By Luke Robinson
When it comes to college conference realignment, I have ideas. Lots of them.
They are probably not that good, but that’s irrelevant as you probably aren’t reading this anyway. Pavlov paid more attention to his cats than B-Metro readers pay to me. It’s OK. My therapist tells me it barely bothers me anymore.
Anyhoo, I do want to change the SEC a little. Well, maybe a lot. You see, while marketing masters and money mavens worry about regional footprints and the like, I want the Southeastern Conference to continue to be what made it the most fun, colorful, and interesting group of schools in the country: southeastern personality!
I get why the SEC invited Texas A&M and Missouri. From a financial standpoint, it’s brilliant. But those schools aren’t really crazy enough. At least, not the kind of “country crazy” that makes us unique. Mizzou has its occasional social unrest and A&M has that weird thing they do where they all lock arms and sway and stuff. Neat.
While some aspects of those schools are technically “crazy,” the SEC needs something different. True SEC crazy is more rooted in Southern culture. It’s hard to put into cliché-less words, so I will just say we need more of a “that boy ain’t right” crazy or “crazy-as-a-sprayed-roach” crazy. You know what I mean, right? “Crazy-as-a-hit-dog” crazy.
So, let’s boot A&M and Mizzou and make us the perfect SEC.
We will start with the SEC Wess (Yes, I am going to drop the “t” and add “s” for emphasis on our drawls.) Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Miss. State, LSU, and Arkansas all stay right where they are. No need for movement with these guys; they are SEC staples. However, I will move Vanderbilt from the SEC East over to the new Wess. Vandy can help class up this division a little. Think of it as the uppity cousin who went off to get more schoolin’ but who never forgot his family.
Speaking of the SEC East, with Vandy gone and the Wess having seven teams now, there are two slots to fill. Early money would be on Florida State taking one spot, but something about FSU doesn’t sit well with me. The Seminoles could have joined the league back in the early ’90s and declined. Asking them back now would make it seem like the break up was our fault. We ain’t got time for that.
Louisville is a good option, too. They have a natural rivalry with Kentucky and the Cardinals would give the basketball side a huge boost. Louisville football is also coached by Bobby Petrino, and what is more Southern than a man who gets fired for wrecking his scooter with his mistress on the back and then lying about it? Overall, though, I think there are better options for the SEC.
I am going to write Clemson in as the first team to join the club. These Tigers are perfect for our lil’ tree house. They are already hated by South Carolina and Georgia and in the SEC East, they will all play each other every year now. The Tigers also just played Alabama and open next season at Auburn. Heck, Lewis Grizzard even wrote about Clemson on occasion! Not in a flattering way, but still.
Yes, I know adding another South Carolina team does literally nothing for the reach of the conference, but it does increase the brand in the sense that the conference’s foundation is rivalries. Besides, there are so many good jokes about the SEC’s acting all incestuous by inviting a team from a state it already has a team in and all.
Along that same theme, what about bringing in West Virginia? The Mountaineers burn couches and make moonshine, man! If that doesn’t have SEC written all over, nothing does. No, West Virginia doesn’t have any natural rivals in the league currently. When I watch WVU play, though, I get the feeling that everyone is their natural rival. At least, they act like it. Their “us agin’t tha world” mentality is exactly what our conference loves. That kind of hatred for the opposition is crucial to being an SEC member. Plus, their mascot wears a coonskin cap. Welcome aboard!
So there it is. The perfect SEC. You’re welcome.