What to do with Texas A&M

So, Texas A&M was added by the SEC and promptly screwed-up conference scheduling.  The latest scheduling scenarios being tossed around create the confusion and angst so many folks expected with the SEC sitting on 13 teams.

Seeing how I could do no worse job than the SEC scheduling gurus, I hereby offer my scheduling proposals. 

First, let me submit this disclaimer: I’m not a big fan of the Aggies joining the conference in the first place and I think the whole situation has been handled sub par.  The Aggies had enough of the Texas Longhorns and forced themselves upon the SEC.  They called Mike Slive’s bluff and forced the league out of it’s game plan.

Back in 1992 there were rumblings of the schools to be invited, FSU and Miami to name two, but ultimately, Arkansas and South Carolina were the league’s choices and their induction and the related aftermath were strictly controlled by the league.  Texas A&M’s decision did not allow for this.  Everyone knows – and has known since the related scheduling issues surfaced – that 13 schools won’t work long-term.  So instead of allowing the league to work it’s own plan, on it’s own timetable, the Aggies, apparently unable to stand the Longhorns any longer, threw the league into chaos.

But enough of that.  How would I solve the scheduling crisis until #14 is added?

For league purposes, all games with Texas A&M would not be counted in the league standings until a 14th team is added.  The commissioner should encourage the league’s teams to schedule the Aggies, especially West division teams, but the games wouldn’t count in the standings.

Sure, Texas A&M is a full member of the SEC.  But that doesn’t mean their entrance should create a quagmire for the other 12 teams.  They would still be allowed to cash all their checks and they would still be eligible for a BCS bowl, but they wouldn’t necessarily be allowed to compete for a championship until #14 came on board.

Every other scenario could create an unfair advantage for some of the league’s schools.  The league should be committed to avoiding even the most remotely possible of these scenarios.

It’s not unusual for teams moving from one situation to another to have to wait to compete for a conference title.  And by the way, does anyone think the Aggies will be favorites in the West next year?  Me neither.

Adding the right 14th team should be the first priority on everyone’s list.  Putting Texas A&M on a shelf like this creates a renewed sense of urgency – or at least the perception of urgency – for the league to get something done.  Barring A&M from competing for a title until #14 is on board also prevents the Aggies from throwing a wrench into whatever expansion plans the league may have.  For example, let’s just say for example Texas wanted to be #14.  The Aggies wouldn’t be able to say no under my proposal.

The Aggies are coming to the league with the perception that they’ve caused a lot of trouble – which they have – my proposal eliminates that perception, maintains competitive balance and creates a sense of urgency to go ahead and go after #14.

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