The primary hunting grounds for the SEC in this round of the conference realignment conversation will probably now turn to the ACC. There are still some noteworthy candidates, depending on how many more schools the SEC would ideally add when this round of realignment is all said and done, but most prominent options will come from the ACC.
This conversation starts with the Miami Hurricanes. There would be some obvious drawbacks for the SEC in terms of adding Miami. The football program isn’t at its best point, but there is some real potential behind the new head coach (formerly of the Ducks) Mario Cristobal.
If Cristobal shows that he can right the ship for the Canes starting this fall, then Miami should be worth legitimate consideration from the SEC. That does theoretically place a large burden on Cristobal’s shoulders. But Miami paid a hefty price to get him from Oregon, and the expectations will be high in Coral Gables out of the gates this year.
Adding Miami would also strengthen the SEC’s grip on both the TV market and recruiting grounds throughout essentially all of the state of Florida.
A truly prominent candidate for this round of SEC expansion is the Florida State Seminoles. While some might have doubts regarding the direction of the Florida State football program under head coach Mike Norvell, I believe there is just too much potential in this entire athletic program and university as a whole to ignore them as an expansion candidate.
I like the idea of the SEC getting a package deal in this round of expansion with Florida State and Miami. That would give the SEC the three biggest football programs in that state, by a mile. It would also be a lot of fun to have some big-time football rivalries housed in the same conference between the Florida Gators, Florida State, and Miami.