Texas A&M managed two bowl wins and four Top 25 finishes as members of the Big XII conference. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
You've most likely heard the phrase that says, "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence." As Texas A&M's run in the Big XII comes to an end next month the question at hand is, which side of the fence the conference lies on?
Blinded by the effects of Little Man Syndrome the Aggies decided to make a jump from the Big XII to the S.E.C. and pretty much bring about an end to their football significance while also giving the likes of LSU, Alabama, Florida and Arkansas an even bigger recruiting foothold within the state of Texas. On the other hand building an inroad to Texas recruiting for the S.E.C. powers does have its rewards and the Aggies are about to get paid handsomely for selling their souls.
The Oklahoma Sooners are 19-11 against Texas A&M and 11-5 in Big XII play.
The measure of success for A&M's move depends on if you stand on the side of financial gain or athletic competition. If counting coins is important then there will be a lot more of them to count in College Station. Its a great way to pay off debt, revamp the facilities and draw attention to themselves. From that perspective this was an outstanding move for the Aggies.
Now, let's watch the other shoe drop here and ask Kansas what their athletic budget, facility condition and national prestige was in 2008 when they won the Orange Bowl. Even if they know the answer any random Kansas football fan doesn't care about budgets and income as much as they do winning. Bottom line is winning is ultimately what college football is about and its the only thing that success is based on. It doesn't matter how much money a coach can raise, if he can't win games then he isn't staying around. We need to look no further than A&M's Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman as prime examples of this.
To avoid misinterpretation of what I'm saying here I'll speak clearly and plainly. Texas A&M is about to get paid but they're also about to go the wayside of Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina in collegiate football and that's a best case scenario. They could very well end up in the same boat as Vanderbilt, Mississippi and Mississippi State. As appalling as that may sound the truth is, if you can't compete regularly in the Big XII you're not going to compete regularly in the S.E.C. either.
Since the inception of the Big XII the Aggies are 2-9 in bowl games with four of those losses coming at the hands of S.E.C. schools. Their two bowl wins came in the Galleryfurnature.com Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl. You tell me, does that sound more like Alabama, Georgia or Mississippi State to you?
With the departure of A&M and Missouri and the addition of TCU and West Virginia the Big XII football resume moves from a conference of four teams having won a BCS bowl game to a conference with six BCS bowl winners. The West Virginia Mountaineers are fresh off a 70-33 pasting of Clemson in the Orange Bowl at the close of last season. Before that they had scored wins over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. TCU is 1-1 in BCS bowls with their most recent trip being a 21-19 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl at the close of the 2010 season. The Frogs also have nine Top 25 finishes, three Top 10 finishes and one Top 5 finish since 2000. Compare that to Texas A&M who has just four Top 25 finishes, with no Top 10 or Top 5 finishes, since 1996.
The Aggies are leaving for perceived greener pastures but their departure gives the Big XII a major step up in the field of competition which will ultimately lead to more opportunity and national recognition for conference schools. Hate to say it this way but A&M's departure leaves the Big XII a much better place.