SDS Mailbag: Competing in Olympic sports, further SEC expansion and defining ‘classic rock’
It took me a while to get into this year’s Olympics. It’s weird watching basketball games, swimming competitions, beach volleyball matches and everything else with almost no one in the stands.
But, now that I’ve started watching, I am enjoying the Games themselves. These are still some of the most talented athletes in the world, so watching them compete is still fun.
Congrats to a couple of the most recent Team USA gold medalists from SEC schools — Sunisa Lee from Auburn and Caeleb Dressel from Florida. They weren’t the first SEC alums to win gold medals at these Games, and hopefully they won’t be the last!
Now, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
If you were Greg Sankey and you wanted to get the SEC up to 18 teams after adding Texas and Oklahoma, which 2 schools would you ideally want to add?
The important part of this question, to me, is “if you were Greg Sankey.” That changes my answer. I’m not answering as Adam Spencer, your beloved columnist, but rather as the commissioner of the SEC.
Therefore, my personal leanings are out. This is all about what would bring the most value to the SEC. More money and more exposure is what it’s about in this situation.
So, my (Greg’s) answer is: Clemson and Notre Dame. I know that’s unlikely. Notre Dame loves its independence, after all. But the Irish have a huge following, an established brand and a strong football program (even if it isn’t up to elite SEC standards).
Clemson speaks for itself. It has quickly become a national powerhouse under Dabo Swinney, so it is a valuable brand. Apologies to Florida State fans here, but Notre Dame offers more to the conference, in my opinion.
If I were Greg Sankey, those 2 schools would be atop my wish list if I had to expand to 18 teams. And, once again, before y’all jump into the comments, I understand that Notre Dame joining the SEC is about as likely as dogs learning how to talk. That doesn’t mean you can’t dream, though!
Jay Bilas suggested that the ACC and SEC should merge. There are reports that the AAC and Big 12 could consider merging. If you had to pick 2 conferences to merge, which would you choose?
That’s an interesting question. If Texas and Oklahoma do indeed join the SEC, as expected, I think the SEC will be good on its own. Merging with the ACC wouldn’t add much value at that point (outside of Clemson and perhaps Florida State).
Meanwhile, the Big 12 is imploding, so it’s not a very valuable asset at this time. I know there are suggestions that the Big Ten and Pac-12 should merge to preserve their Rose Bowl rivalry, but that would lead to some brutal travel for road games for most sports.
Thus, I’d have to say a Big Ten-ACC merger would be my pick. You could keep playing separately, perhaps with a couple of “nonconference” type crossover games. Then, you have a Big Ten Championship and an ACC Championship and the 2 winners play for the bigger trophy.
All in all, though, I don’t think we’ll see any conference mergers. Sure, the AAC might end up landing the remaining Big 12 schools, but that wouldn’t be a “merger,” per se. Realignment is the name of the game, and it’ll be interesting to see which schools end up moving before all is said and done.
I just heard “When I Come Around” by Green Day on the local classic rock station. What’s the cutoff for calling something “classic rock”?
I know how you feel. I’ve been hearing Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana on classic rock stations for a year or so now. That’s a real kick in the pants as a 30-something guy. I don’t want to be considered “oldies” yet.
I think the biggest issue here is that we need more ways to define music. First of all, radio stations are a dying breed with the popularity of streaming music services and podcasts these days. But, if there were a bigger variety of stations, this would be an easier dilemma to solve.
“Oldies” is, in my opinion, anything before the 1970s. Then you have your “classic rock,” which I’d consider to be any rock music from the 70s and 80s. Nirvana, DMB and RHCP could all be considered “alternative rock” to me. And, I’d have no problem with them being labeled “classic alternative,” since they are some of the older alt bands.
But, until we can get that distinction, listening to terrestrial radio is always going to make us feel old. After all, it’s an old medium these days. For now, we’re just going to get a bunch of these mashup stations that will play The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Shania Twain, Pearl Jam and Journey in whatever order they choose. Madness.
Which summer Olympic sport do you think you’d be best at?
There are 2 ways to answer this question. The sports I’d be best at would be the ones I grew up playing. So, I’d be best at basketball and baseball. However, there’s no way I’d be even close to good enough to crack Team USA in either of those sports.
So, I’m going to answer this question as to which sport I think I could come closest to making an Olympic team in. Here’s where I point out that there are multiple events where a swimmer or a cyclist or a rowing team or a beach volleyball team from certain countries are just happy to be there and are in no way competing for a title.
Therefore, my answer is this. I’d compete as part of a beach volleyball team for a country that is not normally thought of in beach volleyball circles. My mom’s family is Scottish by heritage, so maybe I could be half of a beach volleyball duo from Scotland? We wouldn’t be very good, but perhaps we’d have a chance to make the Olympics!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.