“I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end.” – CS Lewis
The Twitter feed was blowing up all evening as news of Mizzou’s soft invitation to join the SEC made waves across fandom. Auburn to the SEC East! End of traditional rivalries! At moments like this in the endless news cycle, everyone needs to take a deep breath.
If you’ll recall, last year Texas was a dead lock to join the SEC. It didn’t happen. Now the Aggies are all but in, and a madcap game of musical chairs has begun, with conferences imploding and no school wanting to be left standing when the music stops.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has proven time and again he’s about one thing: money. He kept the Cam Newton controversy as hushed as he could during Auburn’s championship run, not because he’s a closet Barner, but because it meant millions in payouts to the conference. Bama fans, listen carefully: the Iron Bowl isn’t going anywhere. It’s one of, if not the most important rivalries in all of sports. And it generates untold dollars for the SEC. I don’t care if we add every college west of the Mississippi to the SEC West; the annual Alabama/Auburn game isn’t going anywhere.
Where’s this all going to end up? Who knows? If I had to make a moderately educated guess, I’d say we end up with a 14-team SEC by the end of next season. Texas A&M is probably a good fit due to the history it shares with Alabama.
I may be proven wrong by the end of the day, but I don’t think Missouri fills the other slot. There’s an argument to be made (@infobabe makes it quite well) that they’re a good fit – financially, if not geographically. But since nobody asked, I’ll make a bleary-eyed morning prediction.
Look for either Virginia Tech or FSU to be the final entrant. Both are cash cows, have rabid fanbases, and in the case of the Seminoles, bring with them a traditional rivalry with an SEC team.
Who would you like to see join the SEC? What potential matchup gets your motor running? Leave us your best guesses in the comments.