Early in December, LSU fans were lobbying for their Tigers to play in the Cotton Bowl, in large part because it was a chance to play Texas A&M in football for the first time in 15 years.
The wait for LSU and A&M to play again could be much shorter.
If rumors and speculation are true, Texas A&M could soon spurn the Big 12 — which really has 10 teams and is sometimes known as Texas and the Little Nine — to join the Southeastern Conference.
That would make the Aggies and Tigers year in, year out SEC West rivals.
Let’s put aside for the moment whether Texas A&M will come. Like most people writing on the subject, I honestly don’t know. And those who do know aren’t exactly tweeting about it.
One thing worth discussing is what Texas A&M’s entry would mean for LSU.
On one hand, it could make it more difficult for the Tigers to recruit in southeast Texas. And another school has to be added to give the conference an even 14. Having two more SEC teams makes it harder to win anything.
On the other, there are multiple upsides to expansion.
The first is money. More TV markets mean renegotiated TV contracts.
Two, LSU perhaps finally gains a true SEC rival who doesn’t already have a bigger rival. Sure, Texas A&M has Texas, but their relationship may become so toxic they don’t play for years. An LSU-A&M rivalry would be one of the SEC’s best.
“I would certainly enjoy great competition and that rivalry, there’s no question,” said LSU coach Les Miles, who was 2-2 against the Aggies at Oklahoma State.
Three, more schools means more money. Did we already say that?
“If it brings more revenue to the table, that enhances our situation at LSU and it’s something we have to look at,” LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said. “It gets the SEC into Texas, which is not a bad thing. But when you talk about having 14 teams, you’re starting to talk about being a pretty big conference.”
Alleva said LSU has gotten no word from the SEC about adding A&M, which he said would be an involved process. A three-fourths vote of the members — at least 8-4 — is required to extend a membership offer to a school.
“I really don’t think anything is going to happen too quickly,” Alleva said.
Another factor is who enters the SEC with A&M. If it’s an ACC team — Virginia Tech or Florida State — then you almost certainly add one school to each division.
If it’s another Big 12 school — Oklahoma or Missouri — the SEC has to make big changes.
“You add two schools, seven on a side, and you take away one of the crossover rivalries, which would be fine with us,” Miles said. “We’d exchange one of our crossover rivalries for a Western Division rivalry.”
Play Texas A&M every year instead of Florida?
This deal may look better to LSU all the time.