The recent news of the Big 12 considering expansion has all of college football talking about realignment again.

It’s a fun offseason topic, giving fans the opportunity to discuss whether a conference should add teams to boost its profile, foster regional rivalries or gain exposure in new states and TV markets.

ESPN senior writer Ryan McGee imagined what expansion might look like if all of the Power 5 conferences increased to 16 teams. In the SEC, he suggested Missouri and Auburn switch divisions, and that the division also add Memphis as a newcomer. Memphis seems more likely to be joining another conference, but his idea isn’t completely out of left field.

His expanded SEC East, however, will likely turn some heads:

South Carolina

Yes, that’s Charlotte joining the SEC East, as in fourth-year football program Charlotte.

McGee also considered UCF and ECU in the division, but offered the following reason for Charlotte:

So, who does the SEC add in the East? This is tricky. Rumors persist that it covets North Carolina and/or Virginia, and UCF keeps coming up as big market in Florida. But none of the Tobacco Road schools are leaving, and neither is Virginia Tech. Even if they did, the post-Maryland defection escape fee is way too steep. And the SEC already owns central Florida via the Gators. So, would it consider rolling the dice on a fledgling like Charlotte? It’s a big media market located just up the road from South Carolina, a school the ACC wants nothing to do with, and the home of SEC Network HQ. Just saying …

While many have heard the rumors about the SEC wanting to one day expand into the Tar Heel State, it’s difficult to foresee college football’s toughest conference adding a program in its relative infancy. In three seasons, Charlotte has accumulated a 12-22 record, going 2-10 in its debut Conference USA season last year.

Credit to McGee, though, for thinking outside the box on conference expansion.