FLASHBACK/UPDATE 7.16.13: as we head into SEC Media Days interviews on Wednesday, let's remember what we were hearing last year, along with that wonderful last video.
To begin, I'll go ahead and save you the trouble of making the following arguments:
"The SEC is down!"
"The Big XII is the deepest conference in the nation, hands down."
"Jealous Aggies can't let go."
None of this is true. The SEC has 5 of the top 8 schools for the first time in BCS history, and we’ve let go like Macaulay Culkin's mom in "The Good Son." See, it's not hard to join the best conference in the land when you're invited, but that wasn't the discussion around August of 2011. No, it wasn't "Holy crap, the Aggies got an invite they should jump on!" It wasn't even "I think Texas A&M might struggle in their new league, but it's a great opportunity for them." It was more...well, I'll show you.
Pat Forde, ESPN, August 13, 2011
Article: Realignment Rumors Again Rampant
"Texas A&M has less chance of achieving kingpin status in the SEC than in the Big 12. That's not even debatable."
Oh, I'm sorry. I thought most sports points were debatable. I'll go ahead and counter with this point right here: Huge. Product. Differentiation. The Black helmets and the logo that adorned them last week in Starkville weren't just cute, they were strategic. See the state outline on that helmet? Same one on the football pants every week. That says, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Hey Texas football player, do you want to play in the SEC? Oh, well you can do that in Texas by going to this school right here. Or, you know, you could play in Waco, Ames and Lubbock every year. It's your call, really." See, here, we're a completely different offering (we already were, but now it's more obvious). In the Big 12, we were another Texas school. This whole "National Stage" aspect of the SEC isn't BS, sir. It's real. Check the recruiting results. Oh, that's just year one. Notice how I haven't addressed our record yet.
Pete Thamel, The New York Times, August 13, 2011
"But as they walk the plank to be devoured in the SEC — hello, Louisiana State, Alabama and Auburn — at least Texas A&M’s leaders can revel in having the college sports world breathlessly follow them for a few days in August."
And all of 2012 so far. If you're going to do a write up, have some impartiality. Here you sound like a bitter, bitter man. There's a line in there about A&M sprinting "out of the Big 12 like a kindergartner whose lunch money was taken." Yeah, that's exactly what happened. It wasn't "A&M sprinting to the loving rich uncle they never knew they had after bouncing around the foster care system for a century." That would even be too slanted in A&M's favor. What about "A&M is leaving a conference that they feel is dysfunctional and headed for disbandment since several teams were in talks with the PAC 12."
People in this world view news in little, easy to digest snippets and forget the entire picture. A&M wanted to be in the SEC a few times, and not just starting in 2010. We...belong there. It's a culture thing. See, when culture matches, results follow. Sure, we didn't do as well in the Big 12 as we would have liked. But only OU and Texas really did. Now, we're making a little noise. Let's not get out of hand here, nobody is saying we're going to roll Bama this week (I mean, I might do that on Wednesday, but who knows) but the point is we've held our own. We're in a position to give the Number 1 team in the nation and defending National Champions a run for their money on Saturday...and K-State is number 1 in the Big 12. Did you see that one coming? No, but the thing is, we're not afraid.
Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com, August 14, 2011
"It would be an awful move. There. Better. That wasn't negative -- that was honest"
OH! YOU'RE BEING HONEST! That's the best, it's like leading a sentence with "no offense" because you KNOW the words to follow are going to be the most offensive things you've ever heard in your life. Something like "No offense, but you're seriously the ugliest person I've ever met and I'll be shocked if you ever get laid." Well I'm clearly not offended thanks to your force field of a leading statement there. Carry on, good sir. Tell me more about my abhorrent physical presentation whilst I casually sip this beverage and load my gun.
How's that move look now? Awful? Oh, you meant awfully smart. No offense taken.
Richie Whitt, Dallas Observer, August 18, 2011
"The Aggies can't beat 'em, so they've decided to leave 'em."
I remember reading this and RaGE-ing. Clearly Mr. Whitt has a bone to pick with A&M, you can tell by the venom in the article. He's right, we went to the toughest conference in college football because we were tired of losing to the Longhorns. He's cracked the case. Mr. Whitt even peppered the article with Aggie jokes! THE HILARITY! Here's one for you: The Aggies join the SEC and in their first season are ranked higher than Texas. Get it?
When one writes with as much venom as Mr. Whitt has here, it's usually out of fear. When you're scared of something working for an opponent, the first thing to do is rally the masses against this idea and tell everyone how stupid the opponent is for attempting such a maneuver. The thing is, I think everyone knew the upside to this decision and was afraid of the ramifications. Texas A&M in the SEC? How preposterous! This clearly can't work because no team ever improves.
Stewart Mandel, SI.com, August 12, 2011
"It hardly seems worth diluting the best on-field product in college football today for a few extra millions, which is exactly what the SEC would be doing in welcoming A&M..."
Yeah, they totally should have upgraded with West Virginia and TCU.
Tweets are the best. These little 140-character snippets in time represent the most poorly thought out crap that any human can spew, and that's just Twitter in general (follow me: @thacktor). Now THESE specific reactionary tweets are reading like Chicken Soup for the Aggie's Soul. I'm aware that most of them are just smack talking, but now it's our turn. We've not won anything yet, that's clear. What we have won, however, is a little respect. I believe you gentlemen ordered the Crow:
Over/under on A&M wins this season: 6? I'll give them LT, SCST, Ole Miss & Sam Houston. Can they beat SMU on the road? MU is a coin-flip.— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) June 26, 2012
Um...the over? Yeah, I'll take the over.
I've met Chris a few times, hell of a nice guy. Terrible prediction.
I think Missouri and Texas A&M should start their own conference. Call it the Cart Before Horse League? Egg On Face Conference?— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 14, 2011
You can see Dan at the Chuckle Shack on Wednesdays at the open mic. He usually goes on 23rd. High comedy.
Texas A&M received 28 votes/points in the coaches poll. Please help me understand why.— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) August 2, 2012
We've helped you understand, Mark. You get it now?
God, I love A&M. Maybe them being in the SEC really is the best thing possible, at least from a pure, raw comedy scale.— Geoff Ketchum (@gkketch) September 4, 2012
A note on comedy: sometimes it backfires (like this article might). I'm so sorry about all the "horns down" hand signals getting to Texas, Geoff. I know a good therapist.
Texas A&M and Mizzou will be celebrated today,unfortunately they left a league w/history n an ability to consistently compete behind— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 8, 2012
What the...hell? I'm sorry, what 15 year-old girl got a hold of Doug's twitter?
@pseudoadult A&M is going to be epically bad, it will be enjoyable.— Justin Haynes (@JustinTHaynes) August 7, 2012
You're right, I'm enjoying the hell out of it, Justin. Nice picks, btw!
The Big 12 Is Better Without Missouri and Texas A&M - jugofsnyder.com/2012/06/28/the…— Trey Fallon (@TreyFallon) June 29, 2012
It is, though. Really. If we say it enough it's true.
Texas A&M has had no consistent leadership since Robert Gates left in 2006 to become Secretary of Defense. A&M regents disliked AD Byrne.— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) May 8, 2012
Sick burn, brah. Dr. Gates was awesome, I agree. Byrne was solid, too. Aggies have learned that change is good, embrace it.
@bluetex1 Smart Aggies would sign up for a 5-7 2012 year right now.They'll be lucky to win 4.— Recruitocosm (@Recruitocosm) January 29, 2012
Damn, we're so super lucky this year. There's no other explanation. Can't be talent and coaching.
RT @dufresnelatimes: A&M paying $20 mill for opp to join SEC is like paying bouncer $100 at the door and asking him to punch your lights out— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) August 30, 2011
Hello, Mr. Bouncer? Yes, here is $100, I'd really like it if you'd just knock me the hell out. Thanks.
I have no doubt that A&M fans are talking about going to the SEC. Get back to me when the SEC is talking to A&M about coming there.— Jerome Solomon (@JeromeSolomon) August 10, 2011
So, should we get back to you?
Got no dog in the fight, but I really hope the SECede movement blows up in A&M's face. 2 good reasons why (cont.) ....— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 14, 2011
1) I like watching Big 12 football, especially the South rivalries. 2) Humiliated Aggies are hilarious.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 14, 2011
I have a dog in the fight, so I'll opine a bit here on the last one. Yes, the rivalries are fun. Aggies are good at one thing, clinging to the past. If we make a huge change, something is wrong. Something was very wrong in the Big XII. You can call it whatever you want, but we left for a reason. That reason was that we could do much better on the national stage playing the premier football schools in the country every week. So, I'm sorry to disappoint you; but even if we lose on Saturday, we won't be humiliated. Sorry, Mark May.
Big shout out to @stlouis0 and everyone else who helped us track down these tweets.