Here we are again, passing away our time in the summer watching the Big 12 Conference do its best impression of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This is a conference made up of disparate schools and constituencies who now openly hate one another, held together only by the fear of what happens next.
Texas maneuvered A&M into a position last year that the fate of the conference hinged on A&M, not Texas. Which was a neat trick, considering Texas was the school which set the whole thing in motion, but the final decision came down to A&M. And like a victim in Saw, A&M couldn't believe what was going on, and didn't want the blood of the conference on their hands. It was kind of noble, but ultimately doomed.
Because here we are a year later, and Texas has already formed its own TV network and it is now trying to broadcast high school games and Big 12 conference games, over pretty much everyone else's completely valid objections. On the other hand, it's hard to feel sorry for the Big 12 schools. It's not like Texas lied to them - The Horns told everyone this is exactly what they were going to do, and that they viewed the rest of the conference as little more than bowling pins for them to knock down. Texas may be evil, but they aren't liars.
A&M saved a conference that really didn't deserve saving, and now they are watching the dominant partner in the relationship do, well, whatever the hell they want. Didn't they understand that was the model they agreed to?
Well, A&M has realized the situation they are in, and they are back to openly advocating a move to the SEC. They argue that the SEC is a far better fit for them, and hell, I absolutely agree with them.
But here's the kicker... the situation has changed for the SEC. If the SEC expands, we absolutely should add A&M, no question. But that's not the real question. The real question is whether the SEC should expand at all.
Last year, the Big 12 was on the verge of collapse, and the SEC was poised to pick up a few pieces from the wreckage. Throw A&M a lifeline, if you will. It would be good for the conference and it was also the right thing to do. However, that is not the situation this year.
If A&M were to join the SEC right now, it would be the death blow to the Big 12. While the SEC was and is perfectly happy to take advantage of the Big 12's collapse, I do not believe the SEC wants to be the instrument of destruction. The SEC is a pretty conservative institution, and conservative institutions abhor change. Destroying the Big 12 would quite likely trigger a seismic shock throughout the college football universe. There is literally no telling what might happen in its wake.
If the Big 12 is going to die, then it is going to die. There is no need for the SEC to be the one to pull the trigger. There is a certain danger in setting off the uncontrollable storm of massive conference re-alignment. Does the SEC really want that? As much as I hate the BCS, it's been pretty good for the SEC. Why rock the boat?
Now, I certainly understand why the Aggies want off of the sinking ship. Honestly, as time goes on, they will have less and less leverage with Texas. If the LHN succeeds, Texas would respond to the end of their conference by simply declaring its independence. If the LHN fails, then Texas could still shop itself to the Pac-10 now that it doesn't have the poison pill of a separate network. But right now, Texas doesn't know which way it is going to go. The time for the Aggies to act is now. This is when they can control their own destiny.
But just because the moment is right for the Aggies doesn't mean the moment is right for the SEC. Just as the Aggies couldn't be the ones to kill the Big 12 last year, the SEC is probably not enthusiastic to be the killer this year, or any time. I think the Aggies have a safe harbor when the Big 12 collapses, but I also think they have to wait for that collapse.
The Aggies had their chance to join the SEC last year and blinked. Now, they have to go to the back of the line and wait. The SEC is not in the business of destroying conferences.
That's Texas' job.