College athletic conferences are always finding new and exciting ways to further screw with the already tortured fabric of college football.
The Big Ten has been talking for so long about expanding to 12 in order to get a championship game that we're surprised it hasn't happened. Now it seems to have raised the stakes, and word is it wants to emerge as a 16-team superconference.
That would have minimal direct effect on the Hurricanes, but the SEC, ever eager to remain the biggest power in college football, has set off rumors it's interested in expanding to 16 teams too. This would either see the Canes as a prime expansion target or left in a weakened and reorganized ACC.
The Birmingham News breaks it down like this:
What if the Big Ten gets even bigger? What if it poaches schools like Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12 and Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East to expand all the way to 16 members strong?
That could force the SEC to flex its own muscles and go after heavyweights like Texas and Texas A&M to the west and Florida State and Miami to the east.
It's all rumor and speculation now, but there's no mistaking [SEC Commissioner Mike] Slive's warning. He said the SEC will do what it takes to be what it is.
Second to none.
Neither Texas, FSU, nor (to a lesser degree) Miami is a stranger to SEC expansion rumors. They were all possible targets when the conference expanded in 1991. The addition of Miami was rumored to be curtailed by push-back from Florida and that school's small presence in and perceived commitment to sports outside of baseball and football.
ESPN SEC blogger Mike Blow is in agreement with all but one point
: "Miami would also be attractive, especially with the South Florida television market, but Florida would probably be adamantly opposed to the Hurricanes joining the SEC." Instead, he speculates that Clemson, another ACC team, would be a more realistic target.
The Canes have always been "all about the U" and not all about whichever conference the administration drags them too. More than most football fan bases, the Canes nation doesn't have much conference pride. Not surprising considering they've been in two since 1990 and were independent before that.
There are a million upsides and a million downsides to all scenarios. (For starters: Is Miami, a private school in a major metro area, really a good fit for a conference with mostly flagship state schools? But do they went to dwell in a weakened ACC?) Bottom line right now: This is all just sports blogger daydreaming right now, but we're interested in hearing your take.