Auburn football fans, yesterday was another sign of the times. Those times–at least in the world of college football–are dominated by the SEC, and the alliance formed by the next three biggest conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12) is further evidence to support that notion.
This offseason has been an eventful one, with Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for dry by announcing their intentions to join the SEC by 2025. Those two national powerhouse brands will surely benefit from all of the big money matchups in their new conference, but it leaves eight programs in no-man’s land.
Merging with the Pac-12 wouldn’t mean as much for schools like Oklahoma State and Iowa State as it would have a decade ago. College football programs on the west coast have not been able to match up to the southeast’s, with perhaps a major drop-off in passion and emphasis on sports culturally being a reason for that region.
But Oklahoma-Alabama? Texas-LSU? How about either program furthering their history with Auburn football? Those will be cultural events in the south, and the pomp and pageantry of the SEC is the perfect host to the enormous potential those contests hold from an on-the-field standpoint and from a financial perspective.
The fact that three conferences will be joining forces because two (2) teams jumped conferences shows just how much of a threat the SEC is to the rest of college football.
And it shows that even with all of the potential money matchups this alliance will give way to, the biggest games will still be played in the south, where an alliance with another conference just isn’t necessary for the SEC.
With all of the national championships collected by the Southeast Conference since the dawn of the College Football Playoff, it’s not a shock that other universities would want in, and that the schools that wouldn’t receive an invite to the SEC anyway (minus a handful from the ACC or Big Ten) would do something big to respond.