Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012 so it could enhance its brand and distinguish itself from rival Texas. The move helped the Aggies become the only Texas-based school in the SEC.
Many wondered whether Texas A&M would support the SEC’s expansion to include rival Texas, and they will.
The Texas A&M Board of Regents met on Wednesday. They nearly voted unanimously in favor of having school president vote in support of SEC expansion.
Three-quarters of the SEC’s 14 schools need to vote in favor of expansion in order for Texas and Oklahoma to be added to the conference. The Aggies were expected to be the largest potential hurdle. If they are in favor of the move, not much should be expected to stand in the way of the conference’s expansion.
The remaining issue will be sorting out matters with the Big 12, which is the conference Texas and Oklahoma are ditching. The Big 12 is threatening legal action. The most likely scenario will involve payouts to the Big 12’s remaining schools.
A major conference shakeup could be coming in college sports, but Texas A&M may be trying to stand in the way of it happening.
The Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman reported on Wednesday that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining their conference. Zwerneman went as far as to say an announcement about the two schools moving to the SEC could come within the next few weeks. Now, some are wondering if Texas A&M may have planted the story.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports laid out some of the reasons Texas A&M would be motivated to pull back the curtain on talks of Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC. At the moment, Texas A&M is the only team from Texas in the country’s strongest football conference. They probably don’t want the Longhorns joining them. The logic is that Texas A&M may have leaked the story so that political forces and fans could push back against the conference shakeup and potentially scuttle it.
As Thamel notes, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork was one of the few SEC ADs who attended SEC Media Days this week. Thamel wonders if that was a “convenient way to shine a spotlight on Texas’ reported conversations.”
Texas A&M currently has a monopoly on recruits who want to play football in both Texas and the SEC. That would change if the University of Texas joins the conference.
This is not the first time there has been talk of Texas and/or Oklahoma changing conferences. If the SEC added Texas and Oklahoma, they would go from 14 schools to 16 and would add to the strongest athletic conference in the country. That would, in theory, make it even tougher for Texas A&M to break through and contend. You can certainly see why the Aggies would be opposed to the idea.
Alabama is widely viewed as the premier college football program in the country, which makes sense considering they have won six championships since 2009. But what they do not have, according to one former Crimson Tide star, are the best facilities.
Marlon Humphrey, a two-time Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens who played at Alabama, sent a tweet this week that may have surprised some Tide fans. The star cornerback said Texas A&M has the best facilities and campus he has ever seen.
Humphrey specifically said he would not consider choosing Texas A&M if he could go back in time. He was obviously just making an observation, not necessarily comparing the Aggies’ facilities to Alabama’s.
Still, you know how SEC fans can be. Many of them took Humphrey’s tweet personally, but they should try to remember the way he trolled Bama’s biggest rival not that long ago. Humphrey’s praise of Texas A&M doesn’t exactly make him a traitor.
Johnny Manziel may have blown his opportunity to make an impact in the NFL, but the former quarterback is still a legend at Texas A&M. He’ll soon have another chance to sling footballs around the field where he became a household name.
Manziel is going to take part in Texas A&M’s spring football game on April 24, according to Hannah Underwood of the Dallas Morning News.
The game will feature former Aggies players on two teams — Team Pickard and Team Crow. Other notable players include former Texas A&M defensive back back Domingo Brooks, center wide receiver Jeff Fuller Jr. and running back Christine Michael.
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M and was one of the most popular players in college football history. However, he cared more about partying and fame than he did about winning, which is something he openly admits now. Manziel actually recently revealed that the biggest regret of his career is how he acted at Texas A&M, not in the NFL.
Despite all that, we’re sure Aggies fans will give Johnny Football a warm welcome.
Texas A&M did not make the College Football Playoff despite having just one loss and winning seven straight to close out the season. As you might expect, Aggies players are not happy.
After the College Football Playoff field was announced as Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond and other members of the Aggies program sounded off on Twitter. Mond initially called the committee’s decision a “JOKE” before stating his case more in detail.
Mond also retweeted several tweets from people who agree that Texas A&M got snubbed. One of the tweets read, “Who knew that Trevor Lawrence getting CoVid was going to ultimately keep A&M out of the playoff. Insane.” That, of course, is a reference to Notre Dame beating Clemson earlier in the season when Lawrence was out.
Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko also expressed his frustration.
“I may never watch an ESPN analyst talk again for the rest of my life…,” he tweeted.
Notre Dame and Texas A&M both had one loss. The Fighting Irish were blown out by Clemson on Saturday, but you can’t ignore the fact that they were 10-1 with the only loss coming against the No. 2 team in the country.
The College Football Playoff Committee chair explained why Notre Dame got in over Texas A&M on Sunday.
Campaigning for College Football Playoff spots is in full swing, and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is loudly making his case to the committee.
Fisher said after Saturday’s win over Tennessee that it would be “wrong” for the one-loss Aggies to be excluded from the playoff with an 8-1 record, all in the SEC. The lone loss came against Alabama, a near-certain playoff entrant.
“We play in the best league in ball,” Fisher told ESPN, via Hannah Underwood of the Dallas Morning News. “If we can’t play in this league and be in the playoffs, something’s wrong.
“I haven’t lobbied, I haven’t said a word. But you’re 8-1 in the SEC. We lost to the No. 1 team in the country. I want to see somebody else go 8-1 in this league. We can play with anybody, we do deserve it. We deserve to be in it. That’s up to the committee, that’s their thing, but I believe that firmly. I’ve watched the games, I’ve seen everybody. We can play with anybody.”
While Fisher may be right that A&M can play with anybody, the situation may not be in his favor. Alabama will make the field, and it’s hard to see how Clemson or Notre Dame are excluded. That means the Aggies would have to jump unbeaten Ohio State, who won the Big Ten Championship earlier Saturday.
Still, Fisher’s best shot is probably going after Ohio State’s credentials. That’s what one of his colleagues has been doing.
Johnny Manziel slammed a college football writer over Twitter Sunday in defense of his alma mater.
Manziel’s Texas A&M Aggies are 7-1 and have a game against Tennessee next week. The Aggies are in a tough spot when it comes to the College Football Playoff. They are ranked No. 5 and want to be included in the playoff.
Manziel, who played at A&M from 2012-2013, made the case that A&M should be included. He smashed a writer who questioned whether A&M deserved a spot or USC in the case that Notre Dame beats Clemson again.
“For a person that writes about college football you obviously don’t know s—,” Manziel wrote, edited for profanity.
“Notre Dame beats Clemson, A&M is in along with Ohio State. You can’t trash an A&M team that’s beaten Florida and lost one game to the best team in America. Know less…” he told the writer.
People are going back-and-forth this week about whether teams that have only played half a season deserve to make a playoff. Ohio State drew the ire of Dabo Swinney for only being a 5-0 team and in the playoff discussion. In the Pac-12, USC is 5-0 and in a similar spot.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen was frustrated with the fan situation during his Gators’ 41-38 loss at Texas A&M on Saturday.
Each state has different regulations regarding fan gatherings at sports events. In Texas, there is supposed to be a 50 percent capacity limit.
It looked like the Aggies had close to 50 percent capacity, though their announced attendance was 24,709. Kyle Field holds 102,733, so the stadium was at 25 percent capacity if the attendance numbers were accurate.
Mullen was described as feeling frustrated about the situation.
The third-year Gators coach wants Florida to be able to do the same thing at their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
“Absolutely I want to see 90,000 in The Swamp next week…The entire student section, it must have been 50,000 going crazy behind our bench today,” Mullen said via the Gainesville Sun’s Graham Hall.
The Miami Dolphins were given clearance to have a full capacity of fans at their home games. Receiving clearance and actually being able to fill a stadium with fans are two different things though. A&M was able to pack the stadium. There are no guarantees Florida would be able to do so, especially if they continue to have high ticket prices.
Texas and Texas A&M used to have one of the best rivalries in college football, but the two teams have not squared off in nearly a decade since the Aggies moved to the SEC. Many fans want to see the rivalry renewed, but Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte seems like he is just fine without it.
Del Conte was asked about renewing rivalries with Texas A&M and Arkansas during a virtual chat with Horns247 on Tuesday, and the juicy part of his response seemed like a clear shot at the Aggies.
Texas A&M has not won a national championship since 1939, while Texas last won one in 2005. Many interpreted Del Conte’s remark as him hinting that the Longhorns have no interest in renewing a rivalry with an irrelevant program, but the AD then said he believes “the game should be played.”
It’s hard to view the initial remark as anything other than a swipe at Texas A&M, so perhaps Del Conte quickly realized how it would be received. Texas administrators are probably much more concerned about their biggest rival than they are about facing Texas A&M again.
The Texas A&M Aggies will be underdogs when they head to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers Saturday, but one of their players sees an upset coming.
Offensive lineman Jared Hocker confidently predicted Monday that the Aggies will knock off top-ranked Clemson in their pivotal early-season battle.
It’s certainly a bold prediction. There’s some reason to believe it’s not completely silly to think, too. The Aggies are ranked 12th in the nation, and they only lost by two to Clemson last season. That said, that game was at home for Texas A&M, and they won’t have that luxury Saturday.
There’s another key difference from last year’s game that the Aggies will have to cope with. At that time, Clemson still used Kelly Bryant as their starting quarterback. He was being pushed by freshman Trevor Lawrence, who took over not long after and the rest is history. Lawrence will provide a new dimension Texas A&M hasn’t seen before.