When former SEC (Alabama) National Championship Coach, now Texas A&M Regent, Gene Stallings, said that A&M was "strong enough to stand on its own" while indicating a move to the SEC might be a strong possibility for the Aggies, LSU fans started to like the idea of SEC expansion.
LSU is the westernmost outpost for the SEC and shares its home state football adulation with no other school.
When LSU plays another state institution it is charity for the state and a tick in the W column, also known as a ‘rent a win’, for the Fighting Tigers.
Many moons ago, the Tulane Green Wave was considered a rival, but they were left behind like the Cornhuskers leaving the Big XII.
LSU also has rivalries with SEC foes like Florida, Auburn, and Alabama and there are those ‘trophy’ games with Ole Miss and Arkansas (the Magnolia Bowl and Battle for the Boot, respectively) which, in truth are a wee bit contrived.
I remember a poll on an LSU website last year that asked who LSU’s biggest rival was and my recollection is that Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, and Ole Miss all received about the same amount of votes with Tulane bringing up the rear.
What does that mean?
LSU needs a true rival to call its own and Texas A&M provides the perfect opportunity.
Both teams have incredible fan support, great traditions, and a shared history that dates back to before 1904, when the two were both members of the SEC’s predecessor, the SIAA.
They haven’t played since 1995, but the two met 49 times (LSU holds the all time lead at 26-20-3) from 1899 up until that year.
LSU is TAMU’s most frequent out of conference opponent and the Aggies are LSU’s third most frequent, behind Tulane and Rice.
They played each other in the 1944 Orange Bowl (LSU 19-14) in Miami and have played other games on neutral sites, splitting those meetings 3-3-1.
When it comes to playing on each other’s turf, the home field advantage is huge according to the rivalry’s history.
The Tigers are 22-10-1 in Baton Rouge but 1-7-1 at College Station.
The ‘Cypress River’ Rivalry or the ‘Old South Border War’ could quickly become one of the best rivalries in college football.
For the Aggies, following big brother (University of Texas) means continuing to play second fiddle to the Longhorns in the State, the conference—whichever one that may be—and the Rivalry.
By joining the SEC, Texas A&M could rekindle the rivalry with LSU (and former SWC foe Arkansas, for that matter) and shine all on her own at just the right time.
Head coach Mike Sherman has recruited very well and has the Aggies on the verge of ascending the CFB ranks.
Winning the final Big XII Championship then joining the best conference in all the land could and just might move A&M forever out of the Orange shadow and spark the next great college rivalry.
Bring it on Aggies, welcome to the SEC!