Commentary

Ego, envy will get Texas A&M nowhere

SEC will come calling eventually, but Aggies must get over Longhorns' success first

Updated: August 15, 2011, 2:55 PM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

Much of Texas A&M's desire to join the Southeastern Conference is focused on money, just like everything else these days.

But don't let the Aggies tell you it's not also about envy and ego.

In the eyes of most Aggies, moving to the SEC means they'll no longer have to operate in Texas' vast shadow.

Whatever.

[+] EnlargeBill Bynre
AP Photo/Paul ZoellerNeither football coach Mike Sherman (above), athletic director Bill Byrne nor the passionate A&M fan base are ready to admit that they envy Texas' football success.
Moving to the SEC won't rid A&M of its inferiority complex any more than bouncing from church to church will rid unhappy parishioners searching for spiritual joy of theirs.

Any substantive change always begins with introspection. Until the Aggies acknowledge they're envious of Texas' football success and experience their own on a long-term basis, A&M will always be stuck in UT's shadow.

University president R. Bowen Loftin would disagree, as would athletic director Bill Byrne. So will A&M alums, and that's OK.

We can say a lot of things about the Aggies, but questioning their passion and devotion to anything maroon and white isn't one of them.

Their brotherhood is admirable; their incessant whining is not.

It will be surpassed only by their embarrassment, if the SEC decides they're not worth the trouble or potential litigation. On Sunday, the SEC released a statement that said it's happy with 12 teams for now.

That would qualify as yet another body blow to A&M's massive ego if it weren't able to join the SEC, though it'll eventually happen one way or the other. Frankly, the Aggies should've left last year but their jealousy wasn't all-consuming the way it is now.

Credit ESPN's The Longhorn Network for A&M's most recent perceived slight.

It's the only thing that's really changed since A&M pledged its love to the Big 12, after Nebraska and Colorado defected. The Longhorn Network has thrust even more money into Texas' athletic department.

The money is important because Texas is the Warren Buffett of athletic departments. UT's football department reportedly made nearly $70 million in profits; A&M's entire athletic budget last year was reportedly $66.8 million.

Is that Texas' fault?

If the TLN is successful, then it's only a matter of time before other football powerhouses get networks.

What happens then?

Do the Aggies bolt for another conference because LSU or Alabama or Florida get a network?

A&M has had every opportunity over the past 50 years to emerge from Texas' shadow, and failed. It's never going to happen until it becomes one of college football's big boys.

Sure, the Aggies can compete with the SEC's best in men's and women's basketball, golf, track and other sports, but the respect the Aggies crave comes only from consistently being a football power.

From 1985-1998 under Jackie Sherrill and R.C. Slocum, the Aggies won the conference championship eight times and finished in the top 10 five times. Before and after that, the Aggies have been largely irrelevant.

Yes, the Aggies won a national championship in 1939 and John David Crow won the Heisman Trophy in 1957, but the Longhorns have four national titles and two Heisman Trophy winners, not including Vince Young, who should've won it.

The Aggies' only Big 12 title occurred in 1998. Since 2000, the Aggies have not won more than nine games. They've lost five consecutive bowl games.

They've played in just one BCS bowl game and haven't finished the season ranked in the BCS top 10 since 1998.

Again, is that Texas' fault?

FYI: Five of the six teams in the SEC West, where A&M would presumably be placed if its wish is granted, are ranked among the preseason top 20. Alabama and LSU are in the top five.

No one but the Aggies believe they can consistently win football games in the SEC, which has produced the past five BCS champions. After all, they haven't come close to dominating the Big 12.

That said, A&M will have every opportunity to prove its naysayers wrong. If nothing else, applaud A&M for having the conviction to leave the Big 12.

It takes more courage to leave than to stay.

It takes even more courage to admit envy and ego are the real reasons the Aggies are looking to leave the Big 12.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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