Texas A&M flirted heavily with the SEC and up until a few hours ago, it looked like the super southern conference was ready to invite the Aggies to the table. While A&M's status as a new member of the SEC has been downgraded, the fact that they were so willing to ditch the Big 12 speaks volume for the current state of the "Texas-plus-nine conference."
Plain and simple, the Texas Longhorns are conference killers. They dissolved the Southwestern Conference years ago and they seem primed to do the same with the Big 12.
The rivalry between A&M and Texas is a big one. It is the premier in-state rivalry in football-crazy Texas. Both programs ooze tradition and play their home games in gargantuan stadiums with some of the most passionate fans in college football (more so A&M).
But one fact remains squarely obvious to the point of being obtuse—Texas considers itself to be on a much higher level than A&M. Texas thinks it is better than just about every other football program in the country.
Texas is Texas and the rest are just trying to keep up.
The reason the Big 12 will inevitably fail is because the balance of power is completely off-kilter. Texas takes the biggest piece of the revenue-share and puts on a great show of being taken aback when teams flirt with leaving the conference. All of a sudden, the Longhorns are pushing the notion of "conference loyalty" on any party attempting to leave.
Texas has stated that A&M can leave and the conference would be fine. They also stated, in the same breath, that if Texas leaves, the conference would collapse.
Texas will do whatever it takes to push their brand, make money and ensure that everyone knows they are the premier team in the nation—most certainly in the state of Texas.
Most other BSC conferences live in relative harmony. Even when USC dominated the PAC-10 for years, other fans and teams simply hated the Trojans because they were good, not because they were trying to rip off every other team in their conference. The Big 10 and the SEC seem to remain both competitive and collectively happy with their other conference mates.
Why has the Big 12 been so tumultuous, seemingly from the very beginning?
Was it Oklahoma because of their early and frequent success? Or was it Nebraska, for their "aw shucks" attitude and pre-Big 12 domination? Was it A&M or Missouri? Have the other members even created so much as a ripple in the Big 12 pond?
The reason for the chaos and recent scrambling to exit the conference is quite simply because of the Texas Longhorns.
Texas has always wanted things done on their terms and they either threaten schools like Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor with leaving and dissolving the conference or they claim that schools like Nebraska and most recently, Texas A&M are not loyal partners and they are better off without them.
The simple fact that they hold the very BCS distinction over the less powerful conference members points to the arrogance and selfishness coming out of Austin. There is an air of "do what I say or you won't like the consequences."
Whatever the outcome of A&M's potential move, it is obvious the Aggies have had enough of the "Texas way" and are willing to shrug off a traditional rivalry for greener pastures.
Who can blame them? When your in-state rival takes more money every season than any other conference member and has a whole network created for them, all while claiming to hold the conference together single-handedly, wouldn't you entertain offers from other conferences?
And when the Big 12 finally collapses, only one school will emerge from the rubble claiming ignorance as to its demise and pointing to those who lack "conference loyalty."
Because Texas is Texas and the rest are just trying to keep up.