Yep. You nailed, John....and did your homework, as usual! I'm about as 100% Aggie as you will find...and I'm old enough to say that I've been that way for "decades." So, fwiw, I don't care a hoot whether we ever play the Horns again. We enjoyed some terrific years of a FRIENDLY, fun rivalry on the field "back in the day" - but that has not been the case in the past 10 years or so. Perhaps if Horns fans can "get over it" and give us some respect for what we have accomplished in the past year (they seem to be the ONLY ones in the country that can't see it...) we might someday have a mutually respectful rivalry befitting both of these great universities. That would be terrific and I'm all for it. (I personally believe there is a better chance of that now that we are in different conferences, btw) If not - no big deal. IMO, our new SEC family is amazing: fan bases, venues, teams and traditions - we Ags feel right at home. Makes it easy, really, to leave the dysfunctional family behind and move on. Oh, yeah...and the goldmine doesn't hurt either ;-)
Since way back in 2010, this site has said that Texas A&M would eventually join the SEC — long before it actually did — and that it would be uber-successful in its new home once it made that move. After 25 years of flirting, A&M and the SEC did indeed finally tie the knot this past year.
And the Aggies are already showing just how uber their uber-success might be.
Texas A&M is a goldmine in terms of potential. All the pieces are in place: rabid fanbase, a top 20 all-time tradition, facilities, a deep recruiting pool from which to catch blue chip prospects, etc. Toss in the SEC brand — you know, the league that’s produced more NFL draft picks than any other since 1988 — and the Aggies suddenly have a recruiting differentiator from in-state big brother Texas. “Want to play at Iowa State in a Longhorn Network game that no one will see… or would you rather play on CBS against teams like Alabama, Florida and LSU?”
We toss in LSU for a reason. Regular readers of this site know that we’ve compared 2012 Texas A&M to 2000 LSU for a while now. The Tigers had tradition and a deep in-state talent pool and great facilities and passionate fans, but for some reason, they’d gone nearly two decades without capitalizing on all of that. But in came Nick Saban at the dawn of the century, all that changed, and the Tiger program hasn’t looked back since.
Well, with each passing week it’s looking more and more like Kevin Sumlin and quarterback Johnny Manziel might just be the Texas A&M equivalent of Saban, a coach they upset this past weekend. They look like the spark that lights the powder keg. The pickaxe that strikes the vein of gold.
And Texas fans had better worry about it.
Oh, don’t take that the wrong way. Texas football will always be a top national brand. The biggest programs all go through valleys, but eventually they peak again. The Longhorns are trying stay out of a valley at the moment. They are 21-14 the past three years and Mack Brown is 61-years-old. He’s lost three years in a row to Oklahoma by an aggregate score of 146-58. Whether he rights things for one last run of greatness or not, Brown’s window is closing and that means Texas’ football program will have to go through some sort of transition for the first time since 1998.
By comparison, Sumlin is just 48-years-old, he’s in his first season in College Station and so is his do-everything, Heisman-candidate quarterback. Texas has reason for concern. Texas A&M has reason for hope. And Texas A&M’s hope should give Texas fans even more reason for concern.
Things are cyclical. As noted above, both the Longhorns and Aggies will rise, fall and rise again over time as they’re both traditional powers. (If you’re an all-time top 20 team, that’s a “power” to this writer.) But the SEC is the new variable in the ancient, heated Aggie-Longhorn rivalry. No longer can Texas do a single thing to slow A&M’s momentum. They won’t even get a shot to spoil a good Aggie season or undo their own Oklahoma loss with a Texas A&M win. They have no impact on A&M any longer and that’s never been the case before.
That’s another reason why Texas should man up and schedule Texas A&M, of course, but that’s a story for another time and place.
We just wanted to tip our red-white-and-blue MrSEC.com kepi to the Aggies for their big win at top-ranked Alabama on Saturday and for their fantastic entrance into the Southeastern Conference. That goldmine we spoke of when talking about A&M this summer, it appears Sumlin and Manziel are opening it up for business (much to the chagrin of several SEC West schools).
And there’s not a darn thing the University of Texas can do to stop it.