Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork had a message for Texas amid rumors the Longhorns want to join the SEC: This conference isn't big enough for the both of us.
The Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman reported Texas and Oklahoma have had preliminary contact with the SEC about potentially aligning. The Aggies apparently aren't in favor of the idea.
"We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas," Bjork told reporters. "There's a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12—to be stand-alone, to have our own identity."
According to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, Texas A&M isn't the only school expressing some resistance to the plan:
The Sooners and Longhorns flirted with leaving the Big 12 in 2010 before deciding to stay. Should a 12-team playoff become a reality, the benefits of moving to the SEC might be somewhat lessened as well.
Still, Zwerneman's report wouldn't have surfaced if there wasn't a possibility of this happening. And were it to come to fruition, Texas A&M might wind up being a bit of a loser from the deal.
The Aggies would get to reignite their rivalry with the Longhorns again, which would certainly make the fanbase happy.
But Bjork alluded to how playing in the SEC provides A&M with an advantage over Texas on the recruiting trail, especially in college football. Here's where the schools have finished over the last five years in 247Sports' composite team recruiting rankings:
- 2017: Texas A&M (13th); Texas (25th)
- 2018: Texas (3rd); Texas A&M (17th)
- 2019: Texas (3rd); Texas A&M (4th)
- 2020: Texas A&M (6th); Texas (8th)
- 2021: Texas A&M (8th); Texas (15th)
Suddenly, some of the progress head coach Jimbo Fisher has made could be undone. The Aggies wouldn't become a nonentity for recruits, but getting some of the top in-state talent to College Station would likely be a little tougher.
And that's to say nothing of the fact the level of competition in the SEC would raise. Oklahoma has made four appearances in the College Football Playoff, and the whole "Is Texas back?" discourse is emblematic of the wide belief the program has the infrastructure and prestige to be a top contender again.
As much as Bjork might be publicly against the idea, he might have to fall in line if the two Big 12 powers make a breakthrough with the SEC.