You can’t spell superconference without “SEC.”
The Houston Chronicle peppered the days of this week’s media conference with a report that Texas and Oklahoma have come closer to the Southeastern Conference about joining it.
The Longhorns and Sooners issued brief answers but without denials. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey did not comment on speculation. Ross Bjork, Texas A&M Athletic Director got defensive, and the idea still seems like a long shot given the ramifications for entities ranging from The Longhorn Network to the College Football Playoff.
BENDER: Why we love, we hate the idea of expanding the CFP
Still, this is a realignment conversation involving two of the biggest brands in college football, and we’ve been speculating on that for years. Why not fantasize for a few minutes?
What would an SEC super conference potentially look like? Who would agree? Who would fight it? Sporting News examines:
What would the SEC realignment look like?
Let’s say Texas and Oklahoma join the conference. How would that change the divisions?
Here is a hypothetical assumption based on geography:
- Be miss
- State of mississippi
- Texas A&M
Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Texas A&M, four founding members of the defunct Southwest Conference, are together again. Missouri, before the big 12, is thrown again with some old rivals. LSU adds the necessary SEC flavor along with Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
- South Carolina
Seven of the eight schools are charter members of the SEC, with South Carolina being the most recent addition in 1991. This would be the most competitive division in college football, perhaps at any level. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Florida were in SN’s proposed Super League in the spring, and Tennessee just missed the cut.
Who would love it?
Oklahoma and Texas
Oklahoma has won the last four games of the Big 12 championship and has yet to win a college football playoff game. The Sooners would have a chance to prove it every year against a conference they are 0-5 against in BCS championship games and CFP semifinals. Could Texas Add The Longhorn Network to the SEC Network? The Longhorns would also benefit from a spotlight that extends beyond the big 12. The recruiting benefits are obvious.
Defenders of the superconferencing
The idea of a super conference has been debated for years, and the three most important pieces of the puzzle have been Oklahoma, Texas, and Notre Dame. If the SEC expands to 16 teams, then the fight would begin for Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 to move to 16 teams as well. At the time, there would be 64 teams across four conferences and a format that resembles the NCAA men’s basketball tournament before the playoff even begins. This would provide more traction to the idea of the Power 5, or Super 4, breaking away from the Group of 5.
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Open minded SEC fans
The geographic model is just a form of realignment. Would the SEC split into four groups of four teams? What rivalries would be lost annually? The divisional realignment has been a topic of conversation at the SEC without Oklahoma and Texas joining the conference. Would SEC fans be open to those changes?
Who would hate it?
The Aggies enjoy being the only SEC team in the state of Texas, and coach Jimbo Fisher has the show just outside the college football playoff discussion. Would the Aggies be willing to meet with the Sooners and Longhorns? “Be careful what you ask for when you join this league,” Fisher said Wednesday on “The Paul Finebaum Show.”
“Be careful what you ask for if you jump in this league …”
-Jimbo Fisher with some early reaction to reports that Texas and Oklahoma could be looking to join the SEC pic.twitter.com/5AWij40jO4
– Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) July 21, 2021
Texas A&M isn’t the only SEC school that used to play Oklahoma and Texas that wouldn’t be in favor of the move.
They told me that Texas A&M and Missouri would be a hard no. It only takes 2 more to block an invite to Texas, OU.
– Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 21, 2021
Everybody else in the Big 12
This would be catastrophic for the Big 12, and the state of Oklahoma is one of the schools that issued a strong statement on the Chronicle report. According to Associated Press college football writer Ralph Russo:
And what about the college football playoff? The conference commissioners just formulated the most inclusive playoff plan yet, one that leaves room for all the major conferences and Group of 5. How would the super conference fit with the 12-team playoff plan?
“We don’t need Texas and Oklahoma.” You can hear the fans of each of the 14 SEC schools say that in their own special way. The SEC remains the dominant conference in college football, generating the most revenue, and has won 13 national championships since the Bowl Championship Series began. Regional pride is second to none. Would schools be willing to bring in the Sooners, the Longhorns and all that brand power while making concessions to the traditional schedule? That is a stretch.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.