UNC and Duke would both get SEC invites in the event ACC dissolves

Duke v North Carolina
Duke v North Carolina / Peyton Williams/GettyImages

If Duke were to receive an SEC invite in the next round of conference realignment, UNC would also get one in order to keep the most historical "Tobacco Road" rivalry intact should the ACC dissolve, writes Roll Tide Wire's AJ Spurr.

"You think the SEC would extend an invite to Duke and not the North Carolina Tar Heels? Wrong! UNC offers a blend of historical, and current, basketball relevance, while also providing a football team that has produced plenty of NFL talent and has been competitive at times," Spurr prefaced before saying, "Keeping the Duke-UNC rival alive, the location, the athletics and academics make this an easy pick for the SEC."

Gig Em Gazette's Graham Harmon believes that Duke, UNC, and NC State can all end up in the SEC to keep the three flagship "Tobacco Road" rivals together; though Wake Forest was curiously left out of the mix.

"There will be issues for either conference with the Tobacco Road trio: can you take all three? Would you take all three? I'm not sure either conference is better equipped to handle that question than the other, but the fact is clear that what makes the most geographical and logistical sense for any one of these schools—and therefore for UNC individually—is to head to the SEC," Harmon wrote.

SEC expanding into North Carolina market one way or another during next round of conference realignment

It's an arms race right now for every conference to expand their footprint after the Big Ten and ACC, before the FSU/Clemson drama kicked into full gear and the conference's existence was threatened at least, made inroads into the state of California in 2022 and 2023.

The ACC has a stranglehold on the Mid-Atlantic right now, with Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, UVA, and Virginia Tech all members of the conference, but the B1G and SEC are circling those schools like sharks -- well, every school but Wake Forest seemingly, though could be one of the schools the Big 12 poaches in the aftermath of the ACC's collapse -- and are hoping to absorb into their ranks.

Being that the SEC already has strong ties to South Carolina, with the Gamecocks understanding that "It Just Means More" for 34 years and counting, the natural next step for the Southeastern Conference would be adding Duke, NC State and/or UNC.

Truth be told, UNC seems B1G-bound, and Duke may be better academic fits for the Big Ten too. But the SEC has every reason to hold out hope and believe that the biggest rivalry along the east coast and the preeminent college football conference (and a burgeoning basketball conference) could one day be in business.