Sallee: SEC Expansion? Not Buying It
Posted Aug 13, 2011

CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee isn't buying that the four rumored teams that could join the SEC will be the ones that make the final cut.

Reach me via e-mail at or on Twitter @BarrettSallee

It's that time of year again. Better late than never.

Conference expansion and realignment again at the center of the college football discussion, but this time it isn't the Pac-12 looking to make the biggest splash, it's the SEC. No, the SEC isn't going old school and inviting back former members Georgia Tech, Tulane and Sewanee. According to a report by ESPN, the SEC could be on the brink of extending invitations to Texas A&M, Clemson, Florida State and Missouri. According to the New York Times, 11 of the 12 SEC presidents will meet at a secret location on Sunday to discuss conference expansion.

Is the SEC looking to expand? Absolutely. Is Texas A&M being considered? You bet. But will it be those four specific teams? I'm not buying it.

This round of conference realignment and expansion is all about capturing the market, which is a factor that takes into account everything from location, prestige, recruiting base and about a million other things. In the case of the SEC, it's a reason to re-work its once groundbreaking TV contract, which quickly became outdated thanks to subsequent deals in other conferences. With that in mind, it's hard for me to imagine Florida State and Clemson being included in the SEC's plan.

Tony Barnhart, co-host of Barnhart and Durham on WQXI 790 The Zone in Atlanta, Ga., mentioned on Friday that the SEC didn't have just one plan, it has five plans. The one mentioned in the ESPN report may be one of them, but I doubt it's the one that becomes reality.

Florida State had the chance to come to the SEC in 1992, and turned it down. That fact hasn't been lost in the SEC office in Birmingham. Besides, the SEC already has the Florida market thanks to the Gators; who, by the way, won't take kindly to the Seminoles joining the conference.

The same reasoning can be used in the case of Clemson. South Carolina is, by far, the more visible team in the state of South Carolina, and Clemson fans already are tuned in to see what the rivals are up to. The SEC doesn't need the South Carolina market because it already has it.

Texas A&M is probably going to come to the SEC, although according to the New York Times, the SEC hasn't actually made that decision yet. I understand inviting Missouri as well. It captures two TV markets (St. Louis and Kansas City) and provides more of a midwestern presence for current SEC programs that are looking for more rivalries.

I'm more inclined to think that Virginia Tech, despite denials that they've been contacted, is still a major player in this. The addition of Virginia Tech would expand visibility into the Washington, D.C. market, while still keeping the conference at the top of the football food chain. If the SEC does that, it would have to add another team to the East in order to preserve most of its current rivalries, which could be accomplished with the addition of UNC, N.C. State or even Florida State, even though the ‘Noles don't have a market that the SEC covets.

All of these conversations - expansion, realignment, full cost of attendance, oversigning legislation, etc. - are all related, and point to a world with four superconferences. If and when that ever happens, a four-team "plus one" playoff would almost certainly come with it.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

2010/2011 Off-Season Column Archive:
A&M, Clemson, FSU and Missouri? Not Buying It - August 13, 2011
CFN Analysis: Will A&M Secede To The SEC - August 12, 2011
Predicting The SEC - August 6, 2011
CFN Analysis: Butch Davis Gets Canned - July 28, 2011
CFN SEC Bloggers All-SEC Team - July 27, 2011
The SEC's Most Indispensable Players – July 20, 2011
King's Absence Is Huge For Georgia – July 8, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC Defensive Backs – July 5, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC LB's - June 28, 2011
Top 5 SEC Games of 2011 - June 27, 2011
Point/Counterpoint: Richt & UGA Need To Part Ways? - June 26, 2011
CFN Analysis: The NCAA Letter to UNC - June 23, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC DL - June 21, 2011
Top 5 SEC Out-Of-Conference Games - June 18, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC OL - June 13, 2011
CFN Analysis: Pryor Done at OSU - June 7, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC WR's - June 6, 2011
Ranking The SEC Head Coaches - June 6, 2011
Point/Counterpoint: Oversigning In The SEC II - June 4, 2011
Point/Counterpoint: Oversigning In The SEC - June 2, 2011
CFN Analysis: Tressel Resigns – May 30, 2011
Five Thoughts on SEC RB's – May 29, 2011
Ohio State & Tressel: The Hits Keep Coming – May 29, 2011
Five Thoughts on the SEC QB's – May 23, 2011
CFN Thoughts – The Extra Stipend Debate – May 22, 2011
Ealey's Transfer Leaves UGA In A Bind – May 9, 2011
Russell Wilson to the SEC? – May 5, 2011
SEC Draft Review – May 4, 2011
Five Thoughts on Janoris Jenkins – April 27, 2011
Muschamp Sets New Tone For Florida – April 26, 2011
Spring Lessons Learned – SEC East – April 24, 2011
Spring Lessons Learned – SEC West – April 20, 2011
Five Thoughts On Kentucky's Spring – April 14, 2011
Five Thoughts On Bama's Calloway – April 13, 2011
Stephen Garcia, Winning! – April 6, 2011
Stephen Garcia Suspended Indefintely – April 6, 2011
Five Thoughts On Ole Miss' Spring – April 6, 2011
Five Thoughts On Auburn's Spring – April 4, 2011
Real Sports Much Ado About… – March 31, 2011
Ainge's Addictions, And What It Means For UT – March 29, 2011
Five Thoughts On Tennessee's Spring – March 29, 2011
Tressel-Gate Has Only One Conclusion – March 26, 2011
Five Thoughts on Bama's Spring – March 25, 2011
Five Thoughts on Vandy's Spring – March 24, 2011
Five Thoughts on Florida's Spring – March 23, 2011
Bama Star Arrested – March 20, 2011
Five Thoughts on South Carolina's Spring – March 16, 2011
Five Thoughts on Arkansas' Spring – March 15, 2011
Auburn Players Arrested, Dismissed – March 12, 2011
Five Thoughts on LSU's Spring – March 11, 2011
CFN Analysis – The Too Busy Offseason – March 11, 2011
Five Thoughts on Georgia's Spring – March 9, 2011
CFN Analysis – Should Jim Tressel Have Been Fired – March 8, 2011
Five Thoughts on Mississippi State's Spring – March 6, 2011
Wheels On Newton Saga Keep Spinning – February 28, 2011
Six SEC West Spring Storylines – February 24, 2011
Kiffin and the Tennessee Issue – February 23, 2011
Six SEC East Spring Storylines – February 17, 2011
CFN Analysis – The SEC Schedule – February 10, 2011
Ealey Suspension Leaves Georgia In A Bind – February 9, 2011
SEC Signing Day Review – February 3, 2011
CFN Analysis – Signing Day 2011 – February 2, 2011
Dream Team Won't Save Richt – January 31, 2011
Five Thoughts On Kragthorpe – January 24, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC West Rankings – January 23, 2011
LSU Hires OC Four Years Too Late – January 20, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC East Rankings – January 19, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cam Turns Pro – January 14, 2011
BCS National Championship Review – January 11, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cotton Bowl – January 8, 2011
Five Thoughts On Why Auburn Wins – January 7, 2011
Five Thoughts On Dan Quinn – January 5, 2011
Tuesday Question: Should Rich Rod Be Fired – January 4, 2011
Five Thoughts on Charlie Weis – January 4, 2011
CFN Analysis: Charlie Weis as the Florida OC – January 3, 2011
CFN Analysis: Outback Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Gator Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Capital One Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Liberty Bowl – December 31, 2010
CFN Analysis: Music City Bowl – December 30, 2010
End Of The Season Accountability – December 27, 2010
Pryor Can't Be Compared To Newton – December 23, 2010
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 19, 2010
Malzahn Makes The Right Move – December 14, 2010
Five Thoughts on Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Florida Hires Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Cam's Heisman Landslide – December 11, 2010
Five Thoughts On Urban Meyer – December 9, 2010
Meyer Leaves Legacy, Question Marks – December 8, 2010

Click here for the 2010 regular season archive

Click here for the 2010 Three & Out archive