Earlier today, the Texas A&M Aggies announced they are in fact leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. The Aggies aren't messing around either. It appears they will be gone this summer. June 30th, 2012 to be exact. While the Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne blamed the creation of the Longhorn Network for the demise of his school's relationship with the Big 12, us here in the C-USA are now forced to take a look at the state of the C-USA, once again, and figure out if any new potential conference realignment insanity will cause a stir here at home.
We have all heard about the SMU Mustangs and their newly public campaign for inclusion in the Big 12. By the way, where the heck is Britton Banowsky when SMU President R. Gerald Turner makes comments like this?
"We are pushing for it," SMU president R. Gerald Turner said. "We want the city to know we’re pushing for it. We need as much help as possible, even from non-SMU alums. We believe it’s good for Dallas."
In fact, after news broke today about A&M leaving, SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini again stepped up the Pony's campaign for inclusion
"We’re here to help," SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said. "The news today provides the opportunity for us to reach our goal."
The Houston Cougars will undoubtedly pay attention to any glances the Big 12 sends their way. Even so, AD Mack Rhoades is at least pretending, publicly, to not be pleading for admission. You have to admire that Rhoades, a former Assistant AD at UTEP, has at least attempted to sound grounded.
Anybody familiar with the Mustangs' tenure in the C-USA knows how far away they are from even dominating this league nonetheless competing in the Big 12. This is a school that in 2011 finished 85th in the nation in football attendance per home game (23,515 per game). This is a school that averaged 1,970 fans per home basketball game last season even though they weren't completely terrible with Papa Dia anchoring the squad.
Yes, SMU is a fine academic institution. Yes, SMU was once a football powerhouse (even though they bent the rules for that success). While there is no denying that the Big 12 is a step or three up from the C-USA, I still wish SMU would go about this campaign a bit differently. I understand that realignment is all about doing what's best for yourself. But do you have to be so public with your aspirations? Can't you at least pretend to be happy with a league that has stood by you while your program recovered from the Death Penalty?
SMU is proving that the only thing that matters right now is getting what's best for yourself. It's for that reason that I think we will all enjoy watching the Big 12 breeze past Dallas for Provo, Pittsburgh, or Louisville, should they decide to replace the Aggies.