SEC Aims to End Expansion Race, Will Stay at 16 Teams: Report
The college football world has been enamored with expansion talk for the better part of 12 months now after Oklahoma and Texas made the move the SEC last summer.
Then, around 10 days ago, things really heated up when USC and UCLA took the shock-and-awe factor to another level by committing to the Big Ten after the 2023 season.
If OU and UT didn’t start the “College Football Arm’s Race” USC and UCLA certainly did with their move, leaving the Pac-12 to fend for itself with the remaining conferences looking to further their respective kingdoms.
However, according to Matt Hayes of Saturday Down South, the SEC isn’t interested in further expansion at this point.
“We’re positioned at 16 (teams) for a robust future,” an SEC athletic director told SDS. “The need just isn’t there.”
Now, two SEC officials told SDS that future moves could change the way the conference feels about further expansion, but they feel good about the 16 that they have.
“I don’t see any (expansion) move as threatening to us,” an SEC source told SDS.
With Notre Dame being the needle with which everything moves right now, the question had to be asked: Would Notre Dame joining the Big Ten change be a threatening move?
“Why? I’ll put our product vs. anyone’s product.” an SEC told SDS. “So we’re going to just add schools to add schools? There’s no value in that.”
If the Big Ten decides to remain at 16 teams and bring some sort of short term “stability” to the college landscape, it could allow the Big 12 to easily match that number and draw themselves as part of a new “Big 3” of sorts. Sure, the Big 12 would be third on the list, but its better to be in their situation than in that of the ACC or Pac-12.
Television rights and ratings are the driving force for college football as they have been since the sport began to swell in popularity at the turn of the century. Remaining at 16 teams could stop the arms race from eating up more conferences, or worse, force the SEC and Big Ten to break-off and do their own thing. This sport is better when everyone is involved.
“We talk about value all the time. Well, there’s great value in college football as a whole,” another SEC source said. “I don’t think any of us, in any conference, can ignore that. There’s too much empirical data that shows it.”