Conference Realignment: Texas A&M To Join SEC Officially, Starting Play In 2012

In an announcement Sunday afternoon, the SEC made Texas A&M's long-awaited move to the conference official. The Aggies will become the SEC's 13th team, beginning play in 2012. This will be the last season A&M plays in the Big 12.

"The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC's 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."

And now speculation will grow to as to who the SEC targets next to grow the conference's ranks to an even 14 schools. Reports previously indicated that the SEC was set to extend Missouri an invitation on condition that the Big 12 imploded, but after yet another last-second survival by the conference -- its second in as many years -- it's unclear whether the Tigers will now be following the Aggies to the Southeastern Conference.

Other rumored SEC expansion targets have included West Virginia, Louisville and the ACC's Virginia Tech Hokies and Florida State Seminoles.

Also keep an eye on the Big 12, who is now in the market for a 10th program after the loss of the Aggies, and possibly a return to 12 programs. TCU, BYU, West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati have all recently been rumored as possible Big 12 targets. Should another Big East program such as West Virginia, Louisville or Cincinnati get poached, that would put the future of the Big East as a viable football conference very much in doubt, further destabilizing the BCS.

As always, stay tuned.

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