Big 12 Football: Should Conference Members Consider Scheduling Texas A&M?
Consider the Aggies officially dismissed. Their Big 12 football tenure has come to an abrupt close, finishing after their acceptance of the Southeastern Conference's invitation to join their league.
For each side, there are both positives and negatives. A&M gains admission to the best football conference in the nation, acquires a substantial financial payout, and links up with lost rivals LSU and Arkansas in the SEC West. The Big 12 has the ability to now reach out to other universities and renegotiate TV contracts in hopes of landing larger deals with the big networks.
On the downside, the Aggies leave behind their most storied rivalry with Texas, depart from a conference that has associated with them for years and have received criticism on a national scale for their actions. Their former conference, on the other hand, loses a premiere program, a loyal fan base and credibility in the college football world.
The Big 12 seemed to be in a downward spiral until the somewhat recent addition of TCU. Furthermore, the conference reached out to West Virginia who will join the league as soon as they meet ends with the Big East. Hopes of BYU possibly roaming into the fold still float about as well.
As of now, the Big 12 is 10 programs strong behind the monetary inflow of Texas. The Longhorns refuse to associate with their long time rivals in hopes of showing how foolish A&M's move to the SEC really was, a vain attempt at best considering the support the Aggies' new conference has given them.
As UT will have no part to play in whether or not the other conference members choose to associate with their former mate, the other nine universities should be free to schedule A&M in if both are compliant to playing each other.
Should the Big 12 Schedule Games with Texas A&M?
Over the course of several years, the Aggies established multiple "rivalries" within the Big 12. Oklahoma State, the "little brother" to OU, has the same kind of complex A&M has with UT. Retaining play with the Cowboys would be more than ideal to many Texas A&M fans.
Additionally, Texas Tech and the Red Raiders have shown themselves to be formidable opponents on the gridiron to the Aggies, making continuation of their in-state battle a definite keeper. TCU—the newest member of the conference—presents itself as a strong target as they were part of the Southwest Conference back in the day with Texas A&M.
These universities, in addition to every other in the Big 12, all have a three game non-conference slate to fill every season, making A&M a possibility to fit in. The Aggies don't need the Big 12 to help fill their schedule, but playing friends from their former conference would not only be nostalgic, but help to keep old rivalries alive.
Many fans believe that the Aggies' actions were, to put it lightly, unjust, abrupt, and overall brash. They certainly may have been to an extent, but just like that coworker that we've all worked with for years but leaves suddenly because a prestigious firm offered him a tougher yet higher-paid job, there is no need to hold a grudge.
Instead, why not welcome him back to the occasional office party in hopes of reconnecting and maintaining a friendship you may have established over the course of decades? He had no hopes of losing his old buddies by changing firms; he just grabbed an opportunity when it came knocking. There is no shame in that.
Texas A&M will never regret its decision to change its conference affiliation, but holding onto old rivalries would be a welcome show of support from its former Big 12 mates. The Aggies wish the best upon the Big 12 in every way possible and will cherish their history with the conference for years to come.
However, there is a difference between hateful pride and a competitive spirit. Let us both choose the latter.
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