I don’t know exactly when it happened.
What I do know is this, at some point after the Texas Longhorns walked off of the field after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship game; Texas football started a slow, mind boggling and uncharacteristic slide from the top of the college football mountain.
Texas, year after year, recruits five star talents and in 2010 they had a five win season. I suppose, if you’re optimistic, bouncing back from a five win season by going 8-5 and 9-4 would be satisfactory.
Satisfactory if your favorite school is Rice.
Find me one Texas fan, or any Texan for that matter, who didn’t think Texas A&M was going to be the door mat of the SEC. Hell, I’ll admit it. I thought they wouldn’t even be bowl eligible. They’re in the SEC West for crying out loud. ‘Bama, LSU, well, you get the picture.
As a Native Texan, I know the landscape of alliance in the Lone Star State. There are more pick-up trucks with Longhorn emblems on them then there are “aTm” emblems.
I’m not the type of guy who lives by “what if’s” but I’ll be damned if I haven’t speculated about what could have been before.
In 2008 the no.1 Longhorns go into Lubbock, Texas and lose by a last second touchdown catch by Tech’s Michael Crabtree. Take away that catch. Texas wins and probably plays for the National Championship against the Florida Gators.
Maybe they beat Florida, maybe they don’t, and either way Colt McCoy comes back in 2009 & leads Texas to the National Title game against Alabama. Win or lose, let’s say McCoy doesn’t get hurt in that game and Texas beats Alabama; I think Mack Brown steps down as head coach of Texas and Will Muschamp takes over, as he was under contract to do, therefore Texas doesn’t miss a beat.
Or, perhaps Brown decides it’s a great idea to offer the past two Heisman winners (Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel) at their desired position, QB, instead of defensive back or athlete.
Put aside the horrific blunder that was Garrett Gilbert, and, with all due respect to David Ash, level with me so I know I’m not completely insane; I can’t be the only one who has watched Ash and then watched highlights of RGIII and Manziel and their Heisman ceremonies and wanted to cry myself to sleep.
If any of the above scenarios had happened, A&M’s departure to the SEC would have been a blip on the radar. They make the move while Texas is maintaining success and, quite frankly, they wouldn’t pose a threat to recruiting because Texas would still be the almighty Texas.
As for recruiting, take the Oregon Ducks out of the picture. Yes, I know that 17 and 18 year old recruits love sweet uniforms and although I’m sure the Ducks have jerseys in the works that make them invisible on third and short there may not be another school that is as sexy and appealing as A&M is right now.
A&M may quite possibly be the most attractive destination for top recruits right now.
I’m not saying Texas isn’t still THE college football program in the state of Texas, but, the times may be changing and if getting killed by an Oklahoma Sooners team that got dismantled by A&M isn’t an obvious indicator the Aggies road win at Alabama surely was.
Under a first year coach Kevin Sumlin and a stud freshman QB, the entire nation watched A&M trot into Bryant-Denney Stadium and a lot like when A&M announced the move to their new conference, not a single Texas fan, or any Texan for that matter, truly believed they were going to go to Alabama and compete.
One Heisman defining performance later, Texas’ Mack Brown could feel his seat getting hotter and the pressure mounting. Suddenly, College Station doesn’t look so bad anymore to these 4 & 5 star recruits from Texas. In fact, kids from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana seemingly all agree; maybe Texas A&M is a good look.
And isn’t it a coincidence?
The same exact school that beat Texas for a National Championship, and in result ignited the slump the Longhorns would endure for the next 3 seasons, is the same exact school that lost to A&M, igniting fuel to a fire that may propel the Aggies into a National Championship game in the very, very, near future.