10 Schools The SEC Should Look At If Further Expansion Is Considered

Round and round, reshuffling goes, where it stops, nobody knows.

That’s the chorus college kids will be singing on campus for years to come, as college football continues to reshape through rescheduling of conferences. It happened almost a decade ago. It happened last year. And it happened last week.

Unknowingly, Oklahoma and Texas resumed the conference rescheduling arms race last summer when they announced their intentions to move to the SEC. That move led the Big Ten to want to keep up with their southeastern counterparts by adding USC and UCLA to their mix with teams primarily located in the northern and northeastern United States.

As the Big Ten and SEC struggle for congressional and television revenue superiority, they’ve both taken bold steps to bolster their brands. But it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon as the Big Ten could also add the Oregon Ducks and Washington Huskies to their ranks.

If the Big Ten adds Oregon and Washington, what would the SEC do? Well, here are 10 teams that might make sense for SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to consider expanding the SEC further.

Clemson

January 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker (14) is knocked down by Clemson Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) and defensive end Kevin Dodd (98) during the first quarter of the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC force has competed against the SEC on the recruiting grounds and on the roster, and came away with two national championships in the past decade, 2016 and 2018. Nestled in the Southeast with a pre-existing rivalry with the South Carolina Gamecocks, this one is just too logical.

Miami

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King (1) warms up before the game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Miami Hurricanes during the Cheez-It Bowl Game at Camping World Stadium. Douglas DeFelice-US TODAY Sports

While football at the ‘U’ hasn’t been the same for nearly two decades, the Miami Hurricanes are in a major media market and have created a lot of buzz this off-season. Hiring Mario Cristobal from Oregon put them on a trajectory to get back to the top of the college football world. And wouldn’t it be great to have Miami vs. Florida to play? They played only three times since 2005.

State of Florida

September 30, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Cam Akers (3) kicks off the first quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We’re approaching a decade since Florida State’s last National Championship, but the former National Power is still a roster-based name. Aside from the 2020 COVID season, which limited non-conference play, the Seminoles have played in-state rival Florida every season since 1958. Adding an in-conference element to that matchup would give a huge boost to the rivalry.

North Carolina

March 27, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brady Manek (45) celebrates after the Tar Heels defeated the St. Peters Peacocks in the East Regional final of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Bill Streicher-US TODAY Sports

It is said that if Clemson made a move from the ACC, the North Carolina Tar Heels would also be considered. North Carolina may not be as big a football draw as the others mentioned so far, but you hardly need it when you add in the basketball blue blood.

The SEC has really grown as a basketball conference in recent years, and adding one of the greatest programs of all time would give a nice symmetry to the Big Ten’s addition of UCLA.

State of Oklahoma

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Christian Holmes (0) celebrates after an Oklahoma Sooners tackle during the second half at Boone Pickens Stadium. The state of Oklahoma won 37-33. Alonzo Adams-US TODAY Sports

There’s just something about regional rivalry. Although Oklahoma dominated the series, this has not diminished the importance of this game to the state of Oklahoma. It is a game that moves the needle on the national landscape. Maybe not in the same way as the Red River Rivalry, but Bedlam is a strong game and Oklahoma State is a solid program across the board. They would fit right in with Ole Miss and Mississippi State from the extended conference.

Also wouldn’t it be great to have Mike Gundy at a conference with Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Mike Leach, purely from a personality standpoint.

Kansas

February 12, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward David McCormack (33) reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Allen Fieldhouse. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

If we go after North Carolina, which is solid in football but mainly here for basketball, let’s get another top basketball program in the Kansas Jayhawks. Sure, football is king, but there’s room for Kansas basketball in a conference that already includes Kentucky and (if added) North Carolina. The SEC is increasing its basketball footprint and this would make them the premier basketball conference in the country.

Virginia Tech

September 3, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson (17) runs the ball past West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Adam Shuler II (88) during the second half at FedEx Field. Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

A round table discussion from a few years ago on Saturday Down South called the Virginia Tech Hokies.

The other candidate that makes a lot of sense is Virginia Tech. Adding the Hokies would bring another proud football program and give that school extra bragging rights about Virginia. Tech may even contribute to pay the exit fee if the SEC has issued an invitation. – Michael Bratton, news editor, Saturday Down South

My grandfather was a Virginia Tech alumnus, so I’ve always had a deep interest in the Hokies. Blacksburg offers an incredible setting for a football game and they have a rich history. Like Oklahoma State, they make up a solid athletics program across the board and as Saturday Down South’s Adam Spencer mentioned, it gives the SEC a footprint in Virginia.

Virginia Tech has a history with Miami from their time together in the old Big East. That would be a new natural rival for the Hurricanes and the Hokies, who had some major battles for conference supremacy in the early 2000s.

Interestingly enough, they had Oklahoma that they would look at if the SEC expanded.

Oregon

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Geographically, this would make no sense. But that didn’t stop the Big Ten from adding USC and UCLA. Oregon is arguably the largest football program in the country right now without an SEC or Big Ten home. Their connection to Nike means they will always have a strong foundation for their athletic department. While it seems more likely that Oregon will go to the Big Ten with Washington, the SEC could drop in with a roll to lure the Ducks.

Baylor

January 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) is chased by Mississippi Rebels defensive lineman Sam Williams (7) in the third quarter of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

History tells us that when conferences add or take off membership from another conference, they usually do it in pairs. If the SEC took over Oklahoma State from the Big 12, who could be their travel buddy? Why not the 2021 National Basketball Champions and Big 12 Champions in Football Baylor Bears?

Dave Aranda’s time at LSU gives him insight into how the conference is going and it retains some of the heat developed in the Baylor vs. Texas matchup. Two schools that are only an hour and a half apart.

West Virginia

September 25, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers cheerleader during the third quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Another Big 12 school that could make sense for the SEC is West Virginia. A solid program in football and basketball over the past decade, the Mountaineers always seemed to be a better fit for the East Coast. Their passionate fan base and Morgantown seem to be a perfect fit for the SEC.

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