Most saw it coming the minute SEC Commissioner Mike Slive galloped out to Texas looking to strike college football oil. The league wasn’t adding Texas A&M. They were adding Texas with different-colored uniforms.
That’s what the Aggies have become, and that’s where they’re gonna stay for the foreseeable future. They’ve surpassed Texas as the preeminent program in that state, and have made the nation’s toughest league that much tougher.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This was Slive’s first rodeo, and it was worth it to make the league a little tougher if it meant gaining the Texas marketplace. And by adding Missouri, he not only gained a bigger media footprint. He made SEC basketball a little better to boot.
But here’s hoping he tones it down a bit the second time around. What the SEC needs now is more television sets and more brand-name basketball programs. It sure as hell doesn’t need another college football superpower. Not when the league already boasts six of the best 12 or 15 teams in the country – and that’s not including traditional power Tennessee, who won’t stay down forever.
For comparison’s sake, look at what the other leagues did through recent expansion. The Big 10 got even weaker in football – as if that were possible. So did the Pac 12. The Big 12 made an even swap, but without a conference title game, it’s become little more than a national joke. For evidence, look what the “new” University of Texas did to its conference runner-up – Oklahoma – in Dallas last month.
Other than the SEC, only the ACC improved itself from a competitive standpoint. But as weak as they are, they could have made the league tougher by adding Hoover High School.
The biggest horse in the football stable is plenty big enough. Here’s hoping the SEC can add two of the following: North Carolina, Duke, Virginia Tech or North Carolina State. The first two would be ideal, but a North Carolina-Virginia Tech haul, while not quite the infusion of basketball talent the league needs, would at least add the Washington, D.C. market.
Get on your horse, Slive. And don’t stop until you strike oil.