July 17, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies helmet sits in front of an SEC backdrop during the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE
I've got a beef, and the day after finally finishing the bar exam when football season is mercifully approaching seems as good a time as any to commit said beef to writing. The thing is, what I'm upset about hasn't even happened yet. But it will.
SEC Media Days just ended, and the "experts" selected Texas A&M to finish fifth in the SEC West. That's probably about right; the very best they can hope for is fourth after LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas (not necessarily in that order) and it's possible they'll slide down to sixth if Mississippi State is a bit better than expected. But that's the realistic range of finishes for A&M--somewhere between the middle of the pack and the doormat.
Sometime in late October, when the Aggies' final spot in the division is mathematically certain to be in that range of possibilities, the chorus will begin. The chorus of told-you-so from SEC fans and the media, particularly the SEC-area media. And that's the sour sound I write to decry in advance.
Get ready for it: "Texas A&M has taken a big step up in competition by moving over to the SEC, and it shows as the former conference contenders are now relegated to the status of an also-ran." The conventional wisdom will hold that the Ags are where they are because, despite having been a great Big 12 program, they just can't play with the big boys.
The complaint, of course, is that it will all be completely false. A&M was never an elite Big 12 program, at least not since before the turn of the century. Finishing somewhere in the middle or toward the bottom (save that one three-way tie for the South Division) is exactly what A&M did consistently in the Big 12. The actual truth is that A&M was--much like MIssouri--a mediocre program in its old conference and will continue to be a mediocre program in its new conference. It moves from one of the best, most competitive leagues in college football (where it was so-so) to another of the best, most competitive leagues in college football (where it will continue to be so-so).
Nothing really will have changed, but somehow people will forget about the Aggies' Big 12 mediocrity in order to fit the facts to the storyline they prefer, because people are lazy. They'll act as if A&M moved to the SEC from the Mountain West, and it'll annoy the heck out of you.
So, you know, don't say you weren't warned.