I beg you SEC, please accept Clemson into your conference! All of the recent talk of Texas A&M joining the SEC makes no sense to me.
I realize that by the time this issue hits your mailboxes or by the time you read it online, a decision could be made. That decision could have A&M being listed as the new kid on the block in the Southeastern Conference.
College football is changing more and more by the year and fading out with the changes are the old traditional rival games. Adding A&M to the SEC is going to be the latest mistake made by the conference. As a Clemson fan, I understand the lumps the boys in orange and white might take at first by playing in what some people refer to as the strongest football conference in the nation.
I even admit myself that the SEC is a powerhouse conference and that it would be very tough for any new member to jump on board and win games. I do know the impact it would have on prospects when Clemson recruiters can mention the words Southeastern Conference in their recruiting spill. For some prospects, playing in the SEC compared to the ACC could be a decision maker. The glitter and spotlight of playing in the SEC compared to any other conference is the golden ticket in some of the top prospects minds.
But our feathery bird friends from Columbia, the Gamecocks, would love to see Clemson remain an ACC team. Come to think of it, most of the teams in a surrounding area of Tiger Town would love to see Clemson stay where they are. South Carolina and Georgia don’t see Clemson as a threat on the recruiting field as much as they would if the Tigers were in the SEC. That makes sense but that’s also what makes college sports so much fun to follow.
Think about it. The old rival games we use to watch between Clemson and Georgia would have a brand new meaning if the two were in the same conference. Not only playing for just the bragging rights of two teams that are some 60 miles apart, there would also be a new found “conference” rival between the two.
Rival wars between the Tigers and Dogs could take place on a yearly basis if the two shared the same conference. The rival with Clemson and South Carolina would mean more if the two were wearing the same SEC patch on their jerseys. No longer would these rival games just be for state bragging rights they would also have conference implications on the line.
Bringing in Texas A&M to the SEC has no meaning at all. Where’s the rival in a match-up between the Aggies and Dogs, Alabama, Kentucky and so on? Games between teams of the SEC and Texas A&M would not have near the impact of a conference match-up between Florida and Florida State should FSU get the golden ticket. Just how far does the “Southeast” part of the conference name stretch? Adding to the rumor mill addition of the SEC are teams like Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. Just where do you draw the line of “Southeast?” It almost makes as much sense as calling the Atlanta Braves a team in the Western Division like they once were. Last time I traveled to Atlanta it took me a little over an hour to get there. Are we that close to the west?
I guess you could say adding to many teams too any conference in general could cause complaints also. One reason is because you kill traditions that have lived on before I was even born. Expanding the conferences could jeopardize the yearly rivals between schools like Auburn and Georgia, Alabama and LSU. Many say with the addition of too many teams, some yearly conference rivals would be reduced to every other year instead of yearly. But on a positive note, adding more teams to the SEC would mean more conference games a year. This would eliminate the cream puff games like Georgia versus New Mexico State and South Carolina verses East Carolina. For us Clemson fans, it would eliminate having to watch the Tigers play teams like Presbyterian and Furman. The fans and players excitement levels drop while trying to get fired up for such weak out-of-conference games.
Bring back the old neighborhood battles between the Dawgs and Tigers! Make that matchup a conference clash that will in turn result in a much more-hated rival. The instate war of Clemson and USC would intensify each year if both teams have that SEC patch on their jerseys. The travel distance with for the teams and fans would be more manageable. No long trips to Texas for Florida or Georgia to take; no more long hauls for Clemson or Florida State fans to travel to Boston College. To me it just makes more sense to expand the SEC with teams that are already in the Southeast.
College football needs to keep the love/hate relationship between the SEC and those from the west or mid-west intact. So for all those mid-west and northern teams that can’t beat teams from the South, forget the saying, “If you can’t beat‘em, join’em.”
Dallas Bordon is the former sports editor of The Comer News/Danielsville Monitor and a regular sports columnist for The Madison County Journal.