From the SEC's perspective, the addition of Texas A&M makes a ton of sense on the bottom line. The addition of the Dallas and Houston markets, ranked Nos. 5 and 10, respectively, will allow the SEC to place the yet-to-be-created SEC Network on carriers in both of those markets.
From Texas A&M's perspective, it gave them something different to sell to recruits in the state of Texas, which will differentiate them from intra-state rival Texas.
How threatened are Texas officials with the thought of Texas A&M in the SEC? That's up for debate. The threat, however, is certainly recognized.
Speaking to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds took a shot at the Aggies.
When it was said SEC expanded its footprint into Texas by adding A&M, Dodds said, "They have a sliver down the East side" of Texas.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 31, 2012
It's no secret that Texas dominates that state, but A&M's presence isn't limited to a small part of the state—and Dodds knows that.
The fact that Dodds would go out of his way to put A&M down, especially when the two schools aren't scheduled to play on the gridiron (for now), says that he feels that threat and is looking to find any way to keep the Aggies down. That's even more critical for Dodds now that Texas A&M is no longer under his thumb as the de facto ruler of the Big 12.
Will Texas A&M step into the SEC and immediately supplant Texas as the No. 1 FBS program in the state of Texas? Of course not. That may never happen.
But now that the Aggies are in the SEC, there will be a group of recruits that grow up knowing Texas A&M as an SEC program. Playing in the SEC provides better exposure and a better avenue to the NFL, as indicated by the fact that the SEC has had the most players drafted in six straight drafts. That's a strong selling point for A&M.
The positive perception of the Texas A&M football program will be accelerated once SEC commissioner Mike Slive's SEC Network plans come to fruition.
As my colleague Michael Felder over at Your Best 11 points out, that was one of the primary reasons the SEC added A&M to begin with. That SEC Network may not be dedicated to one school like the Longhorn Network, but a 24/7/365 channel across all carriers in the state will be mutually beneficial to the SEC and Texas A&M.
On the field, Texas A&M is still a work in progress. Off the field, the program will be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC and in the state of Texas, thanks to its affiliation with the SEC.
Dodds' quote may be negative in nature, but it tells me that he recognizes the threat.
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