MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- That sound you heard Sunday afternoon certainly was not presidents and athletic directors across college football releasing a sigh of relief.
No, the Southeastern Conference will not be extending an invitation to Texas A&M to join the league. Still, hardly anyone believes this is a permanent decision.
The SEC did not say it would never add a 13th team, and if that league adds a 13th, it's probably going to need a 14th and perhaps more.
Those additions would come from somewhere and if they came from
another conference, then the affected conference would have to react.
All that happened Sunday was a trigger to a chain reaction that wasn't pulled. Nothing met its end.
The conversations administrators and executives had Monday were different than what they could have been, but they were still happening. Something seismic may still happen and those who figure to be affected have to be ready. It's fun to discuss and think some dynamic thoughts, but the reality is none of the pieces have started falling.
But it's going to happen. It's difficult to believe a school as undeniably attractive as Texas A&M, and one that thought it was in an unenviable situation and was actively pursuing an exit, is going to stay put. The SEC is open to additions, but for the purpose of quality and not quantity. Nothing keeps them from coming together in the future.
There, and at so many other places, the conversations are at times about the criteria for selecting teams. This would include the Big East and all its members, including West Virginia University.
Imagine, for example, the SEC proposed to Texas A&M Sunday. The Aggies accept and then things start breaking while other conferences start reaching and reacting. WVU has to be prepared to get itself in the best position possible, but where might that position be?
A lot of people want to say WVU is a lock for the ACC, except some people who are actually in the ACC aren't quite as convinced. There are whispers Pitt and Rutgers and even Connecticut might be ahead on some imaginary pecking order. That drives fans of the Mountaineers insane.
They wonder how it can be, but many fail to consider the entire footprint WVU makes. The athletic program is a success, yes, and it absolutely matters, especially when this thing is driven more and more by fan followings and how many television sets a school can deliver.