The Southeastern Conference is likely to raid the Big 12 for its next candidate for expansion. That much seems certain since Texas A&M filed its papers to move late last week, and the move has been publicly telegraphed and analyzed for weeks by mainstream media. But with the expansion to 13 teams for the power conference, will the SEC possibly look for a 14th member to keep things even? And if so, will they be interested in another Big 12 member like the Missouri Tigers to bolster the conference?
Certainly for Missouri, the allure of the SEC would provide multiple benefits. The suspicious cloud that now hangs over the basketball program after several fruitful years under now-Arkansas coach Mike Anderson thanks for Miami hire Frank Haith could disappear with the strengthened conference ties. Even if they must go through the hoops of dispelling allegations or ultimately firing Haith, the buzz that would come from the move could bolster the team's recruiting base and media coverage.
The biggest gain, however, would come from the football side of things, where the Tigers would undoubtedly play tougher competition but would be able to compete at the highest of collegiate levels. They'd also be able to recruit players with the lure of playing multiple nationally televised games each week. While the Big 12 certainly has powerful media members like Oklahoma and Texas among others, it cannot rival the SEC or even come close at this point.
Simply put, the gravitational pull of the SEC is nearly impossible to resist at this stage, so the assumption is that if the conference is interested in a team -- Mizzou, Virginia Tech, others -- then that team will nod in agreement. Missouri has strong regional ties to the Big 12 and rivalries that would die, but money and exposure are the currency in today's game. And that's what the SEC has in spades.