Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The SEC may eventually add a 14th team to go with lucky No. 13 Texas A&M, who Mike Slive confirmed Monday has had its application accepted by the league--though thanks to the various legal entanglements thrown in the Aggies' way, is apparently not a full member yet.
But as for team No. 14, it sounds as if Slive is fully prepared to wait at least a year to find it, if not longer. Slive also said in his statement that the league has no "immediate plans for a 14th member. We aren’t thinking in terms of numbers. We think about the strength of the SEC and the attractiveness of Texas A&M as an institution."
To drive that point home, Slive also confirmed the SEC has "started to look at schedules for 2012-13 involving thirteen teams."
But that little factoid also helps drive a second point home: while A&M isn't officially within the league's ranks yet, they might as well be. "We remain optimistic that Texas A&M will be a member of the SEC," Slive said, commissioner-speak for "Trust me, it's happening, don't worry."
Of course, that's been the expectation ever since the SEC confirmed that its presidents had voted to bring the Aggies into the fold the moment they were legally free to do so. But the expectation has also been that the league -- which Slive famously said could expand to 16 within a matter of minutes -- wouldn't bother playing even one season with unbalanced divisions and an unusual odd-numbered membership.
Given that Slive already feels comfortable enough to tell us the SEC's preliminary 2012-2013 schedules will have just 13 teams included, though, the smart money should now overwhelmingly be on A&M coming aboard in the very near future ... and anyone else in 2013 at the earliest.
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