Texas A&M has gone from perceived pushover to SEC bully, and its administrators are certainly acting the part.
Athletics director Eric Hyman spoke Thursday at the Brazos County (Texas) A&M Club's Coach's Night and called out Alabama, according to Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News.
Hyman—who previously held the same position at South Carolina—opened up the event with a joke that will certainly resonate in Tuscaloosa.
“What do the moon and Texas A&M have in common?" Hyman asked. "They both control the Tide.”
Hyman then addressed Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin before he introduced the second-year head coach, saying "he wants to be able to say the same thing" next year.
"No pressure, Eric," Sumlin joked before addressing the crowd.
Before Alabama fans get up in arms, recognize that this wasn't the same as Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops calling out the SEC. While they both were at booster club events, this was a joke, meant to be a joke and should be received as a joke.
But what transpired next is simply outstanding.
There's no way that syndicated radio host Paul Finebaum would ignore such a joke. Finebaum, who will join ESPN and the SEC Network later this summer after successfully building his syndicated radio brand out of Birmingham, Ala., chimed in on Twitter with his take on how Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban would take the joke.
He's probably right, Saban probably won't like it that much. There's a reason for that, according to Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin.
So in a 10-minute span, Hyman cracked a joke about the Tide, Finebaum chimed in and then the highest-ranking member of A&M's academic staff joked back.
I hate the term "bulletin board material," because if you need bulletin board material to get up for big games, you're doing it wrong. But nevertheless, you can bet your bottom, top and middle dollars that the quote—even as a joke—will be plastered all over every building in Tuscaloosa until the two programs meet on Sept. 14 in College Station, Texas.
But should Alabama's staff, players and fans really be mad? Not really.
First of all, A&M did beat the Tide last season 29-24 in Tuscaloosa, so the Aggies have room to talk.
But more importantly, this is social media—emphasis on "social" intended. This whole exchange started in good fun, and stayed that way all the way through.
Whether you take Hyman's joke for what it is or are genuinely outraged that the athletics director at a major SEC program would dare knock the Crimson Tide, the "game of the year" in the SEC between the two schools just got a little more spice added to it.
For that, everybody should be thankful.
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