The SEC Should Trade Kentucky to the ACC For Clemson

Hello, SEC Fans!

The SEC is well known for excellence in football. They are led by the Alabama Crimson Tide who have won four national championships under head coach Nick Saban and regularly compete for the national championship. The Auburn Tigers also recently won a national championship led by current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Last decade, the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers each claimed a couple of national championships as well. From 2006 to 2012, the SEC claimed an unprecedented seven consecutive national championships in football and more remarkably it was from four different schools. This season, Alabama, Auburn, and the Georgia Bulldogs are currently ranked in the top seven of the most recent CFP rankings. The winner of the SEC Championship Game is virtually guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff and I wouldn't bet against the SEC Champion winning the championship this year.

But what you say about the SEC in football you can say about the ACC in men's college basketball. Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1984, the Duke Blue Devils have won 5 championships and the North Carolina Tar Heels have won 4 (not counting Michael Jordan's national championship in 1982). They also are home to the Louisville Cardinals and Syracuse Orange who also won national championships although they won them as members of the Big East. Unlike college football, you can use the NCAA Tournament performance as a gauge of each conference's strength (I guess you can use bowl game wins in football). Since 2010, the teams currently in the ACC have combined for 104 wins in 8 years or an average of almost 7 wins a team. By contrast over that same span, SEC teams have combined for 59 wins. In fact, if you take away both Duke and North Carolina and their three national championships over that span, the ACC would still have 63 wins, 4 Final Fours, and 1 championship, more wins than the SEC.

So if the SEC is a football conference and the ACC is a basketball conference you can clearly see two oddballs and two square pegs in round holes.

I wrote an article at Kentucky's blog that the Kentucky Wildcats clearly belong in the ACC and not the SEC. It's clear Kentucky is a basketball first school. They have won more national championships than I can count, in most years they are one of the best teams in the country. I don't know how many SEC football fans know this but UK's 2015 team went undefeated before being upset in the Final Four by Wisconsin and it ended what could have been the first undefeated team in college basketball since 1976. Unlike college football, finishing a season in college basketball these days is pretty impossible. Think of it like finishing the NFL season undefeated, it can't be done. Kentucky should be playing Duke, North Carolina, and Louisville in conference play.

Now think about Kentucky football. OK have you stopped laughing yet? They've lost 31 straight games to Florida and to lose to this year's Florida team is saying something. According to the Wikipedia page, the only SEC teams the Wildcats have a winning record against are the Missouri Tigers and the Vanderbilt Commodores. I mean their records against Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia are downright embarrassing. The only reason Kentucky belongs in the SEC in football is for easy victories. Luckily in football there is no RPI. In basketball, teams are punished for playing a team like Kentucky football and if you lose to a Kentucky football team you can lose a seed or two or even wind up missing the NCAA Tournament altogether (I know most SEC teams could care less about the NCAA Basketball Tournament but to other conferences that's important). So it's clear Kentucky is a basketball school in a football conference.

Now let's change it to Clemson.

The most humbling moment for Alabama and SEC fans had to be last year's national championship game when Clemson beat Alabama and stole the national championship away from Alabama/the SEC (yes, I know the whole SEC claims every championship any school wins). Now imagine if Clemson was an SEC member. That trophy would have been yours last year. Now Clemson and Alabama wouldn't have met in the national championship, they would have met in the SEC Championship in Atlanta. But then Clemson (or Alabama) would have won the national championship and either way y'all would have chanted "S E C! S E C!" into the night. I didn't hear any SEC chants that night when it was all over did I?

There's no doubt Clemson and Dabo Swinney play football at an SEC level. He is 99-29 at Clemson, winning a national championship and losing the national championship to Alabama the year before. So he's 1-1 vs. Alabama, the SEC's best. He's also beaten South Carolina three straight years. Does anyone doubt Clemson can handle the competition of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee in the SEC East? And at the very least will they be better than Kentucky?

On the other hand, what about Clemson basketball? They are essentially the Kentucky football of college basketball. Just like Kentucky has never beaten Florida, Clemson has never beaten North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 0-58 all time. The last time Clemson advanced past the Round of 64 in the NCAA men's basketball Tournament was 1997. Every other team in the conference has done so since 2007. They have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Only two other ACC teams have failed to do so in the last three seasons. Clearly Clemson basketball does not belong in the ACC and is dead weight and an RPI killer. The ACC would be better off without Clemson. If it weren't for Clemson football, the ACC probably would have expelled Clemson like the Big East expelled Temple a few years ago.

Demographically, Clemson is worthless to the ACC. They are in South Carolina, the little brother of North Carolina. The only state with fewer people in the ACC is Kentucky. And Clemson is some rinky dink tiny city in a conference where many of the schools are in big cities or metropolitan areas like Boston (College), Miami, Pittsburgh, the Raleigh/Durham area, Atlanta (Georgia Tech). Culturally, Clemson doesn't belong in the ACC. I mean, my mom didn't even know what state Clemson was until I told her. She knows what state Boston College, Miami, and Pittsburgh, and even Duke are in. I can't help it if Clemson's a nobody school outside of football. I mean nobody outside of Clemson even knows who Clemson is. On the other hand, Clemson fits right in with the Auburns, Starkvilles, and Tuscaloosas of the SEC's. I'm sure their girls wear dresses and heels to football games like Georgia and Alabama girls do (BTW in Big Ten country we find that to be stupid, who wants to stand in heels for 3 hours during a game? I'd rather a girl who cares more about the game than their looks). Kentucky meanwhile is in Lexington, a larger metropolitan area, not as far south, and probably fits more with the ACC.

Also, this week is rivalry week in college football. Half of the SEC is playing conference games but half are not. Why? Because a lot of in state rivals are in the ACC. Why do the SEC (and ACC) only play eight game conference schedules when the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12 play nine? To accommodate these in state out of conference games. Why not have all of these games (or more of these games) as conference games? Why are Alabama and Auburn in the same conference together but Florida and Florida State not? Why are North Carolina and Duke in the same conference together but Louisville and Kentucky not? Isn't the Iron Bowl one of the biggest college football rivalries of all? Isn't Ohio State-Michigan huge? Other than the fact that both Florida State and Florida both suck this year, why is it not as big this year? They're not in the same conference.

Now imagine if South Carolina and Clemson were in the same conference. Imagine their year ending game if both of them were good and how big a game that would be. In basketball, the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry would be as big as North Carolina-Duke as they would play twice a year instead of once and probably once in February and once in March rather than during December during the holiday season.

I think we could go even further with the trades to get all of the in state rivals in the same conference:

1) ACC gets Kentucky and Florida, SEC gets Clemson and Georgia Tech

The ACC gets the two teams that won a combined five national championships since 1996 (the only five SEC championships in that span) while the ACC gives up Clemson and Georgia Tech, who hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2010. The University of Florida upgrades to the superior academic conference with more higher ranked colleges in the US News and World Report rankings such as Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia rather than getting stuck with the dead weight Mississippi schools of the SEC. Gainesville is a pretty large city (over 100,000 people), so they fit more with the ACC than the SEC anyway although Georgia Tech gets shafted here with the demotion (I hope they enjoy the trips to Mississippi and their girls enjoy wearing dresses to football games!)

2) ACC gets Kentucky and Georgia, SEC gets Clemson and Florida State

On the other hand, this is more of a football move than a basketball move as the SEC gets the two top football schools from the ACC. ACC football does get Georgia and the Bulldogs would essentially own the ACC without Clemson or Florida State although they would finish dead last in basketball each year. But at least they don't have to travel to Mississippi any more and they get the academic upgrade.

If you made either of these moves, the SEC and ACC can then go to a nine game conference schedule and all of the Power 5 conferences would be on a level playing field.

If you wanted to make sure all four of the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Kentucky schools are together, no doubt Kentucky goes to the ACC and Clemson goes to the SEC. The question is who else gets swapped? IMO, Florida is probably more of an ACC school but so is Georgia Tech. Georgia is more of an SEC school. I'm not really sure about Florida State. I don't really think of Florida as "southern" as Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, or Georgia, I think of them more mainstream. Florida State has been OK in basketball but not great. Clemson no doubt is an SEC school while Kentucky is definitely an ACC school. I think the Florida to ACC move makes sense more than the Florida State to SEC move as to me I can't see Georgia in the ACC.

Or do you just leave it at Kentucky at Clemson? In my opinion, they need to be swapped because they are clearly misfits.

A FanPost gives the opinion of the fan who writes it and that fan only. That doesn't give the opinion more or less weight than any other opinion on this blog, but the post does not necessarily reflect the view of TSK's writers.