Texas A&M is entering year three in the SEC this fall, which means head coach Kevin Sumlin is still playing the role of the new kid on the block. When the SEC announced earlier this week it will continue with an eight-game conference schedule with protected cross-division match-ups, Sumlin did not feel a need to have much of a reaction.
“It doesn’t really matter what I want,” Sumlin said during a coaches conference call Wednesday. “I learned that quick.”
Texas A&M is paired with South Carolina in the cross division games, with the Aggies and Gamecocks paired despite having no real history against each other the way other pairings such as Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia have. Why couldn’t the SEC at least pair Texas A&M and Missouri, both having joined the conference from the Big 12 a couple of years ago?
“We’re the new guys in the league,” Sumlin said. “I just kind of listen and see what happens. Whatever happens, happens and we play it.”
Sumlin has been able to do plenty of listening this week. LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva voiced his displeasure with the new scheduling policy, as did LSU head coach Les Miles. Even Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson made a crack on the new schedule policy.
“For me, after listening to other programs and the commissioner, there’s a lot of tradition in the league that would have had to change,” Sumlin continued. “We didn’t really have a dog in that fight as far as long-standing cross-over rivalries.”
New traditions will come over time of course. The Aggies have some good history already with division rivals Arkansas, LSU and Alabama, so all is not a lost cause.