Wow. Lots of announcements down here in Texas lately. Should we talk about Governor Rick Perry’s candidacy for President? Or Texas A&M’s almost official move to the SEC for 2012? Yes, I agree, the A&M move is far more interesting and likely to help the economy, so let’s focus on that 🙂
So what prompted A&M to make a move like this? Was this a smart almost “first-mover” type of “get a seat in a mega conference before the musice stops” manuever, like Nebraska’s? Or were they just plain sick and tired of being in the shadow of the Longhorns? A shadow that seemed to be getting bigger due to the “Longhorn Network. I think the answer is “a little bit of both”.
Was this an emotional decision (which usually aren’t well thought out)? Or was it well-calculated and visionary? Again, I think it’s some of both, but I lean more towards the latter. However, we won’t really know how visionary this move is until we see how the other dominos fall. Such dominos are Texas, Oklahoma and members of the “Big 12-2” in general.
What does Texas A&M get by moving to the SEC?
— Membership in the best football conference in America, and one of the marquee athletic conferences overall.
— Related to the first point, this probably makes them quite unique for a college sports team west of the Mississippi. A Texas team that belongs to the SEC will be a recruiting calling card for the mega-talented state of Texas and this region in general, especially if recruits fear that the Big 12 will essentially crumble and disperse.
What do the Aggies risk with this move?
— I believe they just made it harder for themselves to win a national title and be a perennial Top 10 program. This program has everything it needs to be champion-caliber right here in their current situation: huge talent pool, money, a large rabid fan base, great facilities, very good academics, good coaching staff …. and maybe the most important thing … a chance to be one of a few big fish in a small pond. If they stay put and Texas eventually goes independent, then the Aggies and Oklahoma become the Ohio State and Michigan of this region and dominate for years with less than stellar competition. But by moving to the SEC, I believe the initial years at the very least will be tough … the Aggies will essentially be a regular sized fish in an ocean of sharks. Sure the Aggies open the season ranked #7-9 or so, but project them in the SEC this year …. would they even be in the Top 4 of that conference after a full season? Next season (2012), they essentially move from #2 in their Big 12 conference to #5, 6 or 7 in the SEC.
Now, if you believe the trend toward mega-power conferences is real, then this is probably a very good move for the Aggies, but it will take 10+ years to really know.
So what happens to Texas? I suspect they eventually go independent ala BYU and of course Notre Dame has been independent since it’s inception. But, are Texas and BYU overestimating their national brand value?
And what about Oklahoma? Truly screwed at the moment. Oklahoma is certainly a player in athletics and of course football, but they are not nearly the attraction Texas is. Maybe they can find a seat in the PAC 10 or PAC 20 eventually when we’re in mega-conference world. Maybe the Big 10 or BIG 20 will have a place for them … seems like a better geographical fit. We’ll see … but OU may be getting some of the leftovers.
What is the SEC’s next move? Many think Florida State will end up joining to even out the math again.
I’m wondering how others around the country are looking at this. I’m down here in Aggieland, so I’m getting a biased perspective as I talk to people. Aggie alums generally seem to be pleased with the move, but I get the sense that their pleasure is mostly derived from telling the Longhorns to go #$%! themselves. Meanhwile, sports talk show hosts are mixed on the subject. So how do you CFB fans here on the Pine look at this almost official move by Texas A&M?