If Big Ten Expands Will SEC Follow? Ranking the Expansion Candidates

First, a few preliminaries to set the scene. Recall that the last two teams added to the SEC were South Carolina and Arkansas. Geographically, culturally and fan-base wise, both made sense. Each school also ranks in the top 27 in athletic department size, so they’re spending the money necessary to be competitive at the top of the college athletics world. But in terms of dollars gained by the conference as a whole, that is, providing a rich television market or a new frontier to expand the SEC brand, neither school advanced the conference’s interest that substantially. Both schools are regional powers lacking top-fifty television markets entirely within their state footprints. As a general rule, future conference expansion is likely to be driven by television–witness Boston College joining the ACC– more than by cultural connection since television rights fees are the highest growth properties from a business perspective..