In this expansion game, SEC needs Georgia Tech, Florida State

thebillshanksshow@yahoo.comMay 22, 2012 

The college football realignment and expansion story is evolving so quickly that between the time I write this column and the time you read it, things could have already drastically changed. That’s why college football fans are hitting refresh on their computers regularly to see what happens.

We do know that perhaps as early as next month the new college football postseason could be announced. We also know that, perhaps even before that is revealed, programs and conferences are lining up to be in place so they won’t be left out.

It’s like a game of musical chairs, with schools walking around a group of seats, or conferences, and wanting to make sure they can get a seat when the music stops.

Some believe that when the SEC took in Texas A&M and Missouri, the conference was finished with expansion. Don’t believe that for a second. These conferences are going to form 16-team super conferences, and it’s very possible these groups might be at the front of the line to be in the college football playoff.

The SEC needs to go get Florida State, a program that is shopping itself around like it’s a baseball free agent. The Seminoles don’t need to go to the Big 12, but instead need to take their talents to the SEC.

Sure, Florida State’s brand is not what it used to be 15 years ago. And Tallahassee is not a big media market, which is important. But if Florida State and perhaps Clemson go to the Big 12, and then the SEC decides it wants two more schools, what is it going to do?

Will it go after Louisville, or maybe South Florida, or even Miami? Will the SEC be stuck with accepting N.C. State or Tulane, or how about Southern Miss?

The SEC needs to go after schools that have football tradition. Even Georgia Tech would be a good fit. And for this rumor going around that the schools in the SEC might not want another school from their states to come into the conference, well, that’s just silly.

Consider, for example, how great it would be for this state if Georgia Tech came into the SEC. Think of how great the Georgia-Georgia Tech game would be each November. It would be similar to the Alabama-Auburn game, where it’s not just a state rivalry, but a division rivalry that would mean so much more.

Georgia Tech has to be real careful here. If Florida State and Clemson leave the ACC, it would be the second-most southern team in a conference that would be trending north. Does Georgia Tech really want to be in a conference that would be even more of a basketball league than it is now, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse coming into the ACC and football schools heading elsewhere?

There have already been rumors in the past few days that conversations have taken place between Georgia Tech and the Big 12. Really? They would really go to the Big 12 knowing the SEC is destined to add two more teams?

Now if that gentleman’s agreement is in place, where, for example, Georgia has Florida’s word that Georgia Tech would not be allowed in, and in turn Florida has Georgia’s word that Florida State wouldn’t be let in, then get ready for N.C. State and another team from outside the South to join the SEC.

But the SEC must be proactive. There is no doubt Florida State is leaving the ACC, and others -- Clemson and maybe Georgia Tech -- could and likely would follow. Get those schools in this area and make that football brand even stronger.

Yeah, it’s nice to be in big markets that you’re not in now, like Houston and Dallas for Texas A&M and St. Louis for Missouri. But in this game of musical chairs, the SEC doesn’t need to be the one left standing when the music stops and settle for just anyone.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com. Contact him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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