Effective July 2012, the biggest and oldest state institution in Texas will be a part of all sports schedules starting in the 2012-2013 school year. The joining of A&M; will take the Southeastern Conference to 13 teams, an issue that might make scheduling problematic, even more so, but make the SEC WEST, already with two of the top 3 teams in the nation already in its ranks tougher to get through. Assuming that the Aggies move to the SEC WEST, it means that the SEC might have to expand to 14 teams. The conference has not named names, but Missouri, currently a member of the Big 12 (which now has 9 teams, 10 counting the recent recruitment of TCU) has expressed interest. However, Missouri has also made it clear that the SEC is their SECOND choice, since they tried and failed to join the Big Ten (which has 12 teams) since last year, and they took Nebraska instead.
This addition and subsequent additions, the SEC’s first since the 1992 additions of South Carolina and Arkansas, will further push SEC into the forefront as the nations’ best college football conference, as if five consecutive BCS National Champions hasn’t done that. Texas A&M; leaves the Big 12 in turmoil, with 10 teams, all looking to either keep their conference in tact or move to other conferences. The PAC-12, who has rejected the notion of expanding further, has kept the only option of salvaging a conference whose members are seemingly jealous of the national status of the Texas Longhorns and their ESPN powered Longhorn Network. The Network, with its 20-year, $300 Million dollar deal strained a rivalry between A&M; and the Longhorns, one of the oldest in the country. Not only does A&M;’s movement threaten that natural rivalry between Texas, but Baylor University as well, one of the few Big 12 institutions who threatened legal action against the school and the SEC for the conference realignment.
Texas A&M; must also assume a heavy price to pay in its departure from its current conference. In 2010, when Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten, had to pay a buyout of $9.25 Million. The Aggies will have to pay a similar price to change leagues as well.
This departure from the Big 12 is about more than jealously and conference angst. From the Houston Chronicle, Texas A&M; president R. Bowen Loftin stated last week in a statement the following:
” We really want to take our time and think about this carefully, to listen to internal voices and external voices. We’re looking forward to working through this one step at a time.”
So, maybe it is about the money and power the SEC wields. Nevertheless, at least there is a thought process. For more on Texas A&M; and what SEC FANS will want and need to know about their newest member, check out this article from The Birmingham (AL) news here.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE SEC:
Barring anything else more random than Texas A&M; joining the Southeastern Conference, the league will need a 14th member. Missouri is not logical, no more logical than A&M.; The league needs to choose a SOUTHEASTERN team, a Clemson, Louisville, a return of Tulane or Georgia Tech, perhaps, Florida State, or how about upstart South Florida, who beat Georgia last year during bowl season. Thirteen teams is a scheduling nightmare, and uneven divisions as it stands now. However, but it does bring back old rivalries. Texas A&M; and LSU have an old rivalry, dating back to 1899, and the Aggies lead the series overall at 27-20-3.
So, from The Southern Fried Sports Girl, welcome to the SEC, Aggie Nation. I can’t wait to visit College Station one day.
Information in this article via ESPN.com, the Houston Chronicle (Houstonchronicle.com) TheChattanoogan.com, and The Birmingham News (WWW.al.com).