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On Southeastern Conference expansion: Add Texas, Texas A&M, Miami and Florida State

GAINESVILLE -- You know that far off, foggy "paradigm shift" of college football Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive so judiciously spoke of last week? It just registered a 9.5 on the Richter Scale.

Seek shelter, college football fans. The sport as we know it is about to explode. On Wednesday, Nebraska and Colorado decided to part ways with the Big 12. According to reports, Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten and Colorado is moving to the Pac-10. The Big 12? Kablooie!

I'll cut to the chase here a little bit, and will not bore you with what you already know or think you know. The Pac-10 is trying to gobble up Texas and its friends. So, what's the SEC's play? That's the big question. What is the most powerful conference in college football going to do to stay on top? Invite Texas and Texas A&M to join the league, of course.

Leaders at Texas and Texas A&M are scheduled to meet on Thursday to decide the future of their athletic programs. They have two options: Join the Pac-10 or join the SEC. Put that way, it's really no choice at all. If you're Texas and Texas A&M and your conference is about to go under and you have a choice to join the SEC, then that's what you do. End of discussion. And if Mike Slive and his SEC constituents miss the boat on this one they'll have a lot of explaining to do.

So, Texas and Texas A&M brings the SEC to 14 teams. I'm going to go ahead and write that one down because any other home for Texas and Texas A&M would be idiotic. But is that enough, or should the league expand further? Should the SEC move to 16 and remain the undisputed king of college football, or should the SEC pass the torch of college-football innovation off to Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott and the Stanfords of the world?

Put a different way, what would Roy Kramer do? You know Roy, right? He's the man who made the SEC what it is today. He expanded the league to 12 teams in 1992, created Division I-A's first conference championship game and then masterminded the Bowl Championship Series. I hope Mike Slive is paying attention. The SEC isn't in the business of reacting to "paradigm shifts." No, the SEC is in the business of creating college football earthquakes. Reacting to paradigm shifts is for leagues like the Big 12, which will be history in 2012.

So, the SEC adds Texas and Texas A&M from the west and then adds Miami and Florida State from the east. It's that simple. And if ESPN is smart, which it is, they'll demand this, broker this and help get it done. In adding all of the football powers from Texas and Florida to your league, you lock down the country's two most influential football states and then let the rest of the college football fight for the scraps.

And I don't want to hear anything about Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech or anyone else. The SEC should add Texas, Texas A&M, Miami and Florida State and rule college football forever. And guess what, Canes fans, if the 'U' is lucky enough to join the SEC -- And, believe me, UF athletic director Jeremy Foley and coach Urban Meyer will put up a fight on this one -- it will change the culture of Miami football for the better, and by better we mean more money, more fans in the stands, more respect, more everything.

A bit of a rant, that was. Now back to the point. If the Big 12 is completely dissolved, then the new home for Texas and Texas A&M should be the SEC. If Miami doesn't bring enough to the table to warrant a spot in the SEC, then add Virginia Tech instead.

Parting thought: Would Miami finally win an ACC title if Florida State and Virginia Tech were no longer in the league? In all seriousness, a watered down ACC might better suit the Canes.

-jo-

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