First and foremost I hope you know what you're getting, SEC, in the Texas A&M Aggies. Please note that once buyer's remorse sets in that there will be no refunds or exchanges on this transaction. Although there has yet to be an official invite from the SEC for the Aggies to join, A&M is taking a leap of faith that its going to be there...and its a good bet that it will be. The questions from here on are should we really care and what do we do now?
The answers become a little more clear once we realize exactly what the Big 12 Conference has lost in Texas A&M.
There's something to be said for thinking of yourself as more than you actually are. While all teams have that tendency there are few who do it with the tenacity of Texas A&M. If we could buy the Aggies for what they're actually worth and then sell them for what they think they're worth then we could all make a fortune. We're not talking about an elite team jumping ship here and leaving the Big 12. We're talking about a middle of the pack team (at best) leaving for what they deem to be greener pastures (by green I mean no burnt orange).
Since 1996 the Aggies have an overall 106-80 record with a 64-56 conference mark and an embarrassing 1-9 bowl record. They've lost the Cotton Bowl three times, Alamo Bowl twice, Independence Bowl twice, the Sugar and Holiday Bowl once. The one bowl victory that they've been able to bring to the Big 12 is the prestigious Galleryfuniture.com bowl in 2001. So again, I ask you, what has the Big 12 lost?
The Aggies aren't irreplaceable! There are legitimate options on the table for the Big 12 and while dissolving the conference may be one of them, its not a very likely scenario as some would hope it to be. The Big 12 is what's best for Oklahoma and Texas and until all options are exhausted they'll fight to keep it together. Why? Because they dominate the conference and their success has regularly landed them in BCS bowl games as well as the BCS championship.
No one thought that Big 12 Armageddon was upon us over Colorado leaving the Big 12 but the Buffs are similar in record to A&M over the same time span, played for more conference championships and had a 4-4 bowl record. You could literally make the argument that the conference lost more in Colorado than they are in A&M and it would at least carry a conversation.
Who really knows what the end result is going to be but you can bank on the fact that the conference is going to go after the likes of Notre Dame and Arkansas. Of course they'll get turned down but that doesn't necessarily mean the Big 12 takes a step backwards in quality of football. I would argue that if they could lure in TCU or BYU then its actually a step up in competition. The Frogs are 128-55 since 1996 with an 8-4 record in bowl games including a Rose Bowl victory last season. The Cougars are 125-65 with a 5-5 bowl record. Both considerably better and with BYU you add a new market which increases your revenue while TCU allows you to hold steady.
The point is that there are options out there and just because A&M moves from one conference that they can't win to another conference they won't be able to win doesn't mean the Big 12 is losing a whole lot. You think the people in Houston are going to stop watching Big 12 football? As long at Texas is playing in the conference then the answer is no. If the Big 12 is able to reach out and replace a mediocre A&M team with a team that has a winning track record over the last decade (TCU) or a team that has a winning track record and millions of new viewers (BYU) then this whole thing is a positive.