It seems pretty obvious that A&M setting this precedent by detaching themselves, leaves Texas the option to do the same in the future, but I do not believe we are better off for it. Many of us, myself included, have vocally chastised the Agroids for abandoning their traditional rivals. We are no better if we do the same and for multiple reasons:
I am a first time poster and long time reader. I finally decided to enter the fray after reading numerous comments about dropping Tech and Baylor since the Aggies are setting the precedent for leaving them behind in search of a better future. The question, I believe, is more along the line of "should we?" rather than "could we?"
1) Tradition: I am not in favor of ending the series with the Aggies, but since that is a possibility, it would seem that another in-state rival like Tech or Baylor would be the natural fit for that slot. I would lean to Tech over Baylor when one considers overall fan support, national interest, and intensity of the rivalry.
2) Money: Last year was the perfect example. Let's face facts; the Longhorn Empire was built on the backs of an extremely fickle fanbase, minus the readers here. They are not the most reliable support group when the Horns take a bad turn or when they face an unattractive team. If Texas were to go indy or to the Big 10 without Tech or Baylor, then they're (TT and BU) likelihood of BCS survival and relevance diminishes greatly, leaving them in a greatly weakened state. Currently, when Tech rolls into Austin, it's a packed house. If Tech were sentenced to life in the Mountain West, and their performance drops like a rock, how many of our fans would buy tickets for that game? Yes, we could schedule the Notre Dames, USCs, and LSUs of the world which would sell well, but I'm talking about the lean years like we just experienced when even those games are a tough sell. If Texas sits at 4-4 and a 2-6 Tech or Baylor squad comes to Austin, we're looking at a half empty stadium for an in-state rival game, which hurts our monetary returns, whereas now those games are big money-makers. Rival games = money, especially when the rivals are good. Games against directional Louisiana University = boring and monetary losers.
3) Enemy of my Enemy: Yes we hate the Aggies, Red Raiders, Bears, and Sooners and they all hate us. But they (minus the Agroids now) are our closest allies as well when the times get tough. Texas and it's posse have done a good job circling the wagons against the overtures of other conferences and preserving each other for our mutual benefit despite the defection mob in College Station. Missouri, once the catalyst for abandoning the conference is now in the fold and every other team seems committed. If we move somewhere else or go Indy, we lose those alliances. Even the Longhorn Empire needs strong and traditional allies/rivals.
It would seem like a wise idea to keep at least one in-state rival with us no matter where we go. Even if you think your cousin is a complete incompetent, he's still your family. Mark me down officially as wanting to keep Tech or Baylor with us (one of them at least) no matter where this realignment saga ends for Texas.