Perfecting the SEC
by Johnathan Bentley
Jun 20, 2010 | 1966 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Arkansas out — Georgia Tech in.

South Carolina out — Florida State in.

In two swift moves I have perfected the Southeastern Conference’s football prowess.

I know there is no way there is going to be any change in the SEC — none is really needed — but sometimes an adjustment can help.

One example: Alabama needed change a few years ago.

Shula out — Saban in, problem solved.

Since then the Tide has been packing the stadium for A-Day and winning championships.

With incessant conference expansion talk over the last few weeks, I’ve heard stranger things. A week ago it was pretty much a sure-fire deal that Texas and its underlings were headed to the Pac-10 Conference. In the end, common sense prevailed, but not before the Big 12 Conference lost a pair of deserters — Colorado and Nebraska.

While the SEC has had 12 teams since its last expansion back in 1992, both Arkansas and South Carolina aren’t perfect fits. Rivalries are a huge part of college football and neither team has much of a rival in its own conference.

South Carolina’s top rival is Clemson, in the ACC, while Arkansas is probably more at home playing Texas and Texas A&M, two of its former conference foes in the Southwest Conference.

Both schools are solid middle, to upper-tier performers in the SEC, which is saying a lot.

Arkansas has advanced to three SEC Championship Games — losing all three — but has only had a winning SEC record five times in 18 years. South Carolina is right at .500 since 1992, but it seems the Gamecocks finish 7-6 every single year.

Florida State and Georgia Tech would fill in those voids perfectly. They are ideally located for the conference and come with ready-made rivals.

Georgia Tech, one of the original SEC teams, is in the SEC heartland, Atlanta, and won the ACC title last year. The Yellow Jackets would be good for eight or nine wins a season while Florida State would be close to .500, at least for right now. Sewanee and Tulane were also original SEC members, but let’s not get crazy here.

As for rivals, sure, Florida State has Miami in the ACC, but the Seminoles have Florida in the SEC.

Also I can’t figure out Georgia Tech’s chief rival in the ACC.

If you look in the Yellow Jackets’ Coastal Division, you’ve got Virginia Tech, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina and Miami. All five of those schools are further than five hours away from Atlanta.

In the SEC, the Jackets have Georgia and Auburn — a pair of rivals right down the road. Georgia Tech plays Georgia every year and played Auburn just about every year from 1892 to 1987.

Also, can you really be known for your football if your divisions are the Coastal and the Atlantic. Those sound like time zones to me.

A real football conference is going to make it simple: East and West.

I can’t imagine Alabama and LSU meeting up for the coveted SEC Coastal Division title.

I’m not for league expansion. The second a conference jumps to 16 teams it loses its identity. Twelve teams is more than enough.

No one wants to be like Big East Basketball with a 16-team mess.

I doubt the Big East Commissioner can even name all 16 team in his own conference. After Syracuse, Connecticut, Georgetown and West Virginia, you lose track. You know a conference is in too deep when a conference tournament lasts two weeks and includes six byes.

The SEC doesn’t need any of that.

A true conference needs its frontrunners, middle tier team and bottom feeders. The SEC already has that.

Florida State and Georgia Tech would fit nicely in the mix.

If not, the SEC could always try to get Sewanee and Tulane.

Johnathan Bentley is the Sports Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at sports@mountaineagle.com.