Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News has an excellent column on the possibility of SEC expansion.
In particular, he captures exactly what SEC commissioner Mike Slive is thinking right now as the talk gets increasingly louder about the Big Ten expanding.
The Big Ten is looking to become a superconference. The SEC already is a superconference, at least in football. And football is, was and always will be the engine that drives the train in college athletics.
Now, that doesn't mean Slive has his head in the sand. Far from it. If the Big Ten goes to 16 teams or even 14 teams, the SEC will consider its options.
Don't you just love the prepared statement Slive has been reading about the whole subject as it relates to the SEC?
"Given the success we’ve experienced over the past decade, we are comfortable in the position in which we find ourselves. Having said that, if there’s going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful in order to maintain its position as one of the nation’s premier conferences."
In other words, if anybody can catch us, go ahead and try. And if you do (or even if you get close), we're prepared to bring in reinforcements.
Who would those reinforcements be?
I still think the ideal scenario for the SEC would be to expand a little further West and get Texas and Texas A&M. It's doubtful you get one of those without the other. The Longhorns probably aren't going to move, either, unless the Big 12 starts to crumble because other schools start fleeing.
The second move for the SEC would be to go further south. Florida State makes the most sense, although there might be some resistance by Florida since the Seminoles had their chance the first time, but opted for the ACC over the SEC. Miami would also be attractive, especially with the South Florida television market, but Florida would probably be adamantly opposed to the Hurricanes joining the SEC.
Therefore, I still think Clemson could be the other target. Clemson has always been an SEC team at heart masquerading as an ACC team. It's a football-first school with a rich tradition and passionate fans and is located in SEC country.
So my four picks would be Texas, Texas A&M, Florida State and Clemson.
Will we ever get to that point?
Sounds like it's up to the Big Ten.
Either way -- just like any good athletic director when it comes to hiring coaches -- I bet Slive has a short list of schools in his top desk drawer.