When Texas A&M announced that they would leave the Big 12 for the SEC, two thoughts came across everybody’s mind.
First, what will happen to the University of Texas/Texas A&M rivalry?
Second, can the Aggies, who have never made any real noise in the Big 12, compete in what was known as the best conference in football, the SEC?
Well, the Longhorns/Aggies rivalry may be dead, but the Aggies proved on Saturday that they can most certainly compete, as they shocked the world by beating No. 1 Alabama.
Alabama had been compared to NFL teams this season -- they were supposed to roll all the way to another national title. Coach Sumlin and Johnny Football had other plans, ruining 'Bama and, ironically, the SEC’s title hopes, and letting the nation know that Texas A&M has arrived.
This is the signature win that the Aggies needed, not only to get out of UT’s shadow, but to let the SEC and America know that the Aggies weren’t a new punching bag for the SEC powerhouses. In fact, they are a new SEC powerhouse in their own right.
One week after UT replaced the Aggies with Texas Tech as their new, big in-state rival, A&M might have started their own SEC rivalry.
'Bama and A&M have a little history -- Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings, and Dennis Franchione -- so don’t be surprised if 'Bama does indeed become A&M’s main SEC rival.
The Aggies must now keep this momentum up, finish the season strong, and win a big bowl game.
A&M has won big games before, only to let the rest of the season unravel and kill any momentum a big win like this can bring. A&M now has put themselves in the discussion for a BCS at-large game, but even if they don’t land an at-large berth, they most likely would land the Cotton Bowl.
The Cotton Bowl also picks a top Big 12 team, so if all the dominoes fall right, the Aggies might be ready to make another statement in Cowboys Stadium by beating UT.
And beating UT in the state’s premier bowl game might very well be the icing on the cake for this breakout season for coach Sumlin and Texas A&M.
John Dyer is a sports blogger for KSAT.com. He also owns a sports website, Texas Sports Junkie.