Miami and Notre Dame seen as better fits for Big Ten than the SEC

Notre Dame v Miami
Notre Dame v Miami / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

USA Today's Blake Toppmeyer doesn't see Notre Dame and Miami as fits for the SEC; instead slotting the former in as a Big Ten shoo-in and the latter as a party town with little football precedence that belongs anywhere but the "It Just Means More" conference.

"Notre Dame remains an unlikely fit for the SEC," Toppmeyer prefaced before saying, "If the Irish ever surrender their independence, I expect the Big Ten to become their home. I agree Miami doesn’t mesh with the SEC’s vibe. That’s a beach-party city, not a college football town."

Notre Dame, which sits not only well above the Mason-Dixon line but is less than two hours from the Big Ten's headquarters in Chicago, makes as little sense as any school that's been linked to the SEC. Still, CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd shared on his Inside ND Sports: Notre Dame football podcast that the Fighting Irish or UNC are the likeliest additions from Greg Sankey and Co. during the next round of conference realignment.

Miami, meanwhile, is a college team that plays 30 miles from its campus and requires big city traffic to get from where tailgating should take place to the stadium. In recent years, fan attendance has been down, and the 2024 spring game was clowned on for its small crowds.

Small crowds and the SEC don't go together. The U's rebuilding phase best belongs elsewhere.

SEC open to expansion but Big Ten in position to add more schools

The SEC is open to expansion, but it hasn't shown much of a willingness to add FSU and Clemson despite the culture fits for both in the south's premiere athletics conference. Being unlikely for Notre Dame too means the Big Ten is in the driver's seat for conference realignment.

Miami, Notre Dame, FSU, and Clemson would be major additions for the B1G the next time realignment strikes, and the SEC would have limited options to counter that outside of UNC and UVA, and the other in-market schools in North Carolina and Virginia.