SEC Expansion: Why This is a Sad Time for Texas A&M and the Big XII

Nick MachiavelliContributor IIIAugust 12, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Wide receiver Jeff Fuller #8 and Uzoma Nwachukwu #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrate a touchdown against the LSU Tigers during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Texas A&M leaving the Big XII in the SEC expansion is a sad day for both the school and the conference.

Like most Aggie faithful, for me, this move comes with mixed feelings. I understand and agree with most of the reasons Texas A&M is going to the SEC, but it is still an unfortunate reminder of how college football has forever changed.

This expansion is about money, and the power that it brings for recruiting. The Aggies are rightfully concerned about the relationship between Texas and ESPN further shifting the balance of power in the Longhorns' favor.

From a revenue and recruiting perspective, Texas A&M going to the SEC is a no-brainer.

However, this is going to have drastic and unforeseen consequences on the other schools in the Big XII. Texas and Oklahoma are both going to be fine, but the other schools could be left out of the conference realignment altogether.

While many fans are excited about the prospect of starting, or renewing, rivalries in the SEC, nobody is excited about seeing the other schools suffer.

Once Texas A&M leaves the conference, there could be a much larger reorganization within college football. In that scenario, there are few attractive options for Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Baylor or the Kansas schools.

Those schools might get an invitation to the Big East, although that is far from certain. The Big East also has to appease its non-football membership, and some of the remaining Big XII schools might not be welcomed.

We also have to consider the rivalries that will end if the Aggies leave. The Texas vs Texas A&M rivalry will continue in any situation, but the other rivalries will almost certainly end.

Texas A&M vs Texas Tech is not a nationally prominent rivalry, but it is very important for many fans in the state. Many Red Raiders view that game as one of the biggest of their season, and there is a palpable animosity between fans of the schools. 

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State is a game that has really taken off in recent years. The Cowboys started their rise as the Aggies started their descent, and they consistently play close and exciting games. Many fans will be very disappointed to see that game go away.

Aggies fans are justifiably excited about the new rivalries the SEC expansion would create. LSU and Arkansas are both natural rivalries, and would be incredibly exciting for both schools.

While those games would be blockbusters, many of the other match ups are lackluster from a historical perspective. 

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Uzoma Nwachukwu #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies scores a touchdown over Kelvin Sheppard #11 of the Louisiana State University Tigers during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Aggies have no other natural rivals in the conference. Texas A&M has only played 25 games against the other SEC schools in its entire football history.

While Aggies fans are not excited about some of the current matchups, such as Iowa State, Kansas State, etc., the prospect of playing the Mississippi schools is not much more appealing.

Moving to the SEC is not Texas A&M's first choice. If they wanted to make the move, they would have done so last year. The SEC made it clear they wanted the Aggies then.

Texas A&M made the choice to stay where they are, because the Big XII is a great league overall.

The only thing that has changed is Texas and the Longhorn Network. The Aggies are justified in fearing the monster ESPN has created, but they feel they are being forced into leaving.

Texas A&M fans should be upset that Texas is the one calling the shots in the Big XII. With the historic rivalry between the schools, and the absolute loathing the fans feel towards each other, letting Texas drive them away really stings.

All in all, the SEC Expansion has the potential to be great for Texas A&M. The Aggies get to play in the nation’s premier conference, will make more money and will hopefully gain a recruiting advantage over the Longhorns.

However, the loss of rivalries, the damage to the other programs and letting Texas control the Aggies' fate means that this move is bittersweet. While it may be the right choice, it is still a sad day for Texas A&M.