Texas A&M jumping ship to the Southeastern Conference have started up again. After all of the conference musical chairs that went on a year ago, I was ready for some stability, but leave it to the Aggies to stir the pot.
It appears that A&M was not happy about tu getting its own television network, and I really cannot blame them. It's an unfair recruiting advantage that the shorthorns get over everyone else in the Big XII, so of course the perpetual bridesmaid took exception and is threatening to leave. If the Aggs do end up in the SEC, good on them, but I'm worried about how that will impact the program.
Truth be told, A&M needs Texas more than Texas needs the Aggies. In Texas, the Aggie/Longhorn rivalry takes backseat to only the Red River Rivalry, so leaving the Big XII will deprive A&M of one of its biggest games of the season, and one of the few recruitment tools it has. Coaches cannot sell recruits on BCS Championships, but they can give them the chance to beat the hated Longhorns, which just as good to some. If the Aggies leave, the Horns will just focus more attention on the Sooners, and that'll be that. In the SEC, A&M could reinvigorate its rivalries with Arkansas and LSU, but they may no longer get the satisfaction of sticking it to Bevo ever again.
Besides leaving the long, cold shadow cast on them by Austin, I don't see how leaving the Big XII for the SEC will benefit A&M. Instead of getting beat by tu, Tech, and Oklahoma, they'll just get hammered by the likes of Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. At least they'll get to face Mississippi State and Vandy every once in a while. On the bright side, they'd be shoe-ins for a BCS Title if they somehow won the SEC, but the same could be said about winning the Big XII.
As a Big XII fan, A&M leaving the conference could be the final nail in its coffin because its options are running out, and there'd be slim pickings in the state of Texas after the Aggies bolted. Schools like Houston, Rice, or SMU could fill the void, but could never replace what A&M brought to the table. I'd be shocked if North Texas or UTEP would be seriously considered, but crazier things have happened. Ever going out of state doesn't fix the problem. Can you see Tulsa or Louisiana Tech joining the Big XII? How about New Mexico or New Mexico State? It's just too bad TCU already decided to head to the Big East.
Speaking of the Big East, it too could be decimated by A&M's decision to become a member of the SEC since a 14th team would be needed. Reports are claiming that West Virginia and Louisville could be next in line to pouched by the powerhouse conference. Even the ACC could be picked apart with either Clemson or Florida State potentially joining up. If all of these moves become reality, then the landscape of college sports will be forever changed, but not necessarily for the better.
When Nebraska and Colorado decided to leave the Big XII, talks of super conferences taking over college football started, and I was skeptical of such a notion. Taking away regional brands from the sport would rob it of what makes it special, but it's starting to look like that's the future, and that'll be a shame.