Thursday, September 1, 2011

The End of Tradition

There is no joy in the Big 12 tonight. Today, Texas A&M announced that the Aggies WILL be moving to the SEC in 2012. That announcement brought an end to 117 years of tradition. It is highly doubtful that the Aggies will be keeping their annual Thanksgiving meeting with the Texas Longhorns.

I know, you're all sitting there thinking, "Why do you care, beagle? Aren't you a Texas Tech fan?" Yes, I do follow Texas Tech football, but this is something that all football fans should care about. The college football arena has lost one of its traditional marquee games- those games that you watch even if you don't have anything riding on the outcome: Texas-OU; Ohio State-Michigan; Army-Navy; Grambling State- Southern. Those games are as much about the tradition as they are about football.

Sure, the Big 12 will fill the void left by A&M's departure, but the pageantry and spectacle that surrounds the Aggies coming to town will be forever lost. Who can forget the Friday after Thanksgiving 1999 when the Longhorn band stood on the floor of Kyle Field in College Station and paid tribute to the Aggie students who were killed when the bonfire collapsed? There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It still brings tears today:

College football will go on, but it has lost something that cannot be replaced.

We'll miss you, Miss Reveille. Thanks for the memories.


  1. Whenever the argument about whether to have a playoff system versus the bowl system for post season division I college football comes up usually the first thing out of the mouths of the bowl system defenders is "But what about tradition?"... I'm afraid we're all going to see just how important tradition is when it comes up against the bottom line.

    Looking at what's happening in the Big 12 in particular, I think the University of Texas is the real problem that's pushing other schools away from the conference. You know Missouri wants out too and can Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State be far behind? That will effectively wipe out what used to be the North Division of the Big 12. Sound far fetched? Look, if the SEC follows through and raids the ACC to make up a super, 16 team conference, then you can count on the Big 10 following right along. Where will four new teams come from for that to happen? Then the Pac 12 will get into the act (you know there have already been overtures toward Texas on that stage...)

    You're much closer to the behind the scenes politics there in Texas / Oklahoma, but the way I see it Texas is acting more like an independent rather than as a member of the Big 12 Conference with their need for control and now with their own television deal. Heck, they're already the richest school in Texas but they want more?

    Any new members of the Big 12 better have their eyes wide open walking into that can of worms...

  2. Dwindy- I think Texas would be better off as an indepentent. They have the clout to pull it off, but with so many top schools having their schedules filled with conference games, the Longhorns might have trouble finding games that get them a good BCS ranking.

    A&M is doing this to get back at UT. The A&M/UT game generates as much money as the Texas/OU game, but there is also the huge economic benefit to the city of Austin(if you didn't make your hotel reservations the last time the game was in town, you're out of luck).

    Personally, I don't think schools within a conference should be allowed to make their own television deals. It hurts everyone else in that conference, especially the smaller schools. Unfortunately, if the Big 12 were to tell the Longhorns you can't have your own network, the lawsuits would start flying.

    Hopefully, A&M's SEC schedule will allow the game with UT to continue, but all the other coaches in the Big 12 are saying don't hold your breath.

  3. South Carolina and Clemson have been playing Thanksgiving week for 100 years.... joining the SEC, or ACC, had no affect on the biggest rivalry in the Palmetto State. I suspect A&M and Texas will continue as long as they want to. Also, state legislators have been known to get involved with scheduling for state schools.

  4. Hanny-

    Normally, I'd agree with you about state legislators. Unfortunately, the Aggie in Chief is currently preoccupied with trying to evict Barry O from the White House.