Couldn’t help but laugh at this threat levied Thursday by Texas: Hey Texas A&M, if you leave the SEC, our Thanksgiving rivalry is over, and we’ll schedule Notre Dame.
Texas A&M is leaving, that’s for sure. The Aggies will probably agree to join the SEC next month, and it’ll be effective the following season. Then the SEC will scramble for a 14th team (Virginia Tech?) and then the Pac-12 and Big Ten (really 12) will decide if both of them want to go to 14 teams (guess: yes). But this little stunt by Texas won’t matter to the Aggies – it’ll just make the Longhorns look petty and insecure. That’s the result of most ultimatums.
The bigger winner? College football fans. Notre Dame and Texas are only two of the most storied programs in the history of the sport. Michigan has the most wins in college football history, Notre Dame is second, and Texas is 3rd (USC is 10th). Sure, the Longhorns were down for about 15 years (1985-2000) and the Irish have had a rough decade. But the NBC ratings for this game would be astronomical. They could cram 100k into the Jerry Dome, easily. How likely is a Notre Dame-Texas series? Well Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and Texas AD DeLoss Dodds got chummy last summer during the realignment madness, and one would assume Dodds asked Swarbrick about life as an independent. Because that’s where Texas is headed once the Big 12 crumbles. If you want to look further down the road, here are the future schedules of the Irish.
Second biggest winner? Notre Dame. The Irish would love to make a dent in college football’s 2nd most fertile recruiting ground (Florida is tops). They played a game in Texas in 2009, have one schedule for 2013 (vs. Arizona St.). There are only four players from Texas on the current Irish roster. The third-place victor would have to be the Longhorn Network, right? The Network is a laughingstock now, but 3-4 years down the road, it’ll be a big deal. And probably televising a game in this series every other year or something.
The loser might be … Texas A&M?
Texas A&M can talk all it wants about getting a bigger paycheck from the SEC and the benefits of breaking free from Texas, but the fleeting satisfaction of striking out on their own will pale in comparison to the enjoyment of having a 100-year-old rival to hate.
Will the Aggies – in the last decade, five winning seasons, four losing seasons, one .500 season – be able to survive in the SEC? If they struggle, there’s always the Scrooge McDuck pile of loot to cushion the blow.