OPINION: SEC Welcome
Glad to have you Aggies; please beat Florida
Published: Monday, July 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Let me start by saying congratulations and welcome to the Southeastern Conference.
We are glad you’ve decided to join the “Conference of Champions” as Aggie Athletics puts it.
Here’s the little bit I know about A&M. It is in College Station, Texas, about 90 minutes northwest of Houston, and Aggies really dislike that other school in Austin, and there is a huge athletic tradition in Aggieland, but I digress.
When I first heard Texas A&M was joining the SEC, I was puzzled. Over the past few years, we all heard the rumors and were intrigued by the possibilities of various conference realignments, a lot of which has involved A&M’s former home, the Big 12.
Just for the fun of it (and because I can in the virtual world of EA Sports) I created a Super SEC Conference of 16 teams on NCAA Football 12 which I added the Aggies, Missouri, Boise State, Wisconsin (yes, those previous two make no geographical sense whatsoever), and Florida State for good measure. It turned out A&M was pretty solid finishing with a winning record in the SEC west, so if EA Sports can predict the future, then the outlook is a good one for the Aggies.
Now that the chaos has come to fruition and A&M is a bona fide member of the SEC, here’s a brief “Guide to the SEC.” Let’s talk about the numero uno, big kahuna sport at all SEC institutions, including yours: football.
The Aggies will kick off their days in the West division, which I will admit is in recent years, the toughest division of college football. Alabama, LSU, Arkansas finished in the top five in 2011, and Auburn was a solid fourth place behind that trio of powers. The Aggie’s SEC play kicks off as A&M hosts Georgia’s biggest rival: Florida. A request from all UGA fans: BEAT FLORIDA, please. It’s not that we won’t later in the season, but we love to see the Gators lose no matter what week of the season it is. That’s an important thing you should know entering the SEC. Even if it’s not football season, Georgia fans want to see Florida beaten. Whether it’s in basketball, tennis, baseball, swimming, chess, badminton; it doesn’t matter to the Georgia faithful as long as Florida suffers. I’m sure the Gators would say the same, or something similar. So know UGA fans DO NOT like Florida.
Anyway, back to A&M concerns. Week in and out this fall, the Aggies will face the toughest defenses the country has to offer. The Big 12 is definitely known for its high-powered offenses. Robert Griffin III did win the Heisman and Brandon Weeden may have torched many a defense, but in the SEC you face that caliber every Saturday. Most times it’s not just one player who can have that impact either.
A third thing A&M fans should know entering the SEC is “upsets” can and do happen every SEC Saturday. Being ranked in the top five and unranked has no bearing in the SEC. The cliché in the NFL is often “any given Sunday.” In the SEC “any given Saturday” is no cliché; it is fact.
You also might have heard bowl subdivision college football will have a four-team playoff beginning in 2014. For A&M and the other 11 SEC schools every week is a playoff week. One slip up and your conference title hopes can be dashed, in the blink of an eye.
These are only warnings, nothing to scare the Aggies off. All I can say for sure is the Aggies are a member of the toughest conference the country. From Athens to College Station, welcome. We look forward to hosting the Aggies to Tee It Up Between the Hedges and a trip to Aggieland sometime soon.
Luke Dixon is a sports reporter for The Red and Black, University of Georgia’s student online newspaper.