Texas A&M and the SEC
First, let me start by saying that I do not like this move at all. I just continue to ask myself this question: "What does Texas A&M have to offer the SEC?"
I will continue to doubt this move until I get proven otherwise. Here's why:
Texas A&M football in the past 5 years:
2010 9-4 with a loss in the Cotton Bowl to LSU
2009 6-7 with a loss in the Independence Bowl to Georgia
2008 4-8 (no bowl bid)
2007 7-6 with a loss in the Alamo Bowl to Penn State
2006 9-4 with a loss in the Holiday Bowl to California
Total Record of 35-29 and 0-4 in Bowl Games.
Here's what the current SEC has done in the past 5 years:
Alabama: 49-18 Overall and 3-2 in Bowl Games 2009 National Champion
Arkansas: 41-24 Overall and 1-3 in Bowl Games
Auburn: 47-18 Overall and 4-0 in Bowl Games 2010 National Champion
Florida: 58-12 Overall and 4-1 in Bowl Games 2006, 2008 National Champion
Georgia: 44-21 Overall and 4-1 in Bowl Games
Kentucky: 36-29 Overall and 3-2 in Bowl Games
LSU: 51-15 Overall and 4-1 in Bowl Games 2007 National Champion
Mississippi State: 29-33 Overall and 2-0 in Bowl Games
Ole Miss: 29-33 Overall and 2-0 in Bowl Games
South Carolina: 37-28 Overall and 1-3 in Bowl Games
Tennessee: 37-28 Overall and 1-3 in Bowl Games
Vanderbilt: 20-41 Overall and 1-0 in Bowl Games
Texas A&M only outperformed 3 SEC schools in the past 5 years. Those schools being Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. Doesn't make a huge case for them to join our conference, considering the last time they played in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game was 1998.
Here is the other reason why I was skeptical:
Since 2006, the SEC has a bowl record of 30-16. The Big 12.... a "stellar" 19-20.
So, A&M fans, you are saying that you will be good in football in the SEC because ...
You have a really awesome home stadium atmosphere?
Because you outperformed 3 SEC teams in overall record?
Because you can possibly pull in 3 top 40 television markets?
Because you think you will "compete" in the SEC West? (Who have won three National Championships in the last four years.)
Anyway, let's find some schools that could join you on your journey in the SEC ...
There's a lot of money at stake here. Missouri taps into two top 40 television markets for the SEC Digital Network to claim.
The SEC Digital Network already holds at least seven of the top 100 television markets. With the frightening possible addition of St. Louis (21) and Kansas City (31), dollar signs are flashing above Columbia, MO.
Missouri Tigers football has been pretty good, too. Gary Pinkel's squad is 48-19 in the past five years, including two bowl victories.
They do play in the Big 12 North, which has seen its better days, especially with Nebraska gone. However, they run a high-powered offense comparable to Mississippi State and Auburn.
Top reasons Missouri would accept a bid:
Money will play a huge factor in this decision. Also, getting out of the Big 12 before it disappears into thin air is important. Also don't forget the importance of not having to get walloped by Oklahoma and Texas anymore.
Top reasons why Missouri doesn't fit:
They have a weak Athletic Department—all SEC schools contribute in something. Mizzou softball is a dark horse. Also, they are not a traditional "football state."
That means Missouri is not a breeding ground for premier SEC athletes. Finally, SEC would have to restructure because Mizzou would want to join the West.
Most people wouldn't put Clemson on this list solely because of the SEC Digital Network. They provide no extra addition to the network. Even though the Greenville, SC, television market is ranked in the top 40, the Gamecocks already tap that market.
Clemson was also one of the six original members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The "academic prestige" is through the roof and some are afraid that a jump to the SEC would darken the light in the classroom.
That's not something that Clemson graduates are willing to part with for a little more excitement on Saturdays.
With that being said ...
Top reasons Clemson would accept a bid:
You have to love that SEC Network money. It also makes the rivalry with South Carolina an even bigger game than it already is. Clemson would be added to the SEC East, which would nicely complement the addition of A&M
Other Tiger teams would compete: baseball, men's basketball, golf, track and field and women's tennis would all play an important role.
Top reasons why Clemson doesn't fit:
Clemson is an ACC school through and through. They love the ACC and the ACC loves Clemson back.
Even though Clemson football has been good at times, its last ACC Championship was 1991.
Clemson's men's soccer program is a top flight program. Why would they change conferences to one that doesn't have one of their top programs?
Lastly, Clemson is a middle of the pack team in a middle of the pack conference. Their overall record of 39-27 in the past five years with a 1-4 bowl record doesn't inspire confidence. They also don't smell of SEC talent.
Florida State is a very intriguing choice for a 14th SEC school for two major reasons.
First, Florida State vs Florida is an "out of this world" rivalry.
It includes a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game and a National Championship game. Did I mention those two games were in the same season?
Second, with the exception of Miami, the SEC Digital Network would own the entire state of Florida. That includes the Orlando (19) television market. The SEC Digital Network would then have a hold in three television markets in a football powerhouse state.
Thirty of the ESPNU150 are from Florida and Florida has two of the top five high school football teams.
Top reasons Florida State would accept a bid:
Can Florida State spend more money? Give them an SEC contract and watch billions get spent.
Florida State football wants to win National Championships: Their last ACC Championship was in 2001.
Florida has been very good over the past few years and had a "breakout year" last year. They have a 40-26 overall record with four bowl victories in the last five years.
Also, Florida State has a strong Athletic Department that would thrive in the SEC: baseball, football, softball and track and field would all flourish in the new conference.
Yet another possible SEC East school ...
Top reasons why Florida State doesn't fit:
Again, there is something to this ACC thing. Even though Florida State only joined the ACC in 1991, they have strong ties to the conference.
Florida plays a role in this decision. These SEC top dogs probably don't want one of their top rivals in the same conference.
Florida State is a big kid in a small sandbox and the Atlantic Coast Conference isn't getting better in sports that Florida State is good at.
Texas is one of the most sought-after non-SEC teams in the country.
They have their own network, they are a flagship institution of an incredibly influential state, and they have one of the most passionate fan bases around.
Texas gets premier athletes from around the country to play football. Plus, I'm sure Texas has some more fight left in them than the sorry Big 12.
Let's throw a couple other crazy ideas into the mix.
How many people in Texas watch the University of Texas Longhorn football program play? (Probably a ton, right?)
I'm also sure the SEC would love to get yet another reason to go to Texas for recruiting.
Top reasons Texas would accept a bid:
Even though money is not an issue for Texas, who doesn't like more money?
To escape the eventual demise of the Big 12. Oklahoma is exploring its options in other conferences. Longhorn fans, it is just a matter of time before the Big 12 is a thing of the past.
The SEC is willing to bend over backwards to get Texas. They've been trying to get them for years. If you don't believe me, just ask any of the SEC athletic directors.
Texas would finally get into the best football conference in the nation. Not to mention, their other athletic programs, as well.
Does an overall record of 50-15 with three bowl wins in the last five years seem attractive? Last non-SEC school to win the National Championship? You guessed it, Texas.
Top reasons why Texas doesn't fit:
Longhorn Network. It is almost a guarantee that the SEC would restrict the Longhorn Network before admitting them.
The Texas, Oklahoma rivalry is important, as well. Somehow, these two schools think they will resurrect the Big 12. Unless they add TCU and someone else, this baby is gonna blow.
VaTech has all the fixings of a Southeastern Conference team: They have great coaching, good athletes, continued success and an ever-growing loyal fan base.
Frank Beamer is a Hokie for life with a current record of 200-95-2. I mean, they do call it Beamerball.
Virginia Tech doesn't mind changing conferences, either. Ask the Big East. VT jumped when they decided the time was right.
Even though the SEC Digital Network would skip over North Carolina—one of its more coveted television markets—VT would open the entire Virginia viewing area.
Oh, and you can't argue about their record. Seven straight double digit win seasons. Record of 52-16 in the past five years. Three out of the last four ACC football championships.
They're doing everything they can to stand out.
Plus, VT just reeks of SEC.
Top reasons Virginia Tech would accept a bid:
Money is a big factor, once again.
Who doesn't want that double-digit million-dollar paycheck every year?
Virginia Tech is clearly above the ACC in football. Minus a few hiccups here and there, they are one of the most successful programs in the Mid-Atlantic.
With the growing alumni base and their need for national standing, I'm sure they would get pushed heavily to bolt from the ACC.
Let's face it, VT moved from the Big East to the ACC for better football.
Is the SEC better than the ACC in football? Of course they are.
Tech fans as well as Vols fans loved the matchup in the 2009 Chick-fil-A bowl. Vols fans hated the outcome, but the rivalry is there. They just need somewhere to play.
Top reasons why Virginia Tech doesn't fit:
Virginia Law will fight tooth and nail to keep VT.
You think the A&M thing was hard? Wait until VT lets their true feelings show. Legislators in VA will start working overtime to keep them.
Virginia Tech loves smashing people on the football field. Why go to the most competitive conference in the land when you can smack Boston College and NC State around every year?
Here are the top 5 schools that will not be in the running for the 14th SEC bid:
Unless you all find a way to get back to football prominence soon, you won't be in contention for the ACC anymore. And you know you can't compete with the SEC in football.
Yes, your fans are absolutely insane. Yes, you guys will burn things down in fits of rage when you lose. But, no: WVU isn't enough of a football place. Plus, name one of your rivals below the Mason-Dixon line.
Even though the SEC wants desperately to get into North Carolina, you won't leave the ACC for any amount of money. Which is probably good for the SEC. I'm sure Vanderbilt and Kentucky want you on the schedule, though.
I'm sorry, but the SEC doesn't want rookies. They want schools who have had success for a while. Once you start slapping around the Big 12, come find us.
You look like an SEC school. You play like an SEC school. You even have athletes like an SEC school. But for some reason, you just don't fit. No reasoning here. Hope someone else has an answer.