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Conference Expansion; How Messy Can it Get?


Texas A&M's public desire to the leave the Big 12 is already causing a massive chatter of expansion possibilities, but how far will it really stretch? A departure of Texas A&M from the Big 12 will almost certainly mean a bid from the SEC, and if the SEC is willing to extend a bid to Texas A&M they are likely considering making a move to 14 or 16 teams. Initial talks claimed that a number of ACC schools could potentially be that 14th.


Now, new talks are arising of thePAC-12 possibly making a move to 16 teams. Word is that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are the four schools that the PAC 12 would seek to admit to help create the PAC-16. A move like this almost certainly destroys the Big 12 completely, and would leave teams like Baylor, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, and Iowa St looking for a new home.




Now back to the SEC. With Texas A&M being invited, and Missouri being homeless, Missouri makes a ton of sense for that all important 14th team. But, with the PAC-16 on the verge of being formed, would  SEC officials be ready to turn their conference into a full blown superconference? Some names that have been tossed out there are Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Florida St, Maryland,  and North Carolina among others. Florida St would certainly make a ton of sense, and Virginia Tech is a very appealing candidate as well.


Even if the those two schools aren't the ones that receive invites to the SEC, it would be likely that two ACC schools would be gone in an SEC mega expansion. Would the ACC be happy with 10 schools? Probably not. It hasn't really been discussed much but if the ACC were searching for teams, where would they come from? One would have to think that schools like South Florida, Central Florida, and East Carolina could fit the bill. They are probably the best candidates geographically. Let's just say the Florida schools get the nod, and that's assuming USF is willing to leave the Big East.


Before we go any further, let's step back and think about what would happen to Kansas, and Kansas St. The MWC would be salivating at the chance to pick up those two, but with other conferences expanding to 16, the Big 10 may be ready to do the same. Last time around, Kansas was mentioned as a possible candidate for the Big 10, but nothing ever materialized with that. Now may be a better time though. The addition of the two Kansas schools to the Big 10 would completely open up the flood gates.


Look for the Big 10 to go to the Big East to find two more schools. Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Syracuse would likely be possibilities, but Notre Dame would surely be at the top of the wish list. Notre Dame has been very successful  in football independence, and makes a ton of money they split with no one through their NBC tv deal so, they'll probably stay put. That being said, Pittsburgh, and maybe Rutgers could be perfect fits.


With the Big East down three schools, but more importantly down to five football schools, they will have to make a move to keep its football life alive. Unfortunately for C-USA, if the Big East is poached from at all, we will likely be the first place they look for a refill. Top basketball power Memphis would probably be the first to go, with East Carolina second in line. Still that leaves the Big East one short. With TCU already aboard, could this be a time to make a move for Houston or SMU? It may be. Since we crossed the line of sanity a long time ago, let's say they invite Houston.  With the Dallas market covered with TCU, Houston may be a better move.


If it comes to this point, C-USA will be fighting to keep its conference breathing. But, let's not forget two things. First, Baylor and Iowa St would still be looking for a home, and second, the MWC is still stuck at 10 teams. This could be the culmination of conference expansion, and may force previous talks of conference merger into reality. If Baylor and Iowa St were to become a part of C-USA, the two ten team leagues would almost have to look to each for support.

Of course, this post is more of a rant, than a real possibility for this new round of conference expansion, but all of these ideas are certainly possibilities. However,  we all remember two years ago when everyone thought a situation like this was eminent, and obviously that wasn't the case. The same thing could happen now, with things staying a little more intact than we might think. But, whether it happens this time around, the time after, or the next, the landscape of college athletics certainly seems to be shifting in the mega conference direction. It's really only a matter of time.