I gave up trying to follow the conference realignment brouhaha months ago. You may think that’s a stupid decision for someone who makes a (part time) living off writing for a sports site, but honestly, it just doesn’t interest me that much. How do I feel about our new brothers, Texas A&M and Missouri? They’re cool, I guess. Maybe I’ll take a road trip to watch the Cats play the Aggies one day, or reminisce fondly about the gelled-up mess that was Quin Snyder’s hair with some Tiger alums before a basketball game. All in all, the newest members of the SEC seem pretty benign, and maybe it’s the pre-wedding Xanax talking, but I’m not too worried.
And then Florida State had to go mess everything up. In case you’ve been like me, content to keep your head stuck in the sand on this issue, here’s a brief recap: Florida State got upset with the ACC over it’s new TV contract and threatened to jump ship for the Big 12. Add in the death of the BCS and the new “Champions Bowl” between the SEC and the Big 12 set to start in 2014, and it seems more likely than ever that we’re headed towards the four major “super-conferences” that our own John Calipari predicted a few years ago. Now, the ACC doesn’t seem quite so sturdy, with several teams considering jumping ship for the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, or Pac 12, which, if each were to expand to 16 teams, would create four super-conferences.
OK, cool…we just need to add two more teams. Time to start courting the ladies! And what would you know, the two teams some analysts see coming to the SEC? None other than Duke and North Carolina.
Well, there goes that whole “calm and collected” thing.
The move makes sense: it would make the SEC the dominant conference in both basketball and football (which it already was). But what would it mean for Kentucky? In football, it gives us two opponents we could potentially beat, or at the very least, compete with from year to year. In basketball? Oh, buddy. I think my blood pressure just rocketed. We’re used to playing North Carolina every year (despite the series’ unfortunate hiatus), but to me, Duke is a different animal Christian Laettener is going to have to wipe a lot more than the Rupp Arena floor to erase that memory. Gone is our “buffer zone” between conferences, our padding against memories of “the shot,” which we’re already forced to relive on in freaking UPS commercials, for goodness’ sake. Playing Duke in Atlanta in November is one thing, but in Rupp and Cameron each year? In the SEC Tournament? The couches in Lexington just shuddered. Is our emotional health worth the price of increased media exposure, big-time games, and more than our fair share of ESPN Classic appearances?
Does the thought of Duke and UNC joining the SEC make you want to barf or cheer? Or, would you rather the conference bring in someone a bit milder, like NC State and/or Virginia Tech?