With the last round of re-alignment in college football, the Southeastern Conference expanded from 12 teams to 14 when they added the Missouri Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies from the Big 12 Conference. Missouri and Texas A&M have been unable to win the SEC since joining the SEC, but the Tigers have been able to win the SEC East twice. However from a regional aspect, Missouri and Texas A&M have stuck out like a pair of sore thumbs in the SEC.
Like Missouri in the Southeastern Conference, the West Virginia Mountaineers have gotten lost in the shuffle since they joined the Big 12. West Virginia was a part of the exodus from the now defunct Big East Conference for football in 2012 as they saw the money that the Big 12 was offering them. However with all of the Big 12 teams in the Southwest and Midwest regions of the United States, West Virginia has a huge disadvantage in recruiting as they cannot get the top high school players from that region to come East to Morgantown, while they cannot keep up with the teams from the SEC or Atlantic Coast Conference in regards to getting the kids from the East Coast to come there. And it was very telling for West Virginia when they lost their head football coach last year when Dana Holgorsen left Morgantown in favor of the Houston Cougars who are a member of the American Athletic Conference as they don’t participate in a Power Five Conference.
In joining the Southeastern Conference, West Virginia would have a huge boost in recruiting as they’d have natural regional rivalries with the Tennessee Volunteers as only 421 miles separate the two schools, while they would also have a natural rivalry with the Kentucky Wildcats who are just 380 miles away which would also boost their recruiting.
Another former Big East school would be a better fit in the Southeastern Conference and that is the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville is currently a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and it marks their fifth different conference in the last 15 years. The Cards have had some success in the ACC, but their last conference title came in 2013 as a member of the American Athletic Conference. However a membership in the SEC would put Louisville in the SEC West with juggernauts such as the LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, and Alabama Crimson Tide, but they’d have a natural crossover rivalry in the SEC East with Kentucky which would only intensify things in the Commonwealth State.