Two days ago, the easy answer to the question, “Will Texas A&M leave the Big 12 for the SEC,” was “Definitely.”
But now? Don’t be fooled. That’s still the answer. It’s just a matter of how and when.
A&M’s board of regents met Monday to discuss conference realignment, and, when the doors to the meeting room flew open, we learned very few details and heard only ambiguous answers from A&M president R. Bowen Loftin.
To me, there were a couple of telling responses in the president’s address.
Loftin cautioned that, either way, this would be a long, drawn-out process and asked for patience from the Aggie nation. Translation: We’re working our butts off to make this happen so bear with us.
Loftin said that, if A&M were to leave, they would love to continue to play Texas in football on an annual basis. Translation: We’re gone, but we’d like you to know we still care.
And, finally, in the event that the Aggies are no longer in the Big 12, Loftin said the conference would have no problem finding a suitable replacement. Translation: Better get started.
Loftin’s postgame speech was a masterful job of a man saying so much while saying nothing at all. It’s clear where the Aggies stand, and it has been from the minute news of their courtship with the SEC surfaced. Whether it’s one man driving the ship, such as Texas governor and A&M graduate Rick Perry, or an entire department, all that matters is that enough Aggies are ready to uproot.
But that’s only half of the equation. And, for folks around here, it’s the unimportant half. The question now shifts to what will become of the Big 12? Curiously, Loftin addressed that, too, though I hesitate to waste more space on those thoughts. The abridged version? “We’re also very concerned about the members of the Big 12. We don’t want the Big 12 to go away. We have no intention of doing anything that might precipitate that.”
Thanks. Good night. And good luck.
What’s missing in all of this is a dose of reality. If the Aggies want to leave, no one’s stopping them. Not the Longhorns, not the Texas Legislature, which actually postponed a meeting set for today because it deemed the threat to be over, and not the Big 12.
That’s reality. And now it’s time for everyone to move on. Insider reports from Texas indicate that the Aggies will announce their departure in the next 20 days. So let ’em.
While they’re doing that, the Big 12 can and will begin preparations for its next move, one that should include throwing everything at Notre Dame and adjusting accordingly from there.
A&M believes it’s the one making the bold move right now, but how will the Aggies feel if they see Notre Dame’s golden domes in their rearview mirror?
Talk about a power play.