In August 2011, Aggies everywhere celebrated the official announcement that Texas A&M would join the SEC in 2012. Many in the media and other fan bases were quick to assume the role of wet blanket. Specifically, there were questions about Texas A&M's national relevance as members of a more difficult conference:
"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." - Pete Thamel, The New York Times, August 13, 2011
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
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
I know where I'm getting my comedy this season, and it's a lot closer to home for Gottlieb and Ketchum than A&M.
These are just a few examples out of many, many more. My favorite quote comes from University of Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds who famously said the SEC had a presence in just a "sliver of the East side" of Texas.
Fast forward two years, one Heisman trophy, a Top 5 finish, and a massive stadium renovation plan later. Yesterday's showdown between Alabama and Texas A&M at Kyle Field drew higher ratings than any regular season college football game since 2006.
The TV rating for #BAMAvsTAMU (9.0/21) is CBS's highest-rated afternoon regular-season CFB game in 23 years since 1990 Miami-ND.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) September 15, 2013
ESPN's College Gameday broadcast from Texas A&M's campus for the second time since the Aggies joined the SEC last year. The national buzz surrounding Aggie Athletics is unprecedented and shows no signs of slowing down. Even in defeat, much of the media attention on yesterday's loss has been focused on Johnny Manziel's transcendent performance. And the money keeps rolling in from every side:
As Texas A&M's Senior Associate Athletic Director Jason Cook told us this summer, "Everybody talks about it being a perfect storm, but gosh this storm is having a pretty long life expectancy right now." The Aggies lost to a better team right now in Alabama, but there are a lot of wins ahead for this team on the schedule. This year can turn into something pretty special, even with lingering concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
I just hope someone sent Deloss Dodds a copy of the recruit visitor list for the Alabama game.