Texas A&M is ready to get out of the Big 12 and begin life in a new conference. The expectation is that the SEC will be receiving an application from the Aggies any day now (it may already be in the mail), and it appears to be a mere formality that the SEC will vote to add Texas A&M to the conference relatively quickly.
The expansion in the SEC likely will be done in even numbers though, meaning that a 14th university will likely be recruited to keep balance in numbers for the SEC. Previous reports have suggested that candidates could range from Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Missouri. The bigger prize might be Oklahoma, who suddenly becomes the hot commodity in conference free agency.
The Big Ten, even though they previously stated their comfort level with 12 members has not changed, could become a legitimate player in changing the landscape of collegiate athletics. Making a push for Oklahoma may have to come in to play if the SEC starts sniffing around. And don’t look now, but the Pac 12 may consider the Sooners a nice addition as well.
How great would it be to see the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry continue in the Big Ten? More importantly, how cool would it be to see Penn State and Oklahoma face off in regular season play? Oklahoma would bring a terrific all-around athletic program to the Big Ten, but the more ideal scenario as far as Penn State is concerned remains what it always was. The best direction for the Big Ten to expand for Penn State is still east, which leaves the Big East and possibly ACC as a target.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno was vocal about his desire to see the conference consider moving east to some big television markets, and picking up some old Penn State rivals in Pittsburgh or Syracuse in the process.
As much fun as it can be to imagine what the future of the Big Ten conference may look, nothing will be changing until the SEC or another conference confirms an intention to move past 14 members. If the SEC opts to expand to just 14 members, the era of super regional conferences remains just an idea.
Read more about Texas A&M’s announcement.
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