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Blog: Conference expansion: Settling down or bubbling back up?

Another round of possible realignment has been hanging over spring conference meetings this year.

After growing from 12 to 14 teams, some in the Southeastern Conference may not have the stomach to go through another round of expansion after just taking on Texas A&M and Missouri.

“I don’t see any reason to expand right now,” Florida president Bernie Machen said. “I think we’ve got some digestion issues going from 12 to 14. … We’re negotiating with CBS to expand from 12 to 14. There just doesn’t seem to be any logistical reason to expand right now. We want to see how 14 works.”

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity for one isn’t yearning for adding even more teams.

The SEC has just settled on the scheduling format for the next few years for football and basketball.

“It’s been a topic at every meeting, whether it’s schedules or finances or travel,” McGarity said. “It’s just adding so much. We’re just hoping it settles for a few years, but who knows? Nobody really knows what the landscape is, but at least there’s some closure now to what’s happening.”

They will be celebrating Texas A&M and Missouri joining the SEC at the JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead on Wednesday night.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin and football coach Kevin Sumlin, Missouri chancellor Brady J. Deaton and football coach Gary Pinkel are scheduled to attend the informational and outreach event. Several hundred alumni from both schools are expected. All SEC alumni groups were invited to attend.

Machen doesn’t think realignment will be resolved until the future BCS postseason format is settled.

“We’re coming up sort of a major fork in the road with BCS in 2014,” Machen said. “How that plays out will either drive or cause a reaction to the realignment issue. I think it’s going to take another year or so before that gets sorted out.”

The SEC’s position is it isn’t in an “expansionist mode,” in the words of Slive. Then again, the league wasn’t in an expansionist mode until Texas A&M and Missouri expressed interest, Slive said.

“I was comfortable at 12,” Slive said.

The SEC expanded anyway.

“If the whole world turned upside down tomorrow, we’d probably get back in that mode,” Machen said, “but we think it’s pretty calm right now as far as where we are.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer

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