With all due respect to the moves of Nebraska, Colorado, and Boise State, the real action in the recent flirtatious episode of the college football was what would happen if the bulk of the Big XII power bolted and leagues like the SEC responded by expansion. We know that's not going to happen (at least, not for the short term) and SEC fans should be thankful. Here's three reasons why:
1. The A-Level Power in the SEC Would Have Only Gained
Alabama, Florida, LSU, and Tennessee are the class of the conference and have been since the divisional split and the institution of the conference championship game. Even in down years, the conversation flows through and around these programs. Adding to the top level with teams like Texas and Oklahoma would have only strengthened the top of the conference. It would have been entertaining to watch and see if the big dogs of the Big XII could hang with the cream of the college football crop and I suspect they would all have to learn to live at the top together. One thing is for certain: adding to the top of the pack would have only increased the gap between the A-level and B-level. That brings me to reason #2:
2. The B-Level Teams Would Have Lost Their Chance
If you are a fan of Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss, or Arkansas, you should thank your lucky conference stars that the Big XII schools of power decided to stay put. Each offseason is a time of renewed hope for these programs as each has had a moment or two at the top of the mountain (however short lived it may be). Adding another set of top-level teams wouldn't have made the chore of unseating a top team harder — it would have made it impossible. Adding mid-level competition such as Texas A&M and Virginia Tech) would have only served to level off the occasional upstart team from this tier and ultimately would have left the C-level teams. Speaking of them:
3. The C-Level Teams Would Have Never Seen a Bowl – Except on TV
Face it — if you are a fan of Vandy or Kentucky, you pretty much take any wins or bowl appearances like you do extra fries in the bag at McDonald's. You don't really ask for it, but you'll gladly accept. However, if the new management starts stiffing you, you don't really care either. Same goes for Mississippi State and South Carolina, boys and girls. Those programs exist in spite of themselves and although they do occasionally play in the FBS postseason, it's not a requirement. However, because competition is what it is in the SEC, these teams have stepped up the game and now fight for those bowl chances. That wouldn't even be in question if the SEC had added to the top two tiers of the conference. You'd have been better off working through the Sun Belt and even that would still be a challenge.
So the dust has settled on a particularly bizarre offseason story and in the end, the SEC remains largely the same — in control of the college football landscape.