Monday, November 29

With Texas, Oklahoma on Board, the SEC Should Target These Schools Next

Oklahoma and Texas are in the SEC. Man, that was quick.

That took 10 days to go from rumor to reality, a hugely successful move that gave the Southeastern Conference more brand power than any other FBS conference. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has the 16-member conference at the helm, and it’s a good bet that the Sooners and Longhorns will join the conference before the 2025 deal.

TROCCHI: Sorry Texas: SEC is about to welcome one Big 12 superpower, not two

Now, that begs the question: Should the SEC drop the hammer and go for more? If we’re heading towards a super conference model, why not give the rest of the Power 5 another spin?

Here are some options:

Who are the brands worth targeting?

Let’s take a look at the top 25 Power 5 schools by record since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. We included Notre Dame to make them 26 schools, but here’s a look at those schools by conference:

SEC: 7 (Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn)
Big Ten: 7 (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwest)
Independent: 1 (Notre Dame)
Pac-12: 5 (Utah, Washington, Oregon, Stanford, USC)
ACC: 3 (Clemson, Florida State, Miami)
Big 12: 3 (Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia)

See who is not on this list? Texas has the 34th best record between Power 5 and Notre Dame schools since 2014. However, the Longhorns also generate the most revenue.

In its current form, the SEC has seven of the 25 most successful teams in the CFP and Texas era.

This would be the group to consider when adding more teams. The first step is easy.

Where does SEC, ACC go from here?

What’s stopping the SEC from calling Clemson, Florida State, and Miami? Those are the top soccer brands in the ACC weighing on basketball, and those three programs would be the next best additions.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas advocated for a SEC-ACC merger this week, and it’s worth knowing that both conferences have ESPN networks.

The SEC and ACC could also go for a full merger that would result in a 30-team Super League, but it makes more sense to stick with the soccer brand first.

That doesn’t include Notre Dame, but at this point the SEC could probably call in the Irish.

But let’s just say for the sake of super conferences that the SEC just does its own thing and goes after some ACC schools because it can. Clemson, Florida State and Miami would make the SEC a 19-team conference.

So who is number 20?

Launch the state of Oklahoma a life preserver

The Cowboys fit the SEC’s profile, and that puts them back in the same league with the Sooners. TCU and West Virginia would also be options outside of the Big 12, but the Cowboys offer a bit more in terms of regional feel.

If the state of Oklahoma doesn’t want it, there are more than a few schools that would.

That’s another hit for the big 12, but what’s stopping Sankey from throwing more hits?

What would a 20-team SEC look like?

So for the sake of discussion, could a 20-team SEC work? Look at these pods:

Division 1: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas

It’s a Southwest Conference-Big 12 mashup.

Division 2: Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri

Georgia-Clemson becomes the next big thing.

Division 3: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, State of Mississippi

SEC West’s integrity remains intact, along with the Iron Bowl and Alabama-LSU rivalries.

Division 4: State of Florida, Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Finally, the three Florida schools are in the same division.

Mix and match as needed, but wow! Scheduling would be a headache, but the conference could probably do a full 11 or 12-game schedule internally. That’s the basic framework that includes 11 schools that have had the most success on the field in the era of the college football playoffs.

Who says no to that? It maintains rivalries like Tennessee-Florida and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. Enhance others like South Carolina-Clemson and Florida-Florida State by adding conferencing implications. Of course, we also have Texas-Texas A&M. We can’t wait for that.

Would the SEC be bold enough to consider this move?

What would you have said that 10 days ago?

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