As the Texas A&M Aggies have considered and then finally filed the move to exit from the Big 12 and move to the SEC, the entire affair has been centered around football. Football is the moneymaker. Football receives the bulk of the attention. Football attracts the boosters and exposure that makes the athletic department's world go 'round, so it's no surprise that the primary concern has been on the most popular sport.
What's been lost in the shuffle, however, is that the Aggies basketball team is also a good brand in a sport that commands plenty of attention of its own. ESPN recently focused a table of their own college basketball analysts to ask some questions about the Aggies move and it was interesting to read their comments, since they all seem to agree that the Southeastern Conference is a good fit for A&M.
Andy Katz believes that the Aggies will be a good but not great SEC program and lists them along the likes of "Mississippi State, Georgia, Alabama and now rebuilding Tennessee." He also places them below Kentucky and Florida with Vanderbilt possibly in this group for this season. Dana O'Neil agrees with Katz and says, "A&M may be tired of the shadow cast by Texas, but it hasn't caught a glimpse of the cloud Kentucky basketball can create."
New head coach Billy Kennedy will help when it comes to navigating the realms of the SEC, however. He already has deep ties throughout the state of Louisiana including coaching stops at Centenary and Southeastern Louisiana. Those years at Murray State should also help recruit throughout the region as he enjoys the access that SEC teams will grant him in their states (while they will appreciate the flip side of having some access to Texas).
Ultimately, the Aggies might experience more success because the SEC is softer at the bottom of the standings, says Eamonn Brennan. He writes, "The SEC can be a bit more forgiving than the Big 12, especially in the lower portions of the conference, and A&M has never needed elite recruiting to consistently compete in its conference. I doubt that changes as a result of the move"
The Aggies will be exciting to watch in their new environs, and that's just not about the football team. Billy Kennedy's arrival coincides wonderfully with the move to the SEC.