If Offered, We Should AcSECpt, I wrote that column last summer and still believe it's in Tech's best interest to be part of any SEC expansion plans. This SEC is home to the last six national champions, prestigious bowl tie-ins, is building a national digital network and has an insanely lucrative television contract. From the outside looking in, it seems as if Texas A&M's bags are packed and the Aggies are walking out the Big 12's front door. Common sense would dictate they'll need a running mate, or posse of three, to even out the SEC's numbers. Virginia Tech is rumored to be among a handful of schools (Florida State, Missouri, Oklahoma,) the SEC is interested in joining A&M.
Obviously the cart has been put in front of the horse. Texas A&M hasn't publicly stated any intentions, and last year it seemed likely they'd leave the Big 12 for the SEC, until they didn't.
Hokies are decisively split on whether or not to accept an SEC offer. I've already wrote we should jump at an SEC offer, today I'll argue against why we should stay in the ACC.
Virginia Tech survived being independent and wandered around the Big East like like a vagabond all while knowing their true home was the ACC. David Teel notes the following.
The Hokies had long pined for the ACC. Publicly. Weaver and university administrators had flown to Greensboro to lobby ACC officials for inclusion and were working to secure the Big East only out of self-preservation.
When the unexpected invite from the ACC came, not even then-Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese blamed Tech for accepting. The fit was ideal and apparent.
As it stands, the ACC is is the best fit for Virginia Tech. I cannot disagree with that. However, it's naive to believe there's not at least a chance the ACC will be different in the near future after the SEC, Big Ten or even the Big East expand. The Big Ten was rumoured to be interested in Maryland, the Big East would welcome Boston College back with open arms, and Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State could all join their instate rivals in the SEC. There's a good chance the ACC becomes as weak and irrelevant as the Big East, the conference we fought to move up from.
I disagree with those that would say we'd be leaving our rivalries behind. We played Virginia before the ACC and we'll continue to play them well after. The Miami rivalry intensified when we joined the Big East, just like Georgia Tech heated up when we started trading blows in the ACC. We'll make new rivalries in the SEC and play a longstanding foe, Tennessee, located only 230+ miles away.
Yes, SEC schools are indeed that close to Blacksburg. South Carolina is less than a 5-hour drive away, Kentucky 5.5 and Georgia is about six hours. That's not much farther than 3.5-hour trips to Chapel Hill and Durham, or the 7-hours to Atlanta. The point being, those schools aren't as far away as you think and the extra money from the SEC television contract would easily offset any additional travel costs for non-revenue sports.
At the end of the day though, it might not even be up to Tech.
Florida State officials have been flirting with the SEC for several months and the discussion now are getting more serious, according to sources.
Rumors have been spreading that the SEC is poised to expand, first to 14 teams and then to 16, and the Seminoles and Texas A&M of the Big 12 could be the first two to jump.
"This is real," said a source close to FSU.
Other schools being mentioned as possible SEC candidates: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
And as of today it doesn't look a move to the SEC is anything Jim Weaver is interested in. Kyle Tucker, all the way from Kentucky, caught up with the AD.
"I think we would politely decline," Weaver said. "That's my knowing how excited we were and pleased we were when we got in the ACC. And when you realize the travel involved and so on, we're virtually in a ‘bus league' right now. The SEC would cause other travel issues. Certainly there is (increased) revenue involved (with joining the SEC). But I just feel like, and this is me talking – I haven't talked to the president or any of that – Virginia Tech would politely decline, because we're very happy to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference."
Weaver is a smart man, and such a move is as much a political decision, as it is a financial one. Right now no one can see the fire through all the smoke blowing. So who knows what, if anything, is going on behind the scenes.
I do know this. I would be disappointed if we weren't asked, but infuriated if we said, "no thank you," because I believe that would be the wrong decision for Virginia Tech.