This is Part V of an eight-part article. The other parts are linked below:
Part I: Intro
Part II: Why G5 schools will be included in Division IV
Part III: Why Larger Conferences is the Way to Go
Part IV: Building the Big Ten
Part V: Building the SEC
Part VI: Independence Based Conference Scheduling (IBCS)
Part VII: Building the Group of Four (G4)
Part VIII: Loose Ends
I had four goals for the SEC:
1. Form a modern version of the old Southern Conference* by bringing all the top football programs from the South into one conference.
2. Bring back as many historical rivalries as possible that have since been discontinued. Turn any out of conference (OOC) rivalries the conference has into in-conference rivalries.
3. Make these moves as having the most realistic chance of happening as possible by giving emphasis on geography, cultural fit, and preserving as many rivalries as possible.
4. Add schools that would fit the profile of a traditional SEC school.
My first move was to add all the schools that have an in-state rivalry with an SEC school, which are Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Clemson, and Louisville. Now Texas fits this description however there is no way to say for certain they would join the SEC over the Big Ten unless their pals to the north come with them (Oklahoma). Of course to add Oklahoma you also need to make room for Oklahoma State.
While some would point out they Texas has tried to leverage Texas Tech and Baylor in the past and would assume the Longhorns would do the same here, Texas won’t have the leverage to do that. Remember that in this scenario the Big 12, Pac-12, and ACC are all falling apart and the SEC knows that the Big Ten would never concede to Baylor or Texas Tech joining their conference. At this point in time those two schools are off the table.
My next focus was on Missouri. They are rivals with Kansas, however I felt that this was such a historic rivalry that it truly should be an in-conference rivalry. While one can say Missouri is enough of a cultural fit for the SEC, there is absolutely no way that the same can be said for Kansas. So to keep this an in-conference rivalry I shipped both off to the Big Ten, which left the SEC with 21 members.
Next came the move to bring the SEC to the remaining southern states (North Carolina & Virginia). Despite all of the talks of the six ACC schools from these states being so willing to breakup for a Big Ten/SEC invite during real life conference realignment, all the research that I have done shows that the bond between these six schools is much stronger than most give credit for. It is my belief that the only way the SEC can be absolutely certain that North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke will join their conference is to add Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and North Carolina State as well.
This left the SEC with 27 member and I needed one more to round out that number at 28. Like the Big Ten, it was a tough decision between a number of schools. It ultimately came down to Texas Tech and West Virginia (WVU) and I ended up picking WVU because they added a new state while making more sense from a geographical point of view.
*For those who may not know the Southern Conference was founded in 1921. In simple terms, the conference was the predecessor to the ACC and SEC. The following is a list of former Southern Conference schools that are now in the Power Five (P5):
Georgia Tech (1921-1933)
Mississippi State (1921-1933)
North Carolina (1921-1953)
North Carolina State (1921-1953)
Virginia Tech (1921-1965)
Ole Miss (1922-1933)
South Carolina (1922-1953)
Wake Forest (1936-1953)
West Virginia (1950-1968)
There are a number of Group of Five (G5) schools that also have history in the Southern Conference. However only two of them are in my D4 alignment. They are Tulane (1922-1933) and East Carolina (1964-1977).
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© sportspolitico™ August 14, 2014