What’s Going On With the SEC?

by TideGP (follow me on Twitter @TideGP)

EMail: checkyourgut@gmail.com

The buzz this week has been about the potential expansion to the SEC. Names of schools are being tossed around the message boards and Twitter along with varied rationales why these schools are/may be courted by Commissioner Slive and the SEC.

SEC Media Day Photo from TigerRag.com

One has to wonder about the timing of this buzz. After all, with a month to go before the 2011 season begins, it’s unlikely anything will be finalized prior to the end of the season, in fact, you’d think the last thing most football programs would want is a major distraction right before their seasons begin. 

So, why now?

Maybe because this buzz is of a different variety of the buzz that has plagued the SEC all Spring and Summer—the buzz over what will be the final outcome of the SEC’s most recent BCS Champion, Auburn, and the fact that the vast majority of college football fans and analysts believe Auburn’s Heisman winning quarterback was bought and paid for.

Maybe this buzz comes out this week because of other rumors spreading across the message boards and Twitter—persistent rumors that new information regarding the Auburn scandal is due out very soon, naming specific names of bagmen and tying in other SEC schools. Announcing an expansion of the SEC would certainly go far towards diluting the negative buzz that’s hung over the conference like a cloud all year, ESPECIALLY if there is any credence to those negative rumors. Call it proactive damage control for what many are calling the NCAA’s first “super conference”. A conference that currently is despised as much as it is admired. It would be a step towards exhibiting the stance of “The SEC is MUCH more than one (or three) schools”.

What hasn’t been addressed is what the endgame would be of expanding the NCAA’s powerhouse conference even further. Most feel that the road to the BCS goes through the SEC, but the way things stand now, the best the SEC can hope for is to put its champion into the BCS Championship game. Currently, a program being courted to join the SEC would have to weigh the choice of playing a tough conference schedule for a shot at being SEC Champion, or rolling the dice and hope to have the strength of schedule and a winning record to face an SEC Champ in the BCS Championship. With the talent of the SEC programs, the SEC Championship game has already been called the “Real National Title Game” by many fans and media. The negative side is these talented programs beat themselves up playing one another during the regular season because of their conference scheduling, potentially paving the way for a less talented program in a smaller conference to have a shot at sneaking into the BCS race. Some argue the SEC’s size is already unruly and works against itself. Business calls this Economies of Scale.

So what’s the point of expansion talk? Is it the beginning of a bright future for the SEC or early damage control for a potentially VERY serious stain on its reputation? Only time will tell. These days college sports are played as much politically off the field as with the pigskin on the field. As fans, all we can hope for from the powers that be is there is some method to the madness.

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~ by Gut Check Admin on August 11, 2011.

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