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A&M has been in contact with the SEC for months, despite the longstanding assumption that the Texas...

A&M has been in contact with the SEC for months, despite the longstanding assumption that the Texas schools would hang together behind the wildly profitable Longhorn juggernaut. But former Aggie player/coach Gene Stallings, now an A&M regent, has taken control of the push for the SEC, where he won a national championship as Alabama's head coach in 1992. Stepping out of the back channels of Texas politics, Stallings didn't hesitate to distance A&M from the Longhorns on Alabama radio: "I think A&M is now big enough to stand on its own. We don’t need to piggyback on Texas." Truly spoken like a man with only a few months left in his term. If A&M opts out of the Pac-10 exodus, their crucial position as the 16th team could fall to Kansas or Utah; given the political ramifications and the cold shoulder in scheduling by everyone A&M has ever considered any kind of rival, the odds remain on the Aggies' following the original route to the West Coast – especially if the SEC invite is tied to their ability to deliver Texas, as well, which appears to be a complete nonstarter.

Dr. Saturday makes his case for why the Aggies will go with the flow and follow the Longhorns into the Pac-10. Matt Hinton may well be right, but, the longer this goes on, the better I like the SEC's chances. Even if you take seriously Texas's alleged threat never to schedule the Aggies again in any sport unless they remain conference mates (which I'm not at all sure I do), and even if you assume Lone Star State politicos with a long history of involving themselves in athletics decisions wouldn't compel Texas and Texas A&M to continue their rivalry on the field (which I'm quite sure I don't), the Aggies have longstanding rivals in the SEC (Arkansas and LSU) . . . and it isn't as though programs haven't sacrificed rivalries on the altar of conference expansion before. Pitt's entry into the Big East and Penn State's entry into the Big Ten all but killed that once-yearly rivalry. The expansion of the ACC and the SEC in 1992 made Georgia's battles with Clemson much more infrequent affairs. Earlier today, Nebraska essentially tossed the last handful of dirt onto the grave in which the Cornhuskers' rivalry with Oklahoma is interred. I'm not at all sure I believe the Aggies' entry into the SEC would sound the death knell of their rivalry with the Longhorns, but, quite frankly, more storied rivalries than that one have ended when leagues grew. It might be sad, but, to Texas, this is (to quote a line from the end of "The Godfather") just business. The 'Horns clearly want to call the shots, not just for themselves, but for everyone even remotely in their orbit. Let 'em do it. Maybe it's high time Texas A&M left Texas like Michael Corleone at the end of "The Godfather, Part II," on top of the world and increasingly cut off from everyone who got him there. Gene Stallings sold his alma mater short. The Aggies can't just stand, they can walk. I'm increasingly convinced that their movement will be east, not west. Cue the Jessica Simpson remake of the Nancy Sinatra classic. Go 'Dawgs!
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