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New Texas A.D. Says Rivalry With A&M Not On The Front-Burner

Texas-AM-rivalryTexas has a new athletic director these days.  But Steve Patterson’s views on the Texas/Texas A&M rivalry don’t seem to be all that much different than those of his predecessor, DeLoss Dodds.  And that’s not a good thing for Texas.

During the conference expansion/realignment game it became standard operating procedure for schools left behind to use the “we won’t play you anymore” gambit.  Yes, it’s akin to taking their ball and going home, but what else might a scorned school do?  Try and sock it to the departees on the actual playing field?  Pshaw!

Kansas did it to Missouri.  Every school in the ACC will do it Maryland.  And most famously, Texas did it to long-time rival Texas A&M, killing off one of college football’s most-storied rivalries in the process.  Since Texas went down that road, the Aggies have zipped by the Longhorns on the field, in the national rankings, in recruiting, and in the national spotlight.  Yeah, that’ll learn ‘em.

Enter Patterson who sounds like he’s more interested in the Middle East than Middle Texas.  The reason Patterson is considering sending teams to Mexico City (football), China (basketball) and Dubai (who knows what team?) is he’s “more concerned with growing the footprint” for Texas’ athletic brand than he is in kickstarting old rivalries.  “Until there’s a case made that it makes sense to play a game against another school in the state of Texas, I don’t see us focusing on it.”

Earlier this month, LonghornDigest.com — the Scout.com site covering Texas — asked “four prestigious Texas high school football coaches” about the hierarchy of college football within the Lone Star State.  All four said that Texas now ranks behind Texas A&M and Baylor inside their own state.  Some might say that if the Longhorns are losing ground to their most hated rival by not playing them… perhaps that’s case enough to play them and to try to unseat them on the grass of an actual football field.  If Texas beats Baylor in Big XII player next year, the Horns will slip past them in the eyes of high school coaches and players.  But they have no such chance with A&M so long as they refuse to play them.

We wish Texas luck with the Dubai thing, though.  We’re sure Texas fans would much prefer games in Mexico City and Dubai to facing off with Texas A&M again.

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A&M Passes Texas In Terms Of Lone Star State Popularity

2011-January-7-20-58-44Americans love a winner.  And America includes the Lone Star State (much to Chuck Norris’ chagrin).

A new poll from a group called Public Policy Polling shows that 22% of Texans asked said that they are Texas A&M Aggie fans.  Only 20% said they are Texas Longhorn fans.  When last the poll was done in September of 2011, the Longhorns got support from 23% while the Ags got just 15% of the backing.

Why the switch?  Well, Texas A&M has shot into the national spotlight while Texas struggled last season and at the beginning of this season.  Johnny Manziel plays in College Station.  And A&M’s game are viewed on CBS or ESPN every week thanks to their jump to the SEC.

As for the rest of the schools in Texas, the polling showed support for Houston (10%), Baylor (8%), Texas Tech (5%), TCU (4%), UTEP (3%) and SMU (2%).

Interestingly, in 1948, Houston tried to gain membership into the SEC but was voted down.  Again in the late 1980s there was some chit-chat between the SEC and Houston.  Texas A&M AD John David Crow and LSU AD Joe Dean wanted the Aggies in the SEC.  When Texas made it clear they wouldn’t come along, Houston — then solid in football and basketball — tried to fill the void.  Those talks died went nowhere and a massive NCAA investigation into the Houston athletic department didn’t help the Cougars’ cause.  As you know, Arkansas and South Carolina were eventually invited to join the SEC (as was Florida State, who opted for the ACC).

Of course, A&M finally did make it to the SEC two years ago.  And in terms of new cash, new exposure, and new popularity in its home state… all’s well that end’s well.

 

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SEC Headlines 9/12/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Heisman candidate Todd Gurley.  The Georgia running back has rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 of 16 games he’s played.

2. Arkansas safety Alan Turner lost his father the night before the Samford game.

3. Biggest problem for South Carolina’s defense against Georgia?  Couldn’t get lined up right.

4. South Carolina running back Mike Davis is averaging 9.4 yards per carry  - best in the conference among players with 20 or more carries.

5. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin on Jadeveon Clowney: “He is going to have an impact in the game, but what you can’t afford him to do is have a huge impact on the game.”

6. Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian on quarterback Justin Worley:  ”I think he’s continually getting better. ”

7. Has Auburn found their big-play receiver in Sammie Coates?

8. Ole Miss is an underdog at Texas this weekend but Athlon calls for a Rebels victory.

9. Rebels biggest weakness could be at cornerback. Have started four different corners in two games.

10. Cornerback Cody Quinn is back for Kentucky.  That’s good news for a defense going up against Lousville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

11. How can Kentucky beat Louisville?  “We’ve gotta play with more tempo.”

12. Mississippi State’s Christian Holmes aka “Turtle” is a popular guy.  “I got a lot of tweets from a lot of ladies. My girlfriend didn’t like that too much.”

13. Georgia could end up redshirting more than half of the 31 newcomers from this year’s signing class.

14. Missouri redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk is getting thrown into a fire on a weekly basis.  “It’s good for him to get out there and get going.”

15. Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel on the new targeting rule:  “If we don’t do something there’s going to be a tragedy on the field.”

16. SEC lost eight non-conference games all of last season.  Lost four already this year.

17. “Barring a pair of miracle upsets, the league is going to add at least two more losses this weekend.”

Investigations

18. A concession from Les Miles? “I wasn’t there at every place all the time. ”

19. Our morning wrap on the Yahoo investigation regarding five SEC players allegedly receiving extra benefits.

Alabama vs. Texas A&M

20. Nick Saban on Texas A&M: ”This is a fantastic offensive football team.”

21. Saban says LSU did the best job of defending Johnny Football in 2012. Crimson Tide will use linebacker C.J. Mosley as a “spy.”

22. Saturday’s game is a football laboratory - old school power football vs. new school uptempo offense.

23. SEC coaches on how to defend Johnny Manziel. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel: ”Everybody had plans for how they were going to stop him, but nobody can stop him,”

24. Texas A&M has hosted the No. 1 ranked team only once before – back in 2002 when the Aggies beat Oklahoma.

25. Twitter buzz for this game up dramatically from last year - especially in Texas.

26. “Texas A&M is the university of Texas” tweet creates a stir in Lone Star State.  Mack Brown asked about it.

Practice/Injury Reports

27. Depending on health, either Tyler Russell or Dak Prescott will start at quarterback for Mississippi State.  Auburn is preparing for both of them.

28. Auburn’s Dee Ford and Justin Garrett continue to practice – uncertain if they’ll play.

29. Tennessee wide receiver Pig Howard held out of Wednesday’s practice with an unspecified injury.

30. Georgia may look to make a change at the strong safety position.

SEC Media

31. Don’t expect to read any more Ron Morris columns about Steve Spurrier.  He’s been banned from writing about Gamecocks football.

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Arkansas Finalizes Football Contract With Texas Tech

handshake-good-backlitArkansas AD Jeff Long is giving longtime Razorback fans a taste of history.  He’s also giving new coach Bret Bielema added recruiting opportunities in the state of Texas.

Arkansas and Texas Tech announced yesterday that they had finalized a home-and-home series for 2014 (in Lubbock) and 2015 (in Fayetteville).  Just a few weeks ago the Hogs announced a home-and-home series with TCU for 2016 and 2017.  In 2021, the Razorbacks are scheduled to play Texas.

Toss in the annual Texas A&M clash in Arlington and the Lone Star State is fast becoming Arkansas’ home away from home.  That’s good news for a program located in a state that produces very little high-end football talent.  It’s also good news for the old-timers out there who still miss the Hogs’ old Southwest Conference rivals.

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BBVA Compass Pulling Sponsorship From Birmingham-Based Bowl

logo-bbva-compass-bowl-500x500.s600x600-300x300Alas, after 2013 we won’t have a BBVA Compass Bowl to kick around anymore.  Like the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl before it, the BBVA Compass Bowl is on deck for a name change.

This year’s game will mark the fourth and final time BBVA Compass has sponsored the Birmingham-based bowl.  The company wants to move its sponsorship dollars towards efforts that are more “flexible” than an ESPN-owned postseason football game.

We mention all of this because, for now, the bowl is an SEC partner.  The league will re-work all of its bowl agreements moving forward and with a desire to get into Texas, there’s a chance the league will begin sending one of its lower-ranking teams to a bowl in the Lone Star State rather than to Birmingham.

Ole Miss represented the SEC and defeated Pittsburgh in last season’s BBVA Compass Bowl.  But according to an NCAA survey given to Mississippi representatives — parts of which were published by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger — the school wasn’t thrilled with its experience.  Ole Miss fans helped drive a record-breaking crowd of 54,000-plus to the game, but according to UM officials the bowl and the city of Birmingham were “not prepared for the large crowd.”

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Manziel Doesn’t Think A&M-Texas Is A Rivalry Anymore

gfx - they said itThe Texas/Texas A&M rivalry has long been one of the most heated in college sports.  But if the two schools aren’t on the same field competing against one another anymore, technically is it still a rivalry?

Not according to Heisman-winning Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel:

 

 

“I understand the rivalry between the two… (but) for me it’s not a rivalry.  We got out of their conference, and we’re not playing them anymore, so it’s not a big deal.”

 

So do teams have to compete on a field or court to be rivals?  Actually, no.

Texas A&M and Texas are still competing for fan allegiance, donations, and recruits on a daily basis.  As the two lead-dog universities in the Lone Star State, their rivalry remains alive… even if it’s away from the playing field.

Johnny Football was coming at the UT/A&M rivalry from another angle and we understand that.  But if the rivalry were no longer a big deal, every post we put up about the Aggies wouldn’t be linked to on Longhorn messageboards.

Oh, it’s still a big deal.  A very big deal.

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2013 Signing Class: Texas A&M’s Target Zone

target-with-dartsTexas A&M added 31 players from 7 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Aggies’ “target zone” is below:

 

Texas = 22 recruits

Louisiana = 3

California = 2

Arizona = 1

Hawaii = 1

Kansas = 1

Virginia = 1

 

In-State Signees = 70.9%

Out-Of-State Signees = 29.0%

 

Observation:

No SEC school stayed as close to home this recruiting season as A&M.  The Aggies mined the Lone Star State for talent en route to a top 10 nationally-ranked class.  Success plus better television exposure plus the SEC’s reputation equals easier recruiting.  Texas fans — whether they’ll admit it or not — have to be concerned.

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Thought Of The Day – 10/17/12

Wednesday.  Humpday.  Halfway stop on the way to another college football weekend.

The usual stuff’s on the way — maybe a tad less due to some outside meetings and such — but we’ll still getchya day started with the usual musical/lyrical inspiration.  Consider the first thing off the iPod today to be a salute to the SEC’s new friends in Lone Star State.

 

“I ain’t got a dime, but what I got is mine.  I ain’t rich, but, Lord, I’m free.”

 

George Strait – Amarillo By Morning

 

Stand by for news!

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Aggies To Put “SEC Country” Billboards Up Across The Lone Star State

If you’re driving through one of Texas’ metro areas this fall, you might just spot a familiar message… in an unfamiliar place.

Texas A&M has told The Houston Chronicle that Aggie billboards will be put up all across the Lone Star State.  Four will go up in Houston.  Four will pop up in San Antonio.  Four more will appear in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

In those cities, two boards will read “This is SEC Country,” while the others will say, “This Is New Turf,” and “We Stand Ready.”

A&M already caused a stir a couple of weeks ago by raising a “This is SEC Country” billboard right outside of Austin, home of their hated Texas Longhorn rivals.

In addition to the billboards in the big cities, A&M is also going to place SEC-themed billboards on I-35 entering Texas from Oklahoma, on I-10 and I-20 entering Texas from Louisiana, and on I-30 entering Texas from Arkansas and Louisiana.

Told ya the Aggies would fit in perfectly.

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Pinkel Says Arkansas-Missouri Will Be Cross-Division Foes

Earlier this year, R. Bowen Loftin and Harris Pastides — the top brass at Texas A&M and South Carolina — openly spoke of their soon-to-be permanent cross-divisional rivalry.  Now Missouri’s Gary Pinkel has confirmed that talk.

According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, Pinkel said today that Missouri will indeed land Arkansas as its permanent cross-divisional rival.  Mizzou’s coach can’t be happy about the fact that he’s losing Texas A&M and an every-other-year trip to recruiting-rich Texas.  At the same time, the fact that Pinkel has been comparing the talent in Atlanta to the talent in Dallas — as well as the fact that his school has put up billboards across Atlanta and the Peach State — makes this is a rather small surprise.

It’s been clear for a couple of months that MU officials believed they’d need to shift their recruiting focus from Texas to Georgia and Florida.

 

 

 

With Arkansas and Missouri pairing up, it will now be Steve Spurrier and Carolina who’ll get the benefit of playing in the Lone Star State every other season.  Ironically, when A&M was added to the league, Spurrier was the first coach to publicly come out and say that his school didn’t do much Texas scouting and recruiting.

That’s likely going to change.

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