No, Clemson and Florida State are not coming to play football in the SEC
This is the line where we should ask "Why would someone put ridiculously stupid information out in the public on Social Media just so people will react to it?"
And then we remember, oh, it's 2021 and a frightening amount of people will believe anything they see on the internet.
For reasons nobody is particularly clear on, a reporter for "ESPN Upstate" which is actually a legitimate radio news outlet put out there on Twitter that he has a "source" telling him Clemson and Florida State "reached" out to the SEC about joining them.
Listen, I don't know Marc Ryan. I have no reason to believe he's just out and out throwing doo-doo out to the world for shits and grins. Maybe someone he knows at Clemson said something to him.
Not being in his head, I can't say he's just "repeating what he was told" or that he just made this up to get a rise out of people. I don't know.
But, I don't buy this. For a second or twitter character.
Is it possible a booster or someone who knows someone in the SEC office said."What do you think the SEC would do if Clemson and/or FSU wanted to come?". Yeah, it is.
It could have happened. It could also have been a joke to see if he'd react to it.
Just for the sake of argument, let's say Ryan was on to something. If you put even the smallest amount of thought into it, there are at least 4,312 reasons why there is a better chance you'll walk out your door and get hit by lightning and have a shark fall on top of you from the sky than the SEC adding those two schools--or any other schools any time in the near future.
Here are only a handful of reasons why it would make zero sense:
1: The University of Florida, South Carolina AND The University of Georgia would never go for it. Ever. We're talking massive intrusion on their fertile recruiting turf. Sure, they already compete with Clemson and FSU on the recruiting trail, but they can hold the SEC vs. ACC thing over a recruits head easily.
2. What would this add? Nothing. Sure, Clemson is a lock for a College Football Playoff berth almost every year. FSU, well, they once were. Clemson would run a huge risk of eliminating that playoff option. FSU is basically like adding Auburn.
3. Would it add TV money? I'm not so sure about that. Clemson, SC and Tallahassee are not exactly giant cities nor are they located even remotely close to big TV markets. Sure, they're "brand names" but the SEC is not lacking in any way, shape or form with those.
4. Conferences as we currently know them are likely going away. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. But by the time the calendar reaches say 2025 or 2030, they're done. They no longer will be needed. Why move now? If they'd done this BEFORE Oklahoma and Texas, we might have a conversation. We'd still see the change but the Big 12 power move is what's going to kill the old system of College Football. It's not going to impact the ACC.
5. Granted Rights. The ACC is locked into its ESPN contract through I believe 2033. That's a VERY, very long time. Neither of the aforementioned ACC schools has the wherewithal to bail out on that. The biggest reasons Oklahoma and Texas could bail on the Big 12---their deal ends in 3 years.
Now, a couple of other salient points to make here.
A: IF....IF....something like this was legitimate or serious, it would be reported by a multitude of other people The story would be all over ESPN, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
One of the ways journalism works (you'd be surprised how few people know how it works) is if one reporter breaks a potentially earth shaking story, a wave of other reporters will try to get the same information. They'll try to corroborate it, and if they can, they'll also report it. The other is double sourcing. One person saying they heard something to you does not a story make.
Never has. If someone, a good or bad source tells you something and nobody else will verify it, than we don't have a story. Period. People "say" things all the time. That doesn't mean they are right or trying to mislead you, it just means its an unsubstantiated rumor and not something you go public with. That's not responsible reporting.
All the earlier stuff aside, THIS is why I don't believe Ryan's information. At ALL. As a journalist who has reported on news and sports professionally for now more than three decades, I'm very confident a story of this potential news worthiness would not go un-reported by the hundreds of College Football "Insiders" that exist in the current universe.
It's been nearly 24-hours and nothing from ANY of them. Yes, if you scroll down Ryan's timeline he says some of those "insiders" have reached out to him and said they heard the same thing.
Strangely, ZERO of them have reported it as I write this. If they had it, you can bet the farm it would already be out there.
Oh, and for what it is worth, if you know someone who works for a sports talk station or small newspaper who's now interviewing Ryan about this, call them and tell them to stop. Stop propagating unsubstantiated rumors.