thanks for the insightful article. I linked to it at the link on my name. I think it will happen one day and Oklahoma will along too.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been beating the drum rather loudly that eventually — we believe — Texas A&M will become a member of the Southeastern Conference. That talk came to ahead during Expansionpalooza last summer.
At this site we broke down expansion possibilities for the SEC in a number of areas. Just as league presidents and commissioner Mike Slive will do (and have done), we focused on the business side of expansion. While Georgia Tech and Clemson may be great fits in terms of proximity, for example, other schools in other areas would bring more value to the league. Other schools would grow the league’s footprint and that’s really what expansion is all about.
Out of 18 possible expansion targets, we graded Texas A&M as the second best option for the league behind only Texas. The Aggies bring just about everything to the table that the Longhorns would — major television markets, a recruiting foothold into a rich recruiting area, quality academics, top notch facilities — but they would do so without all the UT attitude. The Harvard of the Colorado River A&M does not pretend to be.
So we weren’t surprised then when in the final hours of Expansionpalooza it was learned that Slive and the SEC were actually courting A&M (and Oklahoma). The SEC and A&M have been playing footsie for two decades. Slive’s trip to College Station made sense.
And even when the Big 12 was saved, we projected that a league duct-taped together at the last minute would not survive in the long run. Eventually — in our view — A&M and the SEC would consummate their relationship.
This past January 25th, it was announced that the University of Texas would partner with ESPN on a new Longhorn Network that would bring in 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. Issue #1: Is it even legal under NCAA rules for a school’s own network to air high school football games involving prospects that that school is recruiting?
Now there’s an Issue #2.
The folks at TexAgs.com – an ESPN-affiliated pay site — are reporting that many Big 12 schools aren’t happy about the fact that the University of Texas has cut a deal that allows UT to air one of its conference games on the Longhorn Network. In other words, this year fans of Oklahoma State or Texas Tech might have to subscribe to Texas’ TV network just to watch their own school play an in-conference football game.
We don’t want to steal the thunder of TexAgs.com — again, you can subscribe at the link above — but as a tease of their content we will tell you that they feel this kind of power play by Texas is “exactly what Texas A&M decision-makers were most concerned with when they decided to remain in (and essentially save) the Big 12 Conference rather than accept an invitation to play in the SEC.”
You heard it here first. And second. And third, folks. You’ve heard it here so often that lots of people who were talking up Clemson and Georgia Tech a year ago are now pointing to A&M as the SEC’s dream date.
So why not say it again: The Big 12 cannot survive as the Mega One and Little Nine. Texas is so rich and powerful at this point that it really doesn’t need to play nice with others. That fact will eventually rub the other Big 12 members the wrong way. To the point that Texas A&M will someday be a member of the Southeastern Conference.
Apparently — according to those who closely cover the Aggie program — that possibility is once again becoming a hot topic in Southeast Texas.
UPDATE — AggieWebsider.com is also reporting today on a change in mood at the top of the Texas A&M program. AggieWebsider.com is the Scout.com site covering A&M, but the above link is free and clear.