press conference tomorrow to announce that they are accepting the invitation to the SEC.

    Rumors are flying that the top two schools being considered are Missouri and West Virginia. The rumors also have it that the presidents voted to allow Mike Slive to have authority when dealing with both of those schools.

    We’ll see what happens…

  • Virginia Tech is a perfect fit for the SEC. Plus, it would give college football fans in the commonwealth a taste of fast-paced, explosive football instead of the thin gruel being served up every week in the ACC.

  • Just say NO to texass. FSU–turned us down after stringing us along in the early 90′s–so no, they missed the boat. Maryland–no; in the area of football, they have crabcakes…and they suck. Carolina schools all believe that basketball is where it’s at and are more desirous to stick together. West Virginia–just say no; tennycee has givenus too many inbred toothless hicks already, we don’t need more. VT would be competitive in 2-3 yrs after joining–I’d vote yes if it was up to me. Mizzou–doesn’t really add anything in football; would need 5-8 yrs to fit in; lot of ass whippins in the meanime. OU–afraid of competition.
    If I could have anyone I wanted: aTm, UNC, VT, and OU. UNC purely for basketball.

    • If this post shows your intelligence, you are certainly lacking. Being insulting has nothing to do with who should be the 14th team in the SEC. This coming from a fan of the team that shows such a lack of respect for others that they poison trees. Maybe you need to rethink that statement about the toothless inbred hick!!!

  • I would say we go for 16 and invite Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as well as a Virginia Tech or FSU or West Virginia… I do not believe the SEC would have any issue with OU playing Texas as their final regular season game, ala Florida – FSU, USC – Clemson, Georgia – Georgia Tech…

  • Florida State for sure…Competitive in pretty much every sport…Enhances the strength or the rivalry with UF and makes geographical sense…The SEC then, almost, has a monopoly on the state of Florida’s talent pool…They are on their way to becoming the football powerhouse they once were and this happens sooner, rather than later…Passionate fan-base…What more could we want?

    I really do believe the thing standing in the way of this is UF…They don’t want FSU in the SEC…The same way USC doesn’t want Clemson in the conference…Stop being babies guys and man up to the competition.

  • I agree with those that have said that if we are going to do it, it should be a team from the East coast. The two top candidates would be Clemson on VT. Why bring in another school that will get punished in football. Both of these schools have a good tradition and fan base. I feel they would bring the most to the table.

  • Bring in N.C. State. They’ll deliver the North Carolina market, won’t challenge the existing powers and more importantly I live in Raleigh, so I’ll be able to see Alabama play every few years without having to travel!

  • I see these FLA.ST. fans begging to get in .If a current member says no then that should go! Just as my Gamecocks say NO to Clem’s son! Why would any team want to share the wealth and stature of the SEC with thier bitter rival? UNC…Basketball ,they will not leave unless the ACC implodes. IMO the SEC is just fine as it is!!! If it must happen VT or WVU do expand the market but I still like the SEC the way it is! By adding teams you only water down the talent pool! We have the best prep players here in the deep south!

  • And S.Carolina does bring major clout by bringing back to back National championships in the CWS to the SEC

  • App. State is looking to move up.

    • App State needs to start at the bottom just like everyone else. Conference USA or the Sun Belt will pick them up when the Big East and Big 12 have to start picking off their members.

  • The only two programs that even should be considered are the Sooners and the Noles. If the Sooners are a distant possibility than FSU is the without a doubt the next best choice period end of story. Will it open a new TV market, no not really but that is what Texas A&M did so the SEC is gaining a huge TV market with their addition. But it will fortify the SEC with another Football powerhouse “which make no mistake about it Jimbo Fisher is doing just that.” But FSU not only brings a big-time football program into the league but a big-time baseball program into it also which again the SEC dominates in baseball. As far as entering into TV markets they can do that with the 15th & 16th schools if that is where this expansion is heading “probably so,” but they need to take the best football program available and if you can’t have Oklahoma than FSU is right there next to the Sooners. Think of the match-ups that creates for the NATIONAL TV audience “which believe me that is what TV exec’s look at also,” there will be annual match-ups against Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee & possibly Bama and if they can keep their annual match-up with Miami those kinds of match-ups will have the boys at ESPN creaming in their pants!!!!! FSU to the SEC has a nice ring to it!!!!!

  • I, like many others, am confused about Maryland and TCU making the list before Clemson and Florida State. I am definitely one of those that pulls for a NC team although I realize VA Tech or FSU fit better. I really think there is something to be said to have a monopoly on the power of both money making sports, and I want to see someone with some academic strength added.

  • Clemson,clemson,clemson ….they already have rivalries with Georgia and South Carolina.