Aggie Alum Gov. Rick Perry
8/10/11 Update - In an interview with the Dallas Morning Texas Governor Rick Perry had this to say.
"I'll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y'all did. ... As far as I know, conversations are being had. That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there."
There is still the question of breaking up Texas and Texas A&M, and or the Oklahoma schools, but it is beginning to look like there is a fire roaring beneath all this smoke...
Texas A&M and Aggies in general are too proud to be the seen as the bridesmaid to Texas, or t.u. as they refer to the school in Austin.
Oklahoma too is in a position that does not make alumni happy, and no matter the outcome of moves that may or may not happen, they do not think for a minute that the Red River Rivalry, or the annual Thanksgiving weekend games between Texas-Texas A&M will go away.
With the Texas Network, and all that goes with it, Texas has elevated itself above the Big XII to the point that the Aggies and Sooners (who both deny talks to leave the floundering conference) may soon bolt to the SEC, or could it be another move they are looking at, possibly west to the Pac-12?
Whatever the plans are, the odds of those two staying with Texas seem to glow dimmer every day.
While many in the current SEC think these two would become lesser Georgia or LSU level teams, this may be a perfect move for both schools, and do not underestimate the recruiting implications for all involved, and that includes Texas, which may be the school that loses the most in this proposition...
Lets be honest here, who really travels to Waco for a road game? From the photo above, not too many. Even when the Bears are competitive, Waco is not exactly on most peoples bucket list.
Road trips to Nashville and Lexington are a step up form Waco and Manhattan.
Could this be an annual sugfest?
College Station and Baton Rouge are 365 miles apart.
Norman and Fayatteville are even closer at under 250 miles.
These are natural rivalries that would flourish in an expanded SEC, and the big winners here are Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Arkansas has been the afterthought in SEC circles for over a decade, and adding the Agiges and Sooners makes Arkansas not such an outlier in the grand scheme of things. In addition, a yearly contest with the added cache of a SEC West Conference game at Gerry World will help Arkansas bridge the gap in Texas recruiting it has missed since leaving the old Southwest Conference.
For the Aggies annual games with Oklahoma, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama may seem like a murderers row with recent records in mind, but the recruiting implications for the Aggies are huge, and growing these rivalries will only help A&M.
Texas A&M gets a boost in the rankings by moving to the SEC.
A Big XII Aggie team will go into the season ranked in the top 15, but the same SEC Aggie team gets a top 10 ranking. (See: terminally overrated Georgia.)
Oklahoma does not see quite the bump in polls the Aggies do, but a loss at Alabama or LSU does not hurt their title chances as much as a loss at Texas Tech or Okie State does.
Let's be honest, you can lose two games in the SEC and still find yourself in National Championship contention. Can you say that about the Big XII?
Yeah I didn't think so...
When all the realignment talks started it looked like the Big XII was going to implode and the best parts would head west to the Pac-10. That didn't happen largely thanks to Baylor pushing back in the Texas legislature.
But that did not stop the changes from happening. Colorado went to the Pac-12, Nebraska went to the Big 10, and Texas got its own network.
So where does that leave the other 9 members?
Rumors are yet again flying about the Ags and Sooners bolting for the SEC and its big dollar TV contract.
If this happens, Texas goes independent, and the Big XII either totally shuffles its membership, or more likely it goes away all together.
This would leave seven members looking for new homes:
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
Or...the Big XII could add BYU, Tulsa and Houston to get back to a 10 team league, with the SEC gaining two members, the Big 10 grabs the remaining former Big 8 schools, and the Mountain West grabs Texas Tech and Houston or others...
This is a win-win for Texas and Oklahoma.
If the Longhorns are Independent they will need strong non conference games to fill their schedule, and a SEC Oklahoma fits that bill. Plus, it makes the game a bigger national draw
For Oklahoma, Texas OU is one of its two rivalry games that cannot go away. Sure there is Okie State, but the real rivalries are Texas and Nebraska. And getting a Big 10 game with Nebraska and still playing Texas in whatever league or status helps the Sooners.
That Saban cat can recruit...
This is a theme that will play out over the next three points...
For the Longhorns this is their worst nightmare, and here's why...
Texas A&M is viewed as inferior to the Longhorns. Every kid in Texas has the Horns on the top of his wish list and Mack Brown gets pretty much everyone he wants, but with the Aggies in the SEC suddenly the playing field levels considerably, and that is before you consider all the SEC schools playing games in Mack''s backyard.
LSU plays in Texas every other year, as do Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and then you get Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, etc....once every four years, and the SEC Championship Game will find its way to Gerry World at some point in the future.
The Aggies become very attractive to kids that dream of the SEC, and that cuts into Texas' ability to sell recruits on a chance to play for National Championships.
As stated in reason No. 5, The Aggeis make up big ground in Texas on the Longhorns, but more importantly, they immediately open up a big advantage on the southeast states recruits who only want to play SEC football.
This means, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana to start with. Other than Louisiana, the Aggies have been limited in recruiting large numbers from the Southeast. This change would be even more valuable to the Aggies than just getting on even ground with Texas at home.
For Oklahoma, the song sounds the same, but unlike the Aggies, Oklahoma is already the leader at home, and this would only increase their ability to get pretty much any recruit they wanted in Oklahoma.
The biggest losers here are Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, with Texas and Oklahoma State feeling it the most.
Superconferences are coming and making the move to one that will be around after the dust settles is in any schools best interest.
Four conferences with 16 teams each is the most common thought in realignment scenarios, so taking two of the four available slots in the SEC makes a lot of sense, and with the proximity to Louisiana and Arkansas for the Ags and Sooners, getting in is a good fit as well, and it expands the SEC footprint.
The Pac-12, Big 10, SEC, and one other, either the Big East/ACC or Mountain West, will take up the 64 slots with the lesser conferences becoming even more irrelevant.
Notice no Big XII in these conversations and that leaves 10 schools without homes. Texas will likely go Independent, but for the other nine, it's time to find a soft landing place.
And can it get any softer than the deep pockets of the SEC?
In a world where SOS means more than a perfect record, a move east brings with it instant credibility. No matter what the actual strength of the teams in the SEC, the perception is what matters, and a new SEC West that looks like this (see below) is far better for the Ags and Sooners than their current weakened Big XII
- Mississippi State
- Texas A&M
Texas A&M and Oklahoma keep their games with Texas, Alabama keeps its Auburn rivalry game and both schools strength of schedule takes a great step forward.
Mississippi State is the weak link in the West, and with the three East Division games, both schools can schedule one or more gimme games and still have strong enough SOS to overcome a loss or two.
A plausible Texas A&M schedule of:
- Texas State
- Mississippi State
One stat says it all...
Six BCS Championships in the past eight seasons.
If you win the SEC, odds are you are going to the Championship game.
Well, at least until Congress blows up the BCS!
Texas A&M and Oklahoma are a couple pieces away from being contenders in the SEC year in and year out. Give both of these schools 1-2 years of playing in the SEC, and prospects like Aledo's Johnathon Gray, who chose Texas over Texas A&M and TCU, might have been wearing Maroon in 2012.
Look at TCU's recruiting since announcing their move to the Big East. Now take those gains and magnify them ten-fold by jumping ship to the SEC...
The BCS Championship is the only real reason to go east...OK, that and the truckloads of money that being an SEC school brings with it.
Oh, and that thumb in Texas' Eye feels pretty good, too...