The speculation of the late summer has finally ended, Texas A&M has notified the Big 12 it will be leaving the conference in June:
“After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University’s athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference,” President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated August 31, 2011.
So what is this mystery conference that will be aTm’s ultimate destination?! Well, of course the flirtation all along has been with the SEC and that is where the Aggies are expected to land. Like an honorable southern gentleman, it’s been reported that the SEC advised aTm to “get divorced” before they came a’callin’ on the SEC’s doorstep.
While today’s news is nothing more than a formalization of what was expected to happen all along, it moves us one step farther down the line towards conference realign-mageddon. Where is the SEC going to look for #14 and beyond? The latest scuttlebutt has Missouri, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and North Carolina as logical targets for the SEC to go after. However, I think what we all learned with ACC expansion is that what may seem logical to some makes almost no sense at all (BC, anyone?).
Hokies AD Jim Weaver had originally said that if the SEC expressed interest, VT would politely decline, but now there are rumblings that may not be the case after all. The VT fanbase seems to be quite split on the issue, with many of the younger generation of fans wondering why VT hasn’t made aTm like overtures at the SEC already… while the older generation, who are aware of the depths from which VT football has climbed, wants nothing more than to remain where they are (provided the ACC is stable and healthy.)
Forget VT for a moment, what about Maryland? What about UNC?! Would those founding members bolt the ACC if the SEC came calling? How would any of the ACC schools leaving for the SEC affect the positions of the ones who were left behind? Does VT become aggressive about leaving if Maryland, UNC, or FSU take off first? How does the Miami situation affect the stability and health of the ACC?
Wow, so many questions with so many possible fascinating answers.
All we know for now is to hold on tight, because Texas A&M has put us all ON NOTICE!
UPDATE: Veteran Daily Press sportswriter David Teel just tweeted:
POPPYCOCK!? Yes, POPPYCOCK!!