So if Mack Brown indeed coaches the Longhorns in 2014 as it appears he will tonight, all A&M fans should open up that vintage bottle of wine they've been saving for a special occasion. Shoot off that confetti bomb you were saving for New Year's Eve (after the Aggies BTHO Duke!). Whip out your Cubans you received as a gift from a friend outside the country and smoke away. Pull out the Woodford Reserve and start sipping (no pun intended...OK, it was intended!) because Bill Powers and the Texas administration just gave every Aggie fan the best Christmas gift they will receive this holiday season.
As I mentioned in my article/post earlier in the week about how this Texas coaching search will affect Texas A&M's athletic fortunes, I said that A&M's ultimate long-term success with this move to the SEC will be based on two factors:
1) the ability of Texas A&M's administration in these critical first 3-5 years to make savvy, intelligent strategic decisions
2) strategic errors made by The University of Texas over the same time period
Success depends on both. I think we can all conclude that Texas A&M's administration has pushed the right buttons so far in this journey and that includes the new Kevin Sumlin contract that was signed yesterday. Texas A&M has its man, and the university, donors, and fans are united behind Sumlin and the direction of the football program which includes the bold move to rebuild a $450 million Kyle Field.
On the other hand, Texas A&M still needs help from external factors to insure that this move is successful and that the university becomes the prominent athletic program in the state of Texas. That means strategic mistakes made by the leadership at the University of Texas that allows A&M to navigate these early, sensitive days without roadblocks that could derail A&M's efforts, or at the very least slow it down to a crawl.
Texas' first major mistake was allowing Texas A&M to leave in the first place with very little, if any, political consequences. They basically dared the Aggies to leave and subsequently fail in the SEC, and they cleared the way for their little brother's exit. Thank you very much Deloss.
Next comes major mistake No. 2. Texas jumped head-long into the Longhorn Network and in order to sell the network to cable systems put many of its September home games on this "exclusive" platform that all of 100,000 viewers could watch. So while the powerful Longhorn brand was toiling away in the Siberia of broadcast television, little brother was hosting ESPN Gameday twice and playing the likes of Florida and Alabama in front of millions of viewers nationwide. Basically, while Texas A&M was in the midst of a critical rebranding effort, Texas allowed the Aggies to be the only game in town with all eyes of the state focused squarely on College Station and their new journey to the SEC with the most exciting college football player of our time. Thank you very much Deloss.
Mistake No. 3....the Longhorns decided to pick the launch of a new team specific network and the departure of little brother from the nest to have a bad stretch of football results. Thank you Mack.
And finally....with the opportunity to quickly "repair" the damage from three years of losing and regain the media headlines in the state/nation from Texas A&M with a game-changing hire, the Longhorns stumble all over themselves with an over-zealous Internet media and a fractured Texas administration...more concerned with their own survival and supporting their friend and business partner Mack Brown in the face of a disgruntled and soon to be disengaged donor and fan base. Thank you Bill.
This latest misstep is a blessing to a Texas A&M still navigating its way through this sensitive transition period. The football program has two rebuilding recruiting classes under its belt, and needs two more classes where Coach Sumlin lands not just good in-state talent, but playmakers like Ricky Seals-Jones, Myles Garrett, and Daylon Mack that can lead A&M to the top of the SEC and cement the program as the top dog in Texas. The Aggies are getting close, but had the Longhorns made a high impact hire like Saban, they would have made the rest of the journey much tougher. Instead, with the status quo, Sumlin can continue to reel in the elite talent and A&M will remain relatively unfettered on its way to a stacked roster, state-of-the-art stadium, and continued national and statewide exposure that in a couple of years will elevate A&M into the permanent upper-echelon of college football and athletics...which is Texas A&M's final scheduled destination.
Thank you Bill. Thank you Steve. Thank you Joe. Thank you Mack. The Aggies will be waiting for you at the top with a majority of the state's 2015 talent in tow.
Christmas Comes Early For Aggie Fans
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