With talk of Big 12 expansion, who would be best candidates to join SEC?
All the offseason talk regarding Big 12 expansion seems like a lot of hot air. While we don’t necessarily want to burst that conference’s proverbial balloon, we figured it might be a good time to take a look at two schools that might be good candidates for a possible SEC expansion down the road.
With its 14 teams, the SEC is already a power conference. But poaching these two teams, one for the West and one for the East, could quite possibly be the first step toward an FBS superconference.
Bringing Bob Stoops to the conference would be quite a coup considering his “shot heard around college football” three years ago when he questioned what he felt was the perceived dominance of the SEC. Coincidentally, as the Sooners’ coach, “Big Game Bob” has more than held his own against the SEC, going 6-4 against the conference, including beating Alabama in the 2013 Sugar Bowl and regular-season victories over Tennessee the last two years.
Some might argue that trying to reel in Texas is a better move, but that’s totally debatable considering how shaky the Longhorns have been on the field and in recruiting the last few years. Stoops might not win every game, but at least the Sooners have been very competitive lately with their men’s basketball and football teams reaching the de facto Final Fours of their respective sports last season.
An Oklahoma departure to any conference would devastate the Big 12 but would certainly strengthen the toughest conference in the country. Oklahoma’s arrival in the SEC would more than likely put the Sooners in the West, probably much to Nick Saban’s and all the division coaches’ chagrin but would also necessitate the need for an eighth team in the East as a result.
The Tar Heels might be the most reasonable candidate to be that eighth team in the East. Clemson and Florida State are clearly the two best teams in the ACC at the moment, but neither would leave considering how easy their paths to the College Football Playoff has been the last two seasons.
As far as other ACC teams go, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are possibilities, but North Carolina — its recent academic scandal notwithstanding — has been that conference’s best representative in terms of combined on-the-field results in football and basketball over the last few years.
We know what Coach K and Duke have done over the last 30 seasons, and we respect what ex-SEC man David Cutcliffe has done with the Blue Devils football team lately. But it would be interesting to see what UNC head coach Larry Fedora and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik could potentially do back in the SEC.