Former Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill said the Aggies’ proposed move to the Southeastern Conference is “going to play out” and identified the SEC as one of four 20-team super-conferences that eventually will dot the college football landscape.
Sherrill, who did not include the Big 12 among the four surviving leagues, shared his views today on KZNE radio station in College Station.
Sherrill told the station that he considers the Pac-12 the primary driver in the move to 20-team leagues, with the Big Ten willing to follow suit.
“With 20-team conferences, there’s only room for four,” Sherrill said. “So who are the four conferences? That’s going to be the Big Ten, Pac-10 (now the Pac-12), SEC and ACC, for sure. I don’t know of anybody (else), the Big East, the Big 12, Conference USA or any of the other conferences will ever get strong enough to bounce those teams out.”
With that as a premise, Sherrill identified A&M as a school that “fits” into the existing SEC environment _ with a campus based in a “university setting,” not a metropolitan city _ and could succeed athletically in a league that has seen four of its members combine to win college football’s last five BCS national championships.
“For people to say that A&M cannot compete in the SEC, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Sherrill, who coached at Mississippi State from 1991-2003 after leaving A&M following the 1988 season. “I’ve been there. Yes, they can.”
Sherrill also weighed in with thoughts about why the SEC presidents, in an Aug. 14 meeting, opted to take no action in regard to A&M but left open the door to expansion at a later date. The next day, A&M regents unanimously approved a motion to let school president R. Bowen Loftin negotiate on the school’s behalf in regard to conference realignment.
“The attorneys advised the SEC what to do and how to do it. And they also put in parameters,” said Sherrill, who likened A&M’s situation to a spouse seeking a divorce before taking steps to re-marry. “In laymen’s terms, it’s very simple. You have to file for a divorce, you have to obtain a divorce, then you’re going to be courted, then you’re going to get engaged and then you’re going to get married ... The bottom line is what’s best for Texas A&M today, tomorrow, 10 years … and 100 years down the road.”
Sherrill predicted that SEC-related chatter is “not going to be that big of a distraction for the team” once A&M kicks off its season, Sept. 4 against SMU.
“When the ball is kicked off, all this other stuff that we talk about, I can guarantee you the players don’t talk about it,” Sherrill said.
_ Jimmy Burch