You cannot spell super conference without “SEC”.
The Houston Chronicle spiced up the media days of this week’s conference with a report that Texas and Oklahoma have contacted the Southeastern Conference to join.
Longhorns and Sooners issued in short responses but no refusal. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey did not comment on speculation. Texas A&M sporting director Ross Bjork has gone on the defensive, and the idea still seems like a long shot given the ramifications for entities ranging from the Longhorn Network to College Football Playoff.
BENDER: Why we love, hate the idea of expanding the PCP
Still, these are realignment talks involving two of college football’s biggest brands, 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 be all for that? Who would fight him? Sporting News reviews:
What could the SEC realignment look like?
Let’s say Texas and Oklahoma join the conference. How would that change the divisions?
Here is a hypothetical guess based on geography:
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
- Texas A&M
Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Texas A&M, four founding members of the now defunct Southwest Conference, are reunited. Missouri, formerly the Big 12, is fired with a few old rivals. LSU adds the necessary DRY flavor with Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
- Caroline from the south
Seven of the eight schools are founding members of the SEC, with South Carolina being the most recent addition in 1991. It would be the most competitive division in college football, perhaps at any level. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Florida were part of the Super League offered by SN in the spring, and Tennessee narrowly missed the cup.
Who would love it?
Oklahoma and Texas
Oklahoma have won the last four games of the Big 12 Championship and are yet to win a college football playoff game. The Sooners would have the chance to prove it every year against a conference they are 0-5 against in BCS Championship games and CFP semi-finals. Could Texas integrate the Longhorn network into the SEC network? The Longhorns would also benefit from a spotlight that extends beyond the Big 12. The benefits to recruiting are obvious.
The idea of a super-conference has been discussed for years, and the three biggest pieces of the puzzle have been Oklahoma, Texas and Notre Dame. If the SEC expands to 16 teams, then the rush would be on for the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 to grow to 16 teams as well. At this point, there would be 64 teams in four conferences and a format that resembles the NCAA men’s basketball tournament even before the playoffs start. This would give more weight to the idea of the Power 5 – or Super 4 – to break with the Group of 5.
MORE: Swinney: Clemson opposed to playoff expansion
Open-minded SEC fans
The geographic model is just a form of realignment. Would the SEC instead be divided into four groups of four teams? What rivalries would be lost on an annual basis? The divisional realignment has been a topic of conversation within the SEC without Oklahoma and Texas joining the conference. Would SEC fans be open to these changes?
Who would hate that?
The Aggies love to be the only SEC team in the state of Texas, and coach Jimbo Fisher has the schedule on the fringes of the college football playoff discussion. Would the Aggies be okay with reuniting with the Sooners and the 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 if you jump into this league …”
-Jimbo Fisher with early reaction to reports Texas and Oklahoma may consider joining SEC pic.twitter.com/5AWij40jO4
– Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) July 21, 2021
Texas A&M isn’t the only SEC school playing with Oklahoma and Texas that wouldn’t support the move.
I was told Texas A&M and Missouri would be a firm no. Only 2 more needed to block an invitation in Texas, OR.
– Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 21, 2021
Everyone in the Big 12
It 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 qualifiers? The conference commissioners just formulated the most inclusive playoff plan yet, one that made room for all the big conferences and the Group of 5. How would the super-conference grow with the plan? 12-team playoffs?
“We don’t need Texas and Oklahoma.” You can hear fans from each of the 14 SEC schools say this in their own way. The SEC remains the dominant conference in college football, the highest-grossing one, and has won 13 national championships since the start of the Bowl Championship Series. Regional pride is incomparable. Would schools be prepared to bring in the Sooners, Longhorns and all that branding power while making concessions to the traditional schedule? It’s a stretch.