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Conference Realigment Talk....Again

Well that didn't last long.

Actually, everyone pretty much assumed that last summer's shifts in the college athletics landscape were just small tremors previewing the big earthquake to come. That could very well be upon us with all but confirmed rumors that Texas A&M will head to the SEC. If you are wondering "why now" much of that has to do with Texas/Big 12 politics. In short there are couple of reasons that are pushing the Aggies to make his change. One is the folks in College Station are sick and tired of living in the shadow of Texas in the Big 12. They want their own identity and think a move to the SEC will give them that. In all honesty, it has probably always been that way for A&M. However during the course of the past year one major change apparently really pissed the Aggies off. That was the creation of the Longhorn Network. Texas, despite being a member of the Big 12, would have their own TV brand and collect obscene amounts of money from it. The network, which was backed heavily by ESPN, also planned on showing high school football which undoubtedly would include Texas recruits. That was later nixed by the NCAA but the fact Texas would have its own freaking network to promote its brand was enough to push A&M into the loving arms of the SEC.

The question now becomes what the SEC will do if they do bring A&M over? Will they move on an additional team to make it an even fourteen? Three to get to sixteen? Stay at thirteen? The chatter says the SEC will go to fourteen which has led to a variety of rumors as to who the 14th team might be. Missouri's name has been out there some but the main thrust of the scuttlebutt today has focused on Florida St. In fact FSU to the SEC has been reported as anything from the delusional ramblings of crazy people to declared fact by those claiming to be in the know. Just to give you an idea of how fluid the rumors have been we've had FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, NC State and UNC mentioned as possible SEC targets.

The prevailing thought has been that the SEC is all about expanding their footprint which would almost certainly preclude Clemson and FSU from being tapped. That opens the door for a possible run at VT, NCSU or UNC to go along with Texas A&M. Earlier on Friday both Virginia Tech's AD Jim Weaver and NC State AD Debbie Yow made statements about their commitment to the ACC while ACC Commissioner John Swofford issued a statement of his own in which he said there were no indication from any of the league's twelve members that anyone was thinking about packing their bags. As though anyone would say otherwise publicly or privately.

The latest in the long line of rumors came late Friday evening when Yahoo Sports Radio host Todd Wright dropped this nugget:

Whoa! Jeff Tarpley of just told me on air he hears via A&M sources that NORTH CAROLINA may be in the mix as SEC's 14th school.

Well isn't that interesting. At this point since half the ACC has been rumored to be joining the SEC there is nothing much to say until something actually happens. Of course in some quarters of the Wolfpack fan base, NCSU folks are really loving the idea of a move to the SEC for some of the same reasons A&M is making the move. Clemson and FSU would probably jump in half a hearbeat. Virginia Tech might do the same but there is no way of knowing what the University of Virginia and the VA state legislature might do in response to such a move given the involvement of both in the Hokies' move to the ACC.

In short this is one big old "stay tuned" to see how it all turns out. At this point the A&M to the SEC move appears to be a done deal but beyond that everyone is guessing and this will either be much ado about nothing or the big upheaval of college athletics a long time in the making.