On Jim Delany’s 70th birthday in 2018, the Big 10 invites Missouri and Vanderbilt to join the Big 10 in 2024. The SEC is chosen since they do not have a grant of rights. Missouri has always coveted an invite to the Big 10 and Vanderbilt would accept, if only to join the CIC and other major research universities. The SEC is surprised by this move, but Missouri and Vanderbilt are not the lynchpins of SEC success, so there is no concern regarding the long term stability of the SEC.
Within the next few hours of the news conference, the Big 10 releases an announcement stating that Missouri and Vanderbilt have accepted their respective invitations. The Big 10 now invites Virginia and Georgia Tech of the ACC to join the Big 10 in 2027 when the ACC’s grant of rights expire. Again, the ACC is not overly concerned by this move, but when combined with the SEC’s loss of two schools, it is possible that the ACC may lose four schools (two to the Big 10 and possibly two members to the SEC).
Within a few hours of the second news conference, the Big 10 announces that Virginia and George Tech have accepted their respective invitations. The Big 10 now offers invitations to Kansas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 for the school year of 2025 when the Big 12 grant of rights expire.
2024: Missouri and Vanderbilt
2025: Kansas and Oklahoma
2027: Virginia and Georgia Tech
The Big 10 will have twenty schools, the SEC and the ACC will have twelve and the Big 12 will have eight schools (as of this writing). Being numerically, and possibly physiologically, disadvantaged, the SEC will act. Oklahoma St., Kansas St. and Virginia Tech must be invited to limit the Big 10 influence in those three states. Texas A&M will not allow another Texan school to join the SEC, so an invite is sent to NC State. North Carolina, like Texas, would rather reign in Hell than serve in heaven.
The Big 10 sits at twenty schools, the SEC at sixteen schools and the ACC has eleven football members. At this juncture, Delany is neither concerned about Notre Dame nor Texas. If Notre Dame remains independent or joins the ACC, it would be irrelevant for the Big 10. If Texas goes independent or joins the Pac14, then again, it would be irrelevant to the Big 10.
Since these announcements have been made many years prior to their expected moves, there will be enough time for schools to find another conference:
Will universities named after their respective cities (Houston, Cincinnati and Memphis) try to join similar named universities (Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Miami (FL), Wake Forest and Boston College)?
Will the private schools (Tulane, Tulsa, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian and Baylor) have the chance to join their like minded brethren (Syracuse, Miami (FL), Boston College, Duke and Wake Forest)?
Will Cincinnati and Pittsburgh suggest that they can deliver parts of the Big 10 territory (Ohio and Pennsylvania) to the SEC? Will Iowa St. make a similar claim to the SEC?
If Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Iowa St move to the SEC, will this allow West Virginia to join the SEC?
If the above moves do happen, then we have the following: Big 10, twenty members; SEC twenty members and the ACC, ten members (after the loss of Pittsburgh).
Will the ACC be in crisis mode? Will all of the following universities receive ACC invitations to bring the number of ACC institutions to eighteen?
Only FBS in the state
Sharing Tennessee with Big 10 and the SEC.
Sharing Louisiana with the SEC.
Sharing Texas with the SEC.
Sharing Oklahoma with the Big 10 and the SEC.
Sharing Mississippi with the SEC.
Sharing Georgia with the Big 10 and the SEC.
Sharing Ohio with the Big 10 and the SEC (Cincinnati).
Gentle Reader, we cannot know the final outcome of the ever exciting speculation called “Conference Realignment”, however, we suggest that if Mr. Delany will not be concerned about any defensive measures the SEC, the ACC or the Big 12 will be forced to take to stay relevant, then, likewise, he will not be concerned about the final fate of either Notre Dame or Texas.