SEC Accepts Texas A&M, Sets Off Next Round of Expansion Fireworks

We're sort of in a world of our right now - uniforms! recruiting! footbaw! - but all around us, the wild, wild world of conference realignment has continued turning. The latest development: yep, the SEC wants Texas A&M, though Baylor could throw a curveball.

The member presidents of the Southeastern Conference unanimously voted to accept Texas A&M Tuesday night as the league's 13th member, but the Aggies' official acceptance has been delayed by the potential threat of legal action.

The SEC's presidents want assurances that no individual Big 12 school will sue for contractual interference over Texas A&M's departure. Baylor has not given that assurance to this point, according to sources.

Baylor is a lot like Kansas State and Iowa State: they have a lot to lose if the B12 collapses. If Texas A&M is just a precursor to Texas and Oklahoma fleeing the conference, then teams like Baylor (and K-State and ISU) won't really have a home. They aren't targets for an eastward-looking Big Ten, nor for a northward-looking SEC. I guess it's no surprise that Baylor would rather not join the Sun Belt or C-USA. (The C-USA is gonna be the 5th power conference when all this said and done. Conference of leftovers.)

I suppose we now wait to see what Baylor does and what the next steps are if they do. Just about every Big East school sued the ACC and the schools that left them for the ACC, and I don't recall that actually slowing down the process significantly. The Big 12 will try to get Baylor back on board with it all, but who knows if it'll work. At this point, there's not much to do but wait it out.

If the process doesn't slow, then the next step would appear to be the SEC finding its 14th member, for which Maryland may be a candidate. And, of course, we have to see what goes on with the Big Ten, a conference which I greatly prefer for cultural, geographic, and academic (CIC!) reasons. There's no word on whether they'll react to the SEC getting larger, but the hive mind seems to think they will, for whatever that's worth.

But because I haven't written about it yet, I have to mention the crazy idea that Texas - yes, that Texas - is a target for ACC expansion. The news comes from Chip Brown, who's both been right and wrong about a lot of high-level stuff.

One source close to the situation said the ACC, which is trying to fend off a potential raid by the Southeastern Conference (Virginia Tech continues to be mentioned by sources as an SEC target), would possibly look to add Texas, Syracuse, Connecticut and Rutgers to grow to 16.

Yep, that 16 team conference would be pretty sweet, and the lacrosse envy of all the land. Adding the Longhorns in particular would undoubtedly "save" the conference, and getting some northern pull from Cuse, UConn, and Rutgers would be nice for Maryland. (Though I'm never in favor of anything to do with Rutgers, really). That's ambitious, if nothing else, though I'm sure the Big Ten would have something to say about the addition of Cuse and UConn.

I know it makes no geographical nor cultural sense, but there could still be something to it. Maybe Texas wants to keep its Longhorn Network fully intact through any conference switch; the Pac-Whatever seems to have a problem with that, but I'm fairly certain the ACC wouldn't mind. Though the conference would probably have to change their name ... actually, wait, is the Gulf of Mexico part of the Atlantic Ocean? I think it is. Name stays.

Back on topic: of course, even if such a move is being discussed, that doesn't mean it'll happen. I'm sure both parties are discussing every available option. It goes down in the "Longshot" category, even though it's a very tantalizing longshot. 

Still, this is gearing up to be quite the ride.

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