Will A&M Benefit From Texas' Coaching Drama?

Even though the Aggies and Longhorns separated on the field, the two lone star powers are still direct competitors for the top football talent in the state. But just because Texas has the financial resources doesn't mean they can't screw up this coaching situation, and that's just what Texas A&M is banking on for now.

I've already discussed the reasons why Nick Saban to Texas is possible and how this could turn out well for the Longhorns and how this deal could threaten Texas A&M going forward. However, this situation could also implode on Texas and could be a major failure and here's why.

Being somebody who owns a website and having dealt with trying to get scoop on what a university will do strategically (i.e. SEC realignment and two recent coaching changes), I know exactly what is going on with all of the Texas websites. You have some Longhorn sports websites like Inside Texas that has developed a couple of good big money donor sources feeding them all of the "Mack is gone" and "Saban is a done deal" scoop. The donors are obviously working behind the scenes and somewhat independently of the Texas administration. They are working through Saban's agent, and when the agent says "it will take $115 MM and $30 MM upfront" and the big money donors meet and come up with the upfront money and want to go in that direction, they assume it's a done deal and they start spilling the beans to the Internet insider "gurus" who work for the websites.

But what they fail to realize is that the Saban agent is having this same conversation with Alabama and for all we know Saban's demands may be different than what the agent told Texas...basically it's a game but the Texas donors only know one side of the game. They are assuming their deal is the end game when it may not be and there is a false sense of 'we got our man". Secondly and more importantly, the donors have to get the regents and administration on the same page...and we know that there has been some friction and miscommunication between the current Texas Admin (Powers) and the donors. Powers has publicly said before that academics will not take a backseat to athletics. The thought of paying a football coach $115 million has to be distasteful to a university president, and that will cause a lot of problems and heartburn with his academic administrators and professors.

There is some evidence to suggest this has already happened. Chip Brown's (Orangebloods.com) sources are more tied to the university's administration and if you recall this fall Chip was shooting down the initial Saban to Texas for $10 million rumors saying the administration wasn't going to pay that much for a coach. In fact, he reiterated that statement again on Wednesday during a national radio interview

That's why this Board of Regents meeting on Thursday will serve as a good barometer of this situation. If Powers gets hammered and basically is weakened in this meeting, I think we can safely assume that the big donors got to the regents and sold them on their $115 million path going forward. If Powers emerges with the regents support and strengthened, then all bets are off on this $115 million Saban deal. Remember, this tense dynamic with Powers and the regents isn't just an athletic deal. Ironically, this is where Rick Perry comes into play and his perceived assault on Powers and the Texas admin. over his educational philosophies that caused so much heartburn at A&M a couple of years ago with Chancellor McKinney.

I'm not going to say I completely understand all of these issues, but I can tell you there are a lot of balls in the air and agendas at play that go beyond just athletics...but all of these dynamics will ultimately affect what the university does about the coaching situation.

And even if the internal issues work out in favor of the big donors on Thursday, there's still the possibility that Saban eventually stays at Alabama and leaving Texas at the alter scrambling for a fall-back coaching target.

Again, I don't claim to know all of the issues and what will eventually happen, but this situation can easily get mucked up politically because Texas leadership is fractured right now. I could see this working out and Texas emerging smelling like a rose, but I can also see this imploding and becoming a huge cluster. Obviously, the cluster scenario plays well for A&M.

Just some food for thought as Aggie fans eat their popcorn and watch this burnt orange drama play out.

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