Now that Miami and Virginia Tech are part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, don't look for the ACC to stop now. They need one more team to get to the magic number of 12. That's how many teams you need to have a conference championship game - and that's where the $$$$$ is.
Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles raised the possibility of the ACC coming after a Southeastern Conference school. He mentioned Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina as candidates, although Broyles added he has not heard ANY talk of such a plan.
I'd be shocked if the Gators or Wildcats EVER left the SEC. Why would Florida want to join a conference that already has Florida State and Miami? And even though Kentucky's football program is not all that impressive, when it comes to hoops, the Wildcats OWN the SEC.
All those SEC tournament championship banners hanging from the roof at Rupp - no way Kentucky breaks from that tradition.
That leaves South Carolina. Now that's a possibility. It makes sense geographically, since Columbia is a lot closer to the "Atlantic Coast" than it is to what is typically considered the "Southeast." Also, the Gamecocks have only been part of the SEC club for a little more than a decade, having joined in '92 along with Arkansas. The Gamecocks' SEC roots are not all that deep.
Just for fun, who do you think the SEC would go after if one of its teams hit the road?
Southern Miss? Middle Tennessee? UAB? Troy State?
Quality programs, but not what you would consider up to SEC standards.
I think the ACC will look elsewhere to find it's 12th school. Louisville is being mentioned a lot. Think of the level of basketball in that conference if Rick Pitino's team were to be in the same league with North Carolina and Duke.
But the bigger issue is: What happens to the BCS when all of the conferences expand? Are we getting closer to a division one playoff?
I sure hope so. My dear friend Phil Snow used to refer to guys like me as "playoff pushers" for our zest to overhaul the current system and replace it with a playoff.
Yes, the BCS is an improvement over the previous method for picking a national champion. Coaches in one poll. Media in the other. Sometimes TWO national champs were crowned in the same year. What's up with that?
Now we at least have the ONE BIG championship game. But the rest of the games - even the other BCS games - are rendered meaningless.
I get all of the arguments for the status quo: Bowl games are a reward. Tradition. The way it is now, 25 teams (the Bowl winners) are happy at the end of the year - with a playoff, only one would be happy. It would consume too much of the "student athletes'" time. I always get a chuckle out of that last one, since I've never heard the coaches and players from Division I-AA, II or III (all of which use a playoff to crown their champion) complain.
The SEC (which profits greatly from the Bowl system) touts in its 2003 preview "Bowl Games Are College Football."
So let's not do away with the bowls - let's use them in the playoff. True - the idea is not new, but it's a winner. Think of the increased attention, ratings, ticket sales, etc. every bowl game would receive if the winner of that game would advance to a bigger bowl game.
With colleges in general and athletic departments in particular facing a revenue crunch, the University presidents who have the power to change the system will someday embrace this money-making concept.
And college football fans will be the winners.