Oklahoma and Texas are in the SEC. Man, that was fast.
That took 10 days to go from rumor to reality, a blockbuster move that gave the Southeastern Conference more brand power than any other FBS conference. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has the 16-member conference out in front, and it’s a good bet the Sooners and Longhorns will join the conference before the 2025 agreement.
Now, that raises the question: Should the SEC drop the hammer and go for more? If we’re headed toward a superconference model, then why not take another lap around the rest of the Power 5?
Here’s a look at a few options:
Who are the brands worth targeting?
Let’s look at the top 25 Power 5 schools by record since the College Football Playoff started in 2014. We included Notre Dame to make it 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, Northwestern)|
|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)|
Notice who isn’t on this list? Texas has the 34th-best record among Power 5 schools and Notre Dame since 2014. The Longhorns also bring in the most revenue, however.
As it stands, the SEC has seven of the top 25 most successful teams in the CFP era and Texas.
This would be the pool to consider when adding more teams. The first move is simple.
Where do SEC, ACC go from here?
What is stopping the SEC from calling Clemson, Florida State and Miami? Those are football-first brands in the basketball-heavy ACC, and those three programs would be the next-best additions.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas advocated an 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 complete merger that would make a 30-team Super League, but it makes more sense to stick with the football-first branding.
That does not include Notre Dame, but at this point the SEC could probably give the Irish a call.
But let’s say for the sake of superconferences that the SEC just does its own things and goes after a few ACC schools because it can. Clemson, Florida State and Miami would make the SEC a 19-team conference.
So, who’s No. 20?
Throw Oklahoma State a lifeline
The Cowboys fit the SEC profile, and it gets them back in the same league with the Sooners. TCU and West Virginia also would be options out of the Big 12, but the Cowboys offer a little more in terms of the regional feel.
If Oklahoma State does not want it, then there are more than a few schools that would.
That’s yet another blow to the Big 12, but what’s stopping Sankey from throwing more punches?
What would a 20-team SEC look like?
So for the sake of argument, 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, Mississippi State
The SEC West integrity remains intact, along with the Iron Bowl and Alabama-LSU rivalries.
Division 4: Florida State, Florida, Miami, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Finally, all three Florida schools are in the same division.
Mix and match as needed, but wow. The scheduling would be a headache, but the conference could probably do an entire 11- or 12-game schedule in-house. That is the basic framework that includes 11 schools that have had the most success on the field in the College Football Playoff era.
Who says no to that? It preserves rivalries such as Tennessee-Florida and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State. It enhances others such as South Carolina-Clemson and Florida-Florida State by adding conference implications. Of course, we get Texas-Texas A&M, too. We can’t wait for that.
Would the SEC be so bold as to entertain this move?
What would you have said that 10 days ago?