We knew it would only be a matter of time before expansion talks heated up in the SEC again. Even after the league officially welcomed Texas A&M as the 13th member, all anyone wanted to talk about was who was going to be the 14th school to join.
Well, one school in particular looks like it is trying to put its name atop the list of candidates for that next spot in the SEC.
According to a report, Missouri is hoping to join the SEC after the school's seven voting curators agreed unanimously Tuesday night to give chancellor Brady Deaton authority to look elsewhere rather than immediately commit to the Big 12.
However, the SEC wasn't Missouri's first choice. A school official told The Associated Press that the Big Ten, the conference Missouri tried to join last year, was the preferred destination again, but because the conference has "no interest" in Missouri, the school has now turned its attention to the SEC.
"That's what's left," the official said.
If the SEC is leftovers for Missouri, then school officials are obviously looking into factors other than football. And they should. Football should not be the overwhelming influence when it comes to joining a new conference. School officials must take into account revenue, academics and travel for all sports.
We all knew that having 13 schools in the SEC wasn't going to cut it. It's a funky number and sooner or later the SEC was going to expand to at least 14 schools. Getting to 16? Well, that's not really necessarily for this league.
Fourteen will eventually happen and Missouri would make sense. Geographically, it's not totally out of the way. Also, the SEC would add its second AAU member, could tap into the St. Louis and Kansas City markets and would gain some quality athletic programs.
And what a great journalism program.
Speculation on whether Missouri would be joining the SEC sooner rather than later arose Wednesday when news of a meeting between the SEC athletic directors and commissioner Mike Slive took place in Birmingham, Ala. The league said Wednesday that the meeting dealt with the logistics of Texas A&M's arrival, such as scheduling for the 2012-13 season.
A source with direct knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that the possibility of adding Missouri wasn't brought up.
Here is a statement from the SEC on Wednesday's meeting:
“Today's meeting of the SEC athletic directors was planned immediately following the announcement of Texas A&M joining the league. The purpose of the meeting was to integrate Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference and plan for a 13-team schedule for all sports in 2012-13. The transition team from the SEC office made its initial report in this meeting to the athletics directors with the focus on scheduling and championship formats. The SEC is excited to have Texas A&M in the league and looks forward to having the Aggies compete in the SEC next year.”
Slive has been adamant since Texas A&M's acceptance into the conference that the league has had no official contact with other schools about the possibility of joining the SEC and that the league isn't currently reaching out to other schools.
Unofficially, well, that could be another story.
Don't expect any of what Slive has said to quell the talks of Missouri -- or other schools -- potentially becoming the next member of the SEC. Expansion is hot right now and until this is figured out, the speculation will continue.