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Texas A & M and Conference Expansion: A Few Quick Thoughts

Team Speed Kills wants to know what SB Nation SEC bloggers think about the Texas A & M Aggies coming to the SEC. Here are my responses to their questions:

1. Texas A&M to the SEC: Yes or no? (Your preference, not whether you think they'll become a member or not)

An emphatic yes. First of all, Texas A & M is a very tradition-rich program that offers a lot to the SEC. I would welcome beginning a history of playing them, as I believe many SEC fans would. Second of all, from a USC perspective, nabbing Texas A & M makes it somewhat less likely that the Clemson Tigers will eventually join the SEC, and no Gamecocks fan should want the Tigers to join. I think that we're eventually going to begin to enjoy sizeable recruiting advantages over the Tigers due to the prestige of the SEC and, more concretely, the facilities upgrades that will be the result of the windfall that will come from SEC TV contracts, especially if those contracts take advantage of the allure of Texas markets. We aren't quite enjoying those advantages yet--the Tigers have still dominated the series over the past few years, as they have since the 1970s. They're coming, though, as long as Clemson doesn't get in on those SEC benefits. If A & M joins, it's likely that a 14th team will be added from the West--could be Missouri, Baylor, Houston; who knows, but at least it won't be Clemson. Moreover, if the SEC does eventually go the superconference route and gut the ACC, it will take the Florida (including, perhaps, South Florida) schools and Georgia Tech before Clemson. Getting aTm now makes it more likely that Clemson will be the odd guy out.

2. If we add Texas, A&M, should we add a 14th team or stay at 13? Or go to 16? Why?

I would think that we should definitely add a 14th, at least.

3. If we do go to 14 teams, who should the other addition be? (Be as creative as you want; only patently ridiculous answers like UCONN will be laughed at.)

I would like to see that team be Missouri, perhaps with the conference divisions realligning and Auburn joining the East. Virginia Tech to the East would also be an attractive (probably even more so than Mizzou) option, although it seems unlikely that they will go without UVa.

Eventually, I think we will expand to 16 teams with some additions from the ACC, but I doubt that happens soon.