From USA Today’s Campus Rivalry blog:
Mike Slive, the conference’s commissioner, told the New York Times that he is prepared to react if the Big Ten adds teams.
“I won’t sit back and just ignore what is going on around me,” Slive said. “We will be thinking ahead so we are prepared to do whatever we need to do.
“If there’s going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure that it maintains its position as one of the nation’s preeminent conferences.”
Should the Big Ten go to 14 or 16 teams as expected, look for the Slive to target schools in the Southeast for addition to his league. That could include powerhouse programs Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Clemson and Georgia Tech. The SEC also could look to Texas and Texas A&M should they desire to stretch their footprint further West.
I could see the Big 10 adding Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas if it expands to 16 teams and I could also where see the SEC would invite Texas and Texas A&M. Doing so would expandSEC territory to the much-coveted Texas media market and would also revive some of the now-defunct Southwest Conference rivalries.
One school that has not been mentioned much in the expansion talk is Oklahoma. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities for the SEC to extend its hand to Oklahoma if the SEC reaches out to the two Texas schools. OU has strong football and basketball traditions and it has its rivalry with Texas.
It’s much less likely that the Big 10 would offer an invite to OU. Nebraska and Oklahoma used to have a big-time rivalry in football, but that was in the olden days of the Big 8. In the Big 8 era, OU and NU played each year and more often than not, that game meant the Big 8 championship. But when the Big XII formed and chose the north-south divisions, OU in the south and NU in the north, that rivalry was squashed. It didn’t help matters that OU struggled throughout for a period in the 1990’s and NU struggled for a period during the “awts.”
What seems increasingly likely is this: the days of the Big XII appear to be numbered.