Just when we thought the conference realignment storm had passed, it turns out we were just in the eye of it.
Suddenly, the major conference shuffling has once again reached whirlwind proportions, as Texas A&M has been reported to finally be making the long-rumored jump from the ever-weakening Big 12 Conference to the SEC, this just months after both the Pac-10 (now 12) and Big Ten both expanded themselves.
And apparently seeing the Aggies jump East is only the tip of the iceberg, as now Missouri, Florida State and/or Clemson is also expected to join A&M in the new-look SEC.
Just when we thought the juggernaut that was SEC football couldn’t become any stronger, they now could bulk up to a 16-team superconference.
The move makes sense for the Aggies, despite the grumblings from some pigskin fans. They’ve been pleading that Texas A&M can’t even win the Big 12, how are they going to fare any better in the SEC?
Yes, the jump may not necessarily translate immediately into a lot of victories on the gridiron for the Aggies.
But make no mistake; Texas A&M switching to the mighty SEC will serve as a huge reciprocal financial payoff for both the school and the conference.
First, A&M finally gets out from under the shadows of their bitter rivals, Texas, and their perky television deal with ESPN.
Second, just imagine the boatload of cash a 16-team SEC will make for each of its member schools, especially considering that they’ve added another major television market in Dallas/Houston by bringing A&M on board.
The dream matchups are endless.
You thought Florida-Florida State and Clemson-South Carolina meant something before? Now add SEC title implications to both of the matchups.
And for those feeling nostalgic, Texas A&M-Arkansas will ignite the fire of a rivalry from their old Southwest Conference days.
The money the 12-team SEC (already the premier football conference) brought in annually will pale in comparison to what a 16-team superconference would garner; it will probably be an NFL-like deal.
But while the SEC’s future got that much brighter (and richer), both the Big 12 and ACC’s futures got that much murkier.
Of course, the ACC will suffer from losing two of their premier football schools. But they’re still 10-schools deep, and they won’t lose anything at all from a basketball standpoint, as both Florida State and Clemson weren’t exactly known for their successes on the hardwood.
But now the Big 12 has been reduced to an eight-school shell, and once again, all eyes will be focused on what the University of Texas does because their actions will determine the fate of the conference.
Will they finally jump ship for the Pac-12? Will they go Independent? Will they ask Notre Dame to join the Big 12, a move that would add incredible stability to a conference that would feature the Irish, Texas and Oklahoma?
Obviously the first logical move for the Big 12 would be to add Houston to replace the market that’s lost with A&M’s departure. But after that, it all rests on that school in Austin that rocks burnt orange and a lot of green.
At least Texas A&M fans won’t be held hostage any longer by their arch-rivals; they took it upon themselves to move on to greener pastures.