It has been half a decade since Texas A&M made its move from the Big 12 to the SEC. According to Lee Corso, ESPN’s gregarious college football analyst, it’s unlikely the Aggies will be the last.
In a Q&A with Culture Map, Corso said that, in regards to conference realignment, “there’s still some changes to come. I think the one place that’s got to be careful is the Big 12 conference. If the Big 12 doesn’t do something, I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas and Oklahoma leave 4-5 years from now and go someplace else just like Texas A&M did.”
The move has proven wildly prescient for the Aggies. According to tax returns for the SEC, Texas A&M raked in just shy of $41 million in revenue in 2016 from the conference, and the SEC is only on pace to get bigger. Its total revenues were up 20 percent from 2015, and if Corso’s hypothetical scenario were to come true, and markets in Norman, Oklahoma and Austin, Texas were added, another massive increase would be nearly inevitable.
Of course, it’s purely conjecture at the present moment, though it is a fun hypothetical to consider, particularly when considering Texas’s recent hiring of Tom Herman, the man who rebuilt the Houston program into a national power. Add Oklahoma to the mix, with its storied history and tradition, and it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the SEC would not benefit.
Geographically, both schools make perfect sense, though college sports are long past the days where geography is a high priority when it comes to realignment. Money, and prospective revenue, are at the top of the College Sports Hierarchy of Needs. Additions of Texas and Oklahoma would more than fulfill both.