July 1 marks exactly 10 years since Texas A&M, along with the Missouri Tigers, became a member of the Southeastern Conference. Combined with the departures of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big 12 years earlier, and Texas’ dalliances with the Pac 12, rapid conference realignment felt imminent. In the end, it may have taken a bit longer than some thought, but the happenings of the past year (and the past day) show that we are still in the middle of a massive shift in college athletics that began more than a decade ago.
Colleges that have joined/changed Power 5 conferences (or plan to) since Texas A&M joined the SEC:
- TCU: Mountain West > Big 12 (2012)
- West Virginia: Big East > Big 12 (2012)
- Pitt: Big East > ACC (2013)
- Louisville: AAC > ACC (2014)
- Maryland: ACC > Big Ten (2014)
- Rutgers: AAC > Big Ten (2014)
- BYU: Independent > Big 12 (2023)
- Cincinnati: AAC > Big 12 (2023)
- Houston: AAC > Big 12 (2023)
- UCF: AAC > Big 12 (2023)
- UCLA: Pac 12 > Big Ten (2024)
- USC: Pac 12 > Big Ten (2024)
- Oklahoma: Big 12 > SEC (2025)
- Texas: Big 12 > SEC (2025)
Just as it seemed a decade ago, conference realignment feels far from done. Will the Big 12 pick the bones off the Pac 12? Will the two conferences merge? Who can the ACC add (and does their Grand of Rights prevent them from doing so)? Will we soon see a consolidation into two megaconferences? Only time (and ESPN execs) will tell.
But things look a lot different today from an A&M perspective as well. A program that saw only five winnings seasons in the final decade in the Big 12 has had a winning record every year in the SEC. And as much as people mock A&M for continually having eight wins, that was a mark they achieved only twice in their final 10 season in the Big 12. They’ve met or surpassed eight wins in every season but one (which got Kevin Sumlin fired) since joining the SEC.
But the on-the-field product, as imperfect as it has been, is far from the only change. A&M saw a major facilities overhaul that included a renovated locker room and expanded training facilities (and is about to get another one, including a new indoor practice facility). We saw an almost complete rebuild of Kyle Field, to the tune of almost half a billion dollars, expanding capacity by almost 20,000 seats and adding tons of club/luxury suite space (with even more on the way next offseason).
From a recruiting perspective, the Aggies have had six top 10 recruiting classes since joining the SEC (including each of the last four years). They accomplished that only twice (2003, 2005) in their last 10 years in the Big 12, including four years outside the top 20 and two outside the top 30.
Suffice to say, a lot has changed in the past ten years. And, for both Texas A&M and college football as a whole, more change is likely on the way.