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Could New Texas Network Drive A&M To The SEC?

Last spring and summer, we took a detailed look at what conference expansion could mean for the Southeastern Conference.  You can download and read our multi-part series “Expounding on Expansion” right here. 

In our research, we determined that one school would be (and is) a sure-thing fit with the SEC: Texas A&M.  Going back as far as the 1980s the school and the conference have flirted with one another.  We pointed out that A&M is very much an SEC type of program — rural, massive facilities, rabid fans and rich tradition, etc.  The school also offers just about everything the more sought-after University of Texas offers — major television markets and a foothold onto fertile recruiting grounds — without all the ego.

Then, lo and behold, we all learned that A&M and the SEC had already been chatting it up again.  While Texas was winking at the Big Ten and playing footsie with the Pac-10, the Aggies were meeting with Mike Slive.  And former Alabama coach Gene Stallings was using his regent status at A&M to push the school East from the inside.

A&M to the SEC likely would have come to pass, too, had the Big 12 not been saved at the last minute using duct tape and Super Glue.

As we’ve written previously, eventually it will come to pass.

Now that Texas has unveiled its new television network partnership with ESPN, more folks are wondering if A&M might head to the SEC sooner rather than later.

Kirk Bohls of The Austin American-Statesman wrote late Sunday night that one prominent Aggie told him: “I certainly think (Texas’ network) is going to create some reaction from some Aggies who will say, ‘(The heck with) Texas.  Let’s do our own deal.’  I don’t think Texas is winning friends and influencing people among their Big 12 brethren.”  Bohls, however, does point out that his source doesn’t sense “a groundswell” of support from A&M’s president or athletic director for an SEC move at the moment.

There are those who feel A&M needs to remain locked to Texas like a remora to a shark.  ESPN.com’s David Ubben is one of those folks.  He believes A&M should just stay put even though “the majority of the fan base supported a move to the SEC” last summer.  Ubben writes that A&M has “historically been an underachieving program” and would “win less in the SEC than it already has in the Big 12.” 

Just a couple of quick questions for you at this point.  How’s Arkansas’ program looking these days with Bobby Petrino at the helm?  Do you think A&M would win if it hired Nick Saban?

The point is this: Recruiting and fanbase and money are important, but if you land the right coach, everything else will fall into place.  A&M might have the right coach in Mike Sherman.  And even if he’s not the right guy, the next guy might be.  A move to the SEC should not be ruled out due of fear. 

What Ubben fails to grasp is the level of parity that exists in the SEC.  Texas and Oklahoma dominate the Big 12.  They will always dominate the Big 12.  Have-nots do not traditionally rise in that league because they can’t compete financially.  But in the SEC, it’s a different story.  Revenue is shared.  So is hope.  Example: No league champion has repeated since 1997-98.

Since 1998, five league schools have won national championships.  Throw in Georgia’s #2 finish in 2007 and half the conference has been ranked #1 or #2 in the final polls over that span.

Four schools have won titles in the last five years alone, including Auburn.  No knock on Auburn, but the school is as rural as you can get. You think Texas A&M doesn’t have the tradition, facilities and recruiting base to compete with Auburn?  With Arkansas?  And those schools are competing quite well with Alabama, Florida and LSU.  Why couldn’t A&M?

Whether or not Texas’ new network will speed up the Aggies’ drive to the SEC remains to be seen… but it certainly can’t be doing much for the Big 12′s espirit de corps.

 


23 comments
Ollie Ortega
Ollie Ortega

Can someone explain to me how Bowen and Byrne can hold up this move when the majority of Aggies everywhere (maybe minus some old army) want to tell tu to kiss our posterior and move to the SEC? I am truly interested.

NewHavenAggie
NewHavenAggie

I feel I have to jump in here and say that for someone who is yelping a lot about academics, you sure misuse and misspell a ton of words sippy. I think that academics play a very small role here since being in the SEC hasn't hurt Vandy and being in the Big XII hasn't helped Okie State or Texas Tech.

Splitting hairs here people- this isn't College Confidential, its about athletics and more specifically- foozball. Gig'em Ags and I hope we come to your conference- We have always liked you guys (SEC).

Bryan
Bryan

Yeah... those are good rankings.... for me to poop on. Mighty UT is behind UC-Santa Barbara and Colorado, for example. Even more telling, Rice is behind Arizona State. Arizona State has roughly the same admissions requirements as Disneyland.

So, anyway, enjoy your rankings.

Fort WorthHog
Fort WorthHog

Nick: it is football...not academics. Pure and simple.

Nick
Nick

As an A&M grad, the Big 12 vs. SEC academic comments are ridiculous. The Big 12 has no elite academic schools, two respectable schools (A&M and Texas), a few marginal schools, and a few pathetic schools. The SEC has one elite school and a handful of schools on a similar level as A&M and Texas. The SEC isn't the Big Ten, but it's better than the Big 12.

deathburger
deathburger

Before I get on board with this move, I'd like Alabama kicked out of the SEC. Texas A&M brings way more to the table than Alabama.

DA Trace
DA Trace

man i hope A&M goes, i think we belong there, our fan base, our tradition it fits in great with the proud traditions and the great fan base of the SEC. Also it would be great to just break away from tu, we don't need them, we are academically superior, our traditions are stronger, and our fan base is prouder then the tsips. Oh and basically in sports we are even since we stopped being a military school. We can still play texas but it would be great to be out of the big 12. really i have no hate towards tu, i don't want the rivalry to end and it wouldnt, but A&M has got to go out on its own, yall can keep tech. Gigem Aggies

rocksteadyfreddie
rocksteadyfreddie

If the SEC does expand, I'd take A&M and VaTech (if they would come).

K Mills
K Mills

Not so! SMU not ranked in world rankings, Rice is #99, TAMU is #95, and UGA and no other SEC other than Florida and Vanderbilt are even ranked! Check out some of the 'real' rankings and stay away from USNWR....their ranking criteria is laughable!

PStufu
PStufu

By the way, jealousy isn't very flattering. You can bring up academics but the Big 12 isn't really all that impressive when compared to the SEC. Maybe if you added SMU and Rice you would have an argument, but TAMU ranks behind UGA and Florida and Baylor can't compete academically with Vanderbilt.

EyesOfaJokeUponYou
EyesOfaJokeUponYou

Kmills,

Since when besides 2006 has Texas been the best at anything? Last I checked they didn't even make a bowl game this season and their basketball team was awful last year as well. By the way according to the US News and World Report, Texas ranks down the charts at 50 academically. That puts UTa way, way, way behind SEC school Vanderbilt and about two spots ahead of Florida and Georgia. Nothing to really brag about to be honest. But you continue living with your burnt orange blinders on and enjoy all that money because you are going to need it to fix that mess of a football team.

SomeDawg
SomeDawg

I'd welcome TAMU with open arms. Naturally, they'd fit in the SEC West. This creates the need to balance out the East. With whom?

Ideally, I'd nominate Clemson...but they're having enough trouble competing in the ACC.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Fort WorthHog...

Every fanbase has ego. But Texas' is off the charts.

John

Fort WorthHog
Fort WorthHog

About your comment that aTm would come "...without all the ego." I would disagree. They may not be in the same category as UT, but having these people in my family has brought me in close contact with them...they have an ego unlike anything you have ever seen. Undeservedly so, but nonetheless it is there.

K Mills
K Mills

So, I suppose no one in the SEC has an ego? Everyone in the SEC is not proud of their school, their traditions, their history? If I'm proud of my school and should it out, I have an ego, If you're from the SEC, proud of your school and shout it out, that's school spirit! I'm beginning to understand......

K Mills
K Mills

Hey, if you're the best, no reason to hide it under the basket...let the SEC know that the only thing they excel in is producing football factories filled with athletes that couldn't qualify to get into most of the Big 12 schools...now, that wasn't so difficult was it?

K Mills
K Mills

Obviously anyone that says TAMU doesn't have an ego, doesn't have a clue. I have a lot of personal knowledge of the Aggies and they can get as mean as a junk yard dog. For instance 1) The SMU cheerleaders were threatened by the Aggie Cadets (the ones that carry the sabres) with drawn swords a few years back because the cheerleaders did something (don't remember what) that the Aggies thought was disrespectful 2) The Rice U band had to be escorted off the football field after the half time show by police to protect them from the Aggies who thought the Rice performance was disrespectful (the Rice band does a lot of imitations and parodies of their opponents that is usually hilarous) 3) I personally saw a girl (from the opponent side) being physically harrassed by Aggies. And, I personally know of people in the business world that were fired by their Aggie boss cause they told an aggie joke (similar to Polish jokes)....And, you think TAMU doesn't have an ego and an attitude? LOL! I pray that the Aggies will go to the SEC...I have only a smidgeon more respect for the Aggies (cause they're from my home state) than I do for the SEC.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

K Mills...

Pretty sure I just wrote, "Every fanbase has ego." Let me check. Yep. I wrote it. There it is. Right above your comment.

Thanks for reading,
John

sec_fan
sec_fan

The sec has its own set of academic requirements that the big 12 and other conferences do not have to follow.

NewHavenAggie
NewHavenAggie

dumbest...comment...ever

Ags pride themselves on their hospitality. Only a sip would be so paranoid and introverted. Any SECers come to College Station get a round at the Dixie Chicken on me (so what if it's an empty promise, its the thought that counts!).

tpiz
tpiz

very scary endeavor?...what the hell are you talkin about? what in the world is "scary" about watchin a football game in college station, tx? it is one of the best atmospheres in college football and you will meet some of the nicest people, not sure what is scary about that

@MartinHooper
@MartinHooper

"A very scary endeavor"

Really? I've never thought of College Station as a scary place.... Unless a noisy student section bothers you.

K Mills
K Mills

And you also say 'off the charts'....And, TAMU is not off the charts? Obviously you haven't been to any TAMU football games. Well I use to go almost every year in College Station and that can be a very scary endeavor.

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  3. [...] 1. Could New Texas Network Drive A&M To The SEC? [...]

  4. [...] as much as $300 million dollars to UT over the next 20 years.  As soon as that announcement came, we asked if that network could potentially speed up the Aggies drive eastward.A day later on January 26th, we reported that indeed the network was already causing troubles.  [...]

  5. [...] to the SEC was just a matter of time.  And in January of this past year, we speculated that the Longhorn Network could provide the Aggies a final push eastward toward the SEC West.Now it seems that the whole world is dancing to the “A&M to the [...]

  6. [...] 2010 — “A&M To The SEC Just A Matter Of Time”January 25th, 2011 — “Could New Texas Network Drive A&M To The SEC?”Even this past June, when the Big 12 announced that it would split more TV money, we said again that [...]

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