Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big 12 and SEC Future Engagements

BleacherReport has an article (linked below) about the dilemma facing the ACC. The anointment of the Big 12 by the SEC via the new Champions Bowl has kicked off major discussions again about future conference expansion.

I don't believe the SEC and Big 12 set out to destabilize the ACC... but it seems to be a consequence, and the SEC probably isn't too sorry about that.

The article posits that whenever the Big 12 goes to 14 members, they might pick up Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Georgia Tech. Presumably the Big 12 and SEC would then jump to 16, and I'll suggest two others for the B12 as Notre Dame and Louisville. The teetering ACC could then lose Virginia Tech and UNC to the SEC.

BleacherReport also wrote that this would create some great cross-conference rivalry possibilities. Here's the thought-provoking list I came up with:

  • Border War KU / MU
  • Lone Star Showdown Texas / Texas A&M
  • Sunshine Showdown FSU / Florida
  • Seminole War Canoe  Miami / Florida
  • Clean, Old Fashioned Hate  Georgia Tech / Georgia
  • Palmetto Bowl Clemson / South Carolina
  • Governor's Cup  Louisville / Kentucky
  • Black Diamond Trophy West Virginia / Virginia Tech
Set aside for a moment the hard feelings that KU and Texas have for Mizzou and the Aggies. Wouldn't an 'extra-conference' suite of games between the Big 12 and SEC be a valuable commodity as a supplemental (or even stand-alone) network TV package? And once the money becomes even bigger for the members and the newly constituted super-conferences, won't that be the face-saving excuse necessary to re-start those two valuable games?

The other SEC and Big 12 teams not involved in these rivalries could either try to create new permanent cross-conference rivalries, or could rotate games among themselves, or take a smaller revenue share - whatever. Here are the super-conference teams that don't have a rival dance partner. The SEC has one more because Florida has two rivals. (Florida on TV twice would not be a bad thing for television ratings. For the same reason, let Texas join both sides of this party too.)

SEC Big 12
Alabama Oklahoma
Vanderbilt TCU
Auburn Iowa State
Mississippi State Texas Tech
LSU Notre Dame
Arkansas Oklahoma State
Ole Miss K-State
North Carolina Baylor
Tennessee Texas

Because the new Plus One format seems a likely first playoff step, and because the Champions Bowl winner almost certainly will be invited to that National Title game, there is less risk for good teams to play difficult non-conference game. You can still win your conference, and still win the Champions Bowl, and make more money than ever.

Eight cross-conference 'rivalry' games. Perhaps eight more cross-conference 'challenge' games. Sound like fun?