As a graduate of Texas A&M, Joe Barton has a vested interest what conference his Aggies ultimately winds up in.
As a member of the United States House of Representatives, Barton’s opinion may carry a wee bit more weight than your average alum.
So, exactly where does Barton stand on A&M’s future conference affiliation? Suffice to say, there’s a far, far greater lean Southeast on the part of Barton than there is to the West.
“As an athletic conference, the SEC is one of the strongest,” Barton told the Austin American-Statesman. “Cultural issues are pretty similar, the south and southwest are pretty similar. And A&M has always had a rivalry with LSU and Arkansas and, to a lesser extent, Alabama. So I think it will just be a good fit.”
Interesting that Barton said A&M “will just be a good fit” instead of “would just be a good fit”. Freudian slip based off some inside information as to the way his school is leaning? Barton also added that there’s “a good possibility” A&M winds up in the SEC after all of this shakes out, so something has made him reasonably confident that the Aggies are headed for the premiere football conference in the country.
A&M reportedly has a 72-hour window that opened yesterday to decide whether they want to join Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State or strike out on their own. Regardless of what A&M ultimately opts to do, the other four schools appear headed for the Pac-10 and, with it, likely goes the future of the Big 12.
Barton reiterated that, if their current conference disbands or is left as nothing but a shell of its former self, A&M’s best fit would be the SEC.
“If you’re really going to break it up, I prefer the Southeast Conference,” Barton said. “I just think it’s going to be a better fit and better competition in terms of football, which means A&M will have to upgrade its program some, but that’s what competition’s all about.
“I would rather A&M and Texas stay together, but if that’s not to be, I just don’t see from a fan’s standpoint and a student athlete’s standpoint, I just don’t see how being in a conference with Oregon and Oregon State and Washington and the California schools — that’s two time zones away. And with the SEC, you’re in the same time zone or you’re maybe one time zone different.”
There’s no question that the SEC does not need A&M; rather, the question seems to be whether the SEC wants A&M.
The way things are looking, we’ll find that the answer to that at some point over the next three days.