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Monday, June 8, 2009
Why has Texas A&M fallen behind Texas, Oklahoma, LSU?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Houston Chronicle columnist John P. Lopez left the newspaper business a couple of years ago to become a full-time radio talk-show host.

The airwaves' gain contributed to the loss for readers everywhere, however. No longer did we get the chance to peruse Lopez's well-reasoned thoughts on all sports topics and especially college football.

That's why it's such good news that he's back writing again and will be a regular contributor to Texags.com. And his first work this weekend was an outstanding take about why Texas A&M has fallen behind natural rivals Texas, LSU and Oklahoma in what Lopez calls the "Aggie Bermuda Triangle."

All of those schools have supplanted the Aggies as the dominant teams in that area in recent years.

Lopez blames lessened academic requirements as the major reason the Aggies have dropped in recent years.

The Sooners, Tigers and Longhorns all passed the Aggies because they all had one thing in common:

Easy majors.

Whether 'communications,' 'education' or any name they wanted to slap on those majors, athletes could enroll more easily, take general studies-type courses and an abundance of easy electives.

Since a major could be declared, degree plans also could be groomed with easier courses and heavy electives, all the way through a player's junior years.

Most important, they could stay eligible.

Lopez also writes that he favors the repeal of the "10 percent rule" that requires most admissions to a school like A&M or Texas to graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class.  

The more top 10-percent students get admitted automatically, the less room [there] is for special admissions. And let's just be honest here: That means fewer top-tier athletes admitted.

It's obvious that Lopez has thought hard about what can be done to turn around the athletic program at his old school. He provides a couple of suggestions.

Whether school president Elsa Murano would champion these causes is debatable. She seems to have enough problems of her own right now

But it's interesting to hear some steps that some Aggies believe would help return the team to relevance in the Big 12 South.

Because in recent years, they are sliding in the other direction very quickly.