Big 12 Football

With A&M Gone, the Big 12 Might Set Its Sights on ... Dallas?

The Aggies are a joke.

After a 15-year marriage, they want a divorce. Greener pastures they say, failing to camouflage their hissy-fit jealousy of Texas. Their long-time spouse, the Big 12 Conference, shrugs and begins courting other attractive partners.

And now, almost three weeks after we'd all deemed the Aggies dead and gone, they're still here rattling their stupid sabres as if to say "Okay, this time I mean it. I'm really gonna move my shit out and leave."

New York Times last night posted a story about yet another official letter to the Big 12. The divorce is done.

Go already. Have fun getting your ass kicked in the SEC and becoming even less relevant in the Metroplex. I mean, why would Dallas-based media any longer give a damn about a school that's three hours away and plays half its games in places like Tennessee, Georgia and Florida?

Oh, and by the way, since you're breaking a contract you signed last April with the Big 12 and Fox Sports worth $1 billion, leaving is going to cost you in the neighborhood of $20 million. Just leave a check on the table when you leave.

With the Aggies' departure imminent, the Big 12 is left with its second consecutive lame-duck season. The future, however, could be more exciting than ever.

This year -- because of the departure of Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac 12 -- the Big 12 is down to 10 games with a true round-robin schedule, no North or South divisions and no championship game.

And this year's Texas-Texas A&M game on Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving night) might be the last in the series' 117-year history.

As for 2012 and beyond, the Big 12 has several options. Down to nine teams without A&M, it has to add a school -- preferably three.

Notre Dame is literally the golden goose, but -- for now, anyway -- the Irish are saying no thanks. Brigham Young is on the wish list. As is Arkansas, TCU, Houston and, yes, SMU.

While Texas prepares for its season Saturday against Rice by naming Garrett Gilbert the starting quarterback, and while Oklahoma State billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens throws out the first pitch at the Rangers' game tonight, the Mustangs are suddenly everything the Aggies aren't.

First and foremost, interested in the Big 12. SMU athletic director Steve Orsini, in his attempt to get the Mustangs' growing program in a BCS Automatic Qualifier conference, is open about his school's flirtation with the Big 12.

"We feel we're there now as far as the growing progress, not 'there' as in ready to take on the Longhorns," he says. "We're realistic about all this. What we're saying is that we have laid a great foundation to return to an AQ team status. The Southwest Conference would have been an AQ conference and SMU was very successful in the SWC. We feel like it's time for us to state our case to be an AQ school again."

Does SMU have warts? Or course.

But A&M has a terminal disease.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt