To Texas A&M Fans: What To Expect in SEC

Ok, so the move to the SEC isn’t official yet…but come on, we all know it’s going to happen. Texas A&M officially announced today it will be leaving the Big 12 and seeking another conference. No need to prognosticate over where they might land. They’ll be the 13th member of the SEC.

If you’ll allow me, I’d like to take off my journalist hat and put on my fan hat. Having lived in SEC country all but nine months of my life, and having graduated law school from an SEC school, I’d like to give A&M fans a primer on what to expect when they become a part of SEC nation.

  • We operate as equals in the SEC. Alabama never lobbies to receive a bigger share than Vanderbilt. You get the same conference distribution no matter how many times you are or aren’t on television. Florida isn’t trying to start its own network. It’s all for one and one for all.
  • You are no longer simply Texas A&M fans. You will be SEC fans. When any SEC team plays any non-SEC team, you will root for the SEC team to win. I’m a Gator fan who has rooted for every other SEC team at some point in time, including Georgia. Best example? Alabama and Auburn have perhaps the biggest rivalry in the SEC and one of the biggest in college football. Yet, over the past year they’ve each done something to help the other through groups called Tide for Toomer’s and Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa. Although a rogue Alabama fan poisoned trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, Alabama fans created Tide for Toomer’s and pitched in over $50,000 to the effort to preserve the trees. Just a few months later, Tuscaloosa was devastated by a tornado. Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa formed and recently a flag football game, Rivals Unite for Recovery, featuring former Alabama and Auburn players was played to raise money for tornado relief. Bottom line: in the SEC we take care of our own.
  • If you want to be a season ticket holder, you should act fast. It may already be too late given the news that all season tickets for this year are already sold out. It’s not likely to get any better. Last I heard the waiting list at Alabama is 10,000 fans deep. You’re not Alabama, but you’re a new Texas A&M. You have until the fall of 2012 to figure out how to get season tickets and then you should hold on for dear life.
  • Speaking of waiting lists, you can get on the list for the 2012 SEC Championship game starting tomorrow. Yes, you read that right: 2012. The 2011 game is already sold out. On average around 200 tickets become available to those on the waitlist each year, but with each fan having the option to buy two tickets only about 100 people make it off the waitlist. The average ticket on the secondary market for the 2009 game was $583, so I’d get on that waitlist if I was you. Once you’re in, you’re in, so if you get off the waitlist, be sure to renew your tickets each year. Trust me, you’ll have no trouble unloading them if A&M isn’t in the game.
  • If you want to travel to another SEC stadium for a game, make your hotel reservations at least a year in advance. Hotels in Gainesville routinely allow fans to sign a contract reserving a room for every home game weekend. Those contracts are signed a year in advance. Expect to encounter a lot of this around the SEC.
  • “Nowhere in the SEC do SEC sports come second [except maybe Nashville, but Vanderbilt is often the exception].” I added the last part, but the rest of the quote is courtesy of Chadd Scott, who recently wrote about why Missouri isn’t a good fit in the SEC in terms of culture and passion. Don’t worry, Aggies, what Missouri lacks you all seem to have in spades.
  • We travel around here. With visiting team ticket allotment going from the Big 12′s 4,000 to the SEC’s 7,000, roll out the welcome mat. SEC fans will descend upon College Station, and with few exceptions be cordial visitors.

SEC fans, what other advice or comments do you have to welcome Aggies into the conference?

58 thoughts on “To Texas A&M Fans: What To Expect in SEC”

  1. Visiting SEC fans to College Station, TX: if you bring your favorite tailgate food with you, we’ll share ours and throw in our cold beer to boot. I really think this is going to be fun.

  2. Hotel rooms have to be booked a year in advance and a minimum of 2 nights stay in CStat…

    Looking forward to welcoming SEC fans to Aggieland!

    Thanks and Gig’Em,

    -Jake’12

    1. While I like your enthusiasm, I won’t be singing that… the original version did not have the first verse when it was written by J.V. “Pinky” Wilson. Wilson wrote the original around 1920 and added the second verse late in 1928, but it never caught on. Just like we did not change AMC to AMU in the Spirit I believe we should hold on to this tradition.

      I think it could still represent our journey saying “goodbye to” our oppression from “texas university” and moving into the “rough, tough, real” conference which we will have to “fight” harder in.

  3. Kristi brings up all the bullet points that matter.

    We in the SEC cannot stress enough the fact that we are like a family. Yes, we will fight each other; tooth and nail sometimes, but when one of our own is going against someone from outside the family, they know they have (now) 12 other fan bases (millions and millions of other fan) firmly behind them adding all the goodwill and cheer we can towards a victory for that school and the SEC.

    Also, get ready for the hate. Particularly from Texas fans, who are scared because you now have the power and prestige of the SEC added to your own considerable prestige and tradition (something no lame network can bring them).

    But the hate will also flow from that has-been Midwestern conference, the one I like to refer to as the “Big-Zero.” They’ll talk about how the SEC is full of “bad” schools (not so much as we’re adding y’all and your AAU distinction… score!). They’ll talk about how they always have to travel to play us in bowl games in our territory, how we never have to go to their God-forsaken Rust Belt cities to get mugged, car-jacked, and frostbitten. They’ll use the “cyclical” argument Kirk Herbstreit keeps using as to why we’ll fall off our throne and they’ll rise again (completely ignoring demography shift in the USA from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt). But much like what you’ll hear from Texas fans, it’s all just sour grapes from fans of schools who KNOW they have no chance to beat our teams (unless they cheat, like the Suckeyes did in January).

    And yes, it helps if you take a disdainful attitude towards the Big-Zero, their whiney, hypocritical douche bag Commissioner, and the media bias that keeps their schools irrationally highly ranked in the unfortunately important pre-season polls. Most people in the sports biz, whether it’s AP voters, or at ESPN, they graduated from a Big-Zero school, so they do everything they can to illogically prop-up those teams. I mean, should there really be even a single Big-Zero team in the preseason top-10? Nope. Didn’t think so, either.

    Also, PLEASE travel out to the great college towns that are in the SEC. We want to meet you. We want to know and understand your traditions. We’re like cousins. We’ll always be ready with a high-five or a hug, and we’ll love sharing our tailgating food & spirits with you. We’d especially love to try your particular brand of Texas BBQ, which I know is different than ours in Bama, Georgia, & Carolina (Beef vs. Pork), but also very delicious.

    At least once in your life, you should visit Tuscaloosa and Auburn in Alabama. You should see the VOL Navy in Knoxville. You should see the bluegrass in Lexington, KY. And of course, more than once in your life (as many times as you can afford), you need to visit Athens, GA, the greatest college town in America (depending on the publication, we tend to vie with Madison, WI and the Texas capital city for that distinction). While Austin may erroneously claim the title of “Live Music Capital of the World,” name me a single band from Austin that has had ANY impact that approaches even half of what R.E.M. has achieved. Athens, the Classic City, is the epitome of cool, and our beautiful, historic North Campus and the city blend perfectly together.

    Know we’re excited to have you join us. Texas A&M and the state of Texas makes a great addition to our tight-knit conference. Maybe joining with you will come a friend in West Virginia or Virginia Tech. Who knows. But for right now, we’re fine with 13, and will worry about 14 later.

    1. So you have REM from Athens? That is your claim to fame? Hershel Walker is more important in history than REM. I would say Stevie Ray Vaughn is more famous and more talneted than REM. Spoon currently is more relevant than REM. Janis Joplin actually attended UT> Walter Cronkite is a graduate. Lady BIrd Johnson. Austin is called the Live Music capital because more bands play live in Austin year round than any city in the US. Also, there are a lot of Aggies that live in Austin and love the city even though they hate UT. So you can spare us the Austin is not a great city because UT is there and not a great music city becaue REM started in Athens. Lame comparison.

    2. So because of R.E.M. Athens is the “Live Music Capital of the World?” Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Janis Joplin, Grupo Fantasma, Gohstland Observatory. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of music venues in Austin. I’ve been to Athens many times while living in Atlanta, and I have lived in Austin. The only way you can compare the two cities is that Athens is a cute little version of Austin. I would take the music, nightlife, and restaurants over Athens any day of the week.

      Also, there is really no reason to ever go to Tuscaloosa or Auburn. Ole Miss on the other hand, I would recommend that.

    3. Are you people serious??? No wonder your conference sucks so much academically…..you really do believe your schools exist for football…well maybe we haven’t been winning national titles lately…but considering 8 Big Ten Universities are in the top 30 nationally in medical schools…I guess I know where I want to go if I get sick! Oh by the way…My school has ALSO won 7 National titles, 7 Heisman Trophies ans our stadium seats 106,000 people EVERY GAME!!! and by the way…..Urban Meyer(2 titles at UF) and Nick Saban (3titles: 2at Alabama & 1 at LSU)
      THEY ARE BOTH FROM O-H-I-O….no question you guys are good…but we are not bad either…..especially when we plat Texas A&M in bowl games!!
      GO BUCKS!!!GO BIG TEN!!! on to the FINAL FOUR!!!

    1. We at Georgia have a larger local rights deal than Florida.

      In the SEC, we share everything but local rights deals. So, you make that deal for yourselves, and reap those benefits (your local rights deals will go through the roof with y’all in the SEC).

      The difference is, compared to the Big12, is that we share EVERYTHING ELSE equally. And no team can create their own cable television network to screw over the other teams in the conference.

      1. “And no team can create their own cable television network to screw over the other teams in the conference.”

        THAT’s the distinction. If you’ll notice, A&M never had a problem with the Longhorn Network in theory – our president only brought up the issues that were unfair (high school games, ESPN pushing conference games onto the LHN).

      1. Do you think third tier rights revenue should be shared? Seems like A&M would be at a disadvantage based on the #s in your article from May.

  4. Although not a Texas fan I have to admit that what put Austin on the map was the Musicians playing many different styles blendy together at very intimate settings. Other than that agree with everything.

  5. Kristi,

    You should make it down to CS for a game this year. The OK State game should be a nice atmosphere, unless you’re free on Thanksgiving.

    1. P. Ryan did you just audit an econ 101 class? I could spend considerable time just dekunbing your tardonomics, but let’s deal with football conferences here. Are there conferences? Check! Just clicked on ESPN’s website and yep they’re there! Do they have any authority? Hmmm, last i knew they had the authority to schedule, fine, distribute revenue, suspend, assess those kinds of things. So yeah a little bit.Dude don’t lecture us on socio-economic and political concepts you obviously no little about I we won’t make fun of you for subscribing to The New Republic!

  6. Thanks. and a lot of the same information applies to visiting College Station. We hope you all come. we are used to some big visitor allotments, it’s just usually only for t.u. and NU or OU. But we can accommodate you all and welcome you to come. Our tailgate action might not be quite as “wild” as some of yours, but it is pretty big and absolutely the friendliest you will find…seriously, as a visitor just walk up to any large tailgate group even wearing opposition colors and you will be welcomed to join in…just pitch a few bucks in the bowl/pitcher to cover any beer and eats you might enjoy. Ags will say “howdy” to you all over the place, don’t be alarmed it’s a friendly gesture. Our hotels also do book up a year in advance as well…it’s a small college town and hotels are a premium. Expect to stay 30 miles away if you wait too long. We travel pretty well and I think the excitement of the first few years will mean plenty of Ags going on road trips. The whole SEC first thing and equals may take us some time to adjust too…..we are used to inequity and backstabbing. But we’ll try our best to adapt. Gig ‘em. Mark ’89. Whoop!!!! SEC here we come!!!!

  7. What great posts – Kristi and Matthew!! Ag’s have wanted this for about 20 years. We just sold out season tickets, donations are up (and are expected to explode when we officially announce we’re moving to the SEC) as are memberships to organizations who help our athletics TMF (12th Man Foundation).

    To all those in the SEC, we’re very much looking forward to meeting y’all!!! We are anticipating great new friendships, great food, great times, great tailgating, oh… and great games! I’ve lived in Dothan, AL for 2 years and know it’s all about pork for y’all, but we believe brisket will grow on you =) I know pulled pork wasn’t what I expected when I got there but love it now. Btw, I have a really funny story about when I first moved to ‘bama and went to the local Winn-Dixie; I spose I’ll tell that at a tailgate or something. That yellow BBQ sauce in the Carolina’s kinda blew me away. Just know that Texans like the sauce maroon and hot first with a slightly sweet finish. BBQ is mostly done with Pecan and Mesquite wood and it all goes down best with a Shiner beer. Sorry, BBQ’ing is a passion of mine – almost as much as Aggie football.

    Speaking of which, as Matthew stated, we have a lot of traditions. Some of these incldue: silver taps, Aggie muster, bonfire, fish camp, midnight yell, and elephant walk. If you haven’t seen the Noble Men of Kyle at half-time, you’re in for a treat. Football is a great tradition too http://youtu.be/ABP73AQtUkQ and http://youtu.be/IWaiydzlt1E and http://youtu.be/TG2RFyNMS4k. You’ll see some old video footage of some of our history with SEC teams (LSU, Bama, Auburn and UGA). Oh, and before Reggie Bush; there was Rodney Thomas =)

    See y’all soon… it’s been a long time coming!

  8. Matthew,

    Thanks for the inspiring post. It’s good to hear someone that is welcoming us in with open arms. After all, all of the media outlets are bashing us right now, it’s good to have someone on our side

    1. Someone? Justin, don’t pay attention to ESPN’s slanted coverage of this situation (they did just give Ugly Orange 300 mil, right?)

      You now have the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina on your side now!

      That’s more than just someone! Welcome to the family!

      1. Aggholes will travel the first season in the SEC> Then after they get the mudsnot kicked out of them they will not travel at all. Tech travels better than Aggroid does. You will be impressed by the CS home atmosphere. It is the closest thing to SEC in the Big 12-2. But in actuality it ends there. They only travel within 200 miles of their territory. Probabvly because they don’t want to spend the money to see their team get “whooped” . 2012 will be the last time you see agg on enemy turf. mark my words. Aggholes will not travel to anywhere outside of games they think they can absolutely win.

  9. Wow…it’s amazing to be able to come read the comments section of an article and actually read cordial, well thought out comments rather than the trash you read from Big 12 fans who know next to nothing about football or how to be a proper fan of their school. The Big 12 never had any camaraderie, I guess because a lot of the schools only started playing each other when the conference was formed. I think I’m going to personally enjoy this move quite a bit.

      1. So I guess you are just ignoring the fact that Aggsies made an agreement and signed a contract last year so that they would stay in the Big12-2 for more money. CUrrently A&m recieves more than any other member in the big12-2. that was what was agreed to when they threatened to leave last year. Now all of the sudden they claim that because of the LHN they are mad and leaving. It’s an unfair advantage. THey want equal treatment. However, when the agg AD published a statement yesterday, he said he would have done the same thing Texas did if he had the chance. I love how Aggholes refuse to see facts when speaking out of their rears. Get the facts. the LHN does not only benefut the football team. It is 300 over 20 years for the university. Not just he football program. That does fine on it’s own. It was no1 in revenue last year without a winning season, and without the LHN money. Does that hurt aggie feelings as well?

  10. Good article Kristi. A&M will be a good fit in the SEC especially in the rooting for your conference area. I have no illusions that playing in the Sec West is going to be anything but a rude awakening when it comes to winning. However, in the SEC a rising tide lifts all boats and what is unquestionable is that all SEC teams (except Vandy) dominate everyone outside the SEC ( I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see LSU mangle Oregon.) Furthermore, non-conference SEC wins add to the power and prestige of the conference.

    I hope the SEC enjoys getting to learn about and enjoy game day at Texas A&M. A&M has many traditions that are totally unique. I promise there is no place like it in all of college football. Gig’em

  11. Brando is a great example of what we have to deal with in the Big 12. This family like atmosphere I have seen over and over again from the SEC is VERY VERY refreshing. Can’t wait!

  12. Thanks for the article, Kristi — that was a fun read! And welcome to the SEC, Aggies! Y’all hurry up and get that little bump in the road with Baylor worked out so you can join us. It sounds like you will be a great “fit” with the other schools here in the SEC. We look forward to it!

    ~NBG

  13. forgot to tell them that LSU will pull off a heartbreaking miracle play every other year… ehh Welcome to the SEC don’t be afraid to do the sec chant when you beat tu… go gators

  14. So, it looks like Texas and Oklahoma (and maybe OSU, as well) are leaning towards the PAC 12. Any thoughts, Aggies?

    ~NBG

  15. My only thought is if t.u. joins the Pac-12 what happens to the LHN? I’ve read tu is going to keep it but share the revenue evenly if it makes below a certain point and keep an unequal amount if it makes above a certain point. It’ll be interesting to see if the Pac-12 lets tu and their unequal revenue poison into their system.

    As for the likelihood of OU, OSU and Texas Tech going to the Pac-12 this comes as no surprise. We’ve known it was a possibility since last year and have been expecting this would happen once OU announced last week their board of regents were meeting to discuss conference realignment. OSU is joined at the hip with OU, so they’ll go wherever big brother wants to. For Texas Tech to go to the Pac-12 they’re probably dependent on tu going to. Otherwise if tu keeps the Big-12 together Tech will probably stay put, but I expect they’d be very nervous about it.

    Assuming the Big-12 folds, It’ll be interesting to see if Mizzou joins the SEC and/or see if the rest of the Big-12 gets together with the Big East.

    At least Baylor will be off our backs now. I don’t think they’re foolish enough to sue tu, OU, OSU and TT for ditching the Big-12. Now maybe A&M will soon be officially accepted into the SEC. I’m looking forward to the new rivalries, but Aggie football is going to be a lot tougher in 2012.

  16. When you beat The University of Texas this year, dont forget to chant SEC, SEC, SEC. Its done after a win over a non-conference opponent.

  17. As a lonely Aggie fan in Florida for the last 21 years, I can’t wait to watch my team play with the big boys week in and week out. SEC fans: You will love the visit to College Station.

  18. Seems like the SEC might be in a unique position to lead college football fandom into a more congenial and hospitable relationship between fans of different universities. Haven’t seen the tailgating, but maybe the factors that could counteract hooliganism are southern hospitality and barbecue. Maybe there should be social networking sites that link up fans of the various SEC universities for game parties. Maybe that could spread to other conferences…

  19. Reading this in 2013..boy were your wrong! Also…most conferences root for their conference members when playing outside their league. The Big Ten is well over 100 years old…we have huge universities with BIG alumni bases. Being an Ohio State grad…we travel to the ends of the earth to follow our Buckeyes. That is why everyone always wants the Big Ten in their bowl games. The SEC plays most of their games in their own neighborhood…..When I was in college…we drove over 7,000 miles in one season following our Bucks…including a trip to the Rose Bowl. Check out the size of our stadiums and the yearly attendance. We…Michigan…Penn State…ALL WELL OVER 100,000 sold out EVERY Game… by the way…we turned down over 20,000 season ticket requests! Both conferences are all for one with equal sharing. Northwestern gets the same as U of M and OSU!! By the way…we also share research AND have the academics to go with it!!! Check out Big Ten vs SEC collegiate rankings!! GO BUCKS!!! GO BIG TEN!!!

  20. Sorry, Kerry, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard fans chant “Big Ten” in the stands the way SEC fans chant “SEC.” The examples you’ve given are great examples of why the Big Ten is a strong conference. Not the same as rooting for conference members though.

    1. I am not questioning the enthusiasm of SEC fans…I am merely stating that as a life long Big Ten fan, and an Ohio State grad, that my experience tells me that most schools in a given conference will root for their fellow members when they play outside their conference. If for no other reason, than it makes their teams seem stronger.
      But I have seen fans get caught up in “Big Ten” chats….Even the current NCAA tournament post game press conferences has seen the like of Coach Izzo, and Matta, and Carrean priase the fellow teams of the Big Ten. We didn’t just start being proud of our conference. And by the way…our schools combine for literally 100′s of BILLIONS of $$ in research each year, for the betterment of mankind…AND THAT makes ALL of our lives better!!! Go Bucks!!!Go Big ten!! (hope Charles Barkley is reading. )
      Understand…I do not mean to belittle other conferences..I AM JUST TIRED of the “dissing” of of the Big Ten.
      Remeber the SEC football coaches who have won those 6 National Championships are ALL THREE from OHIO STATE and MICHIGAN!!

    2. You still keep missing the point that…for example….RIGHT NOW All Big Ten schools are rooting for our conference to win in the NCAA. The country’s toughest basketball conference, with FOUR teams in the Sweet 16…has all of our school’s support. Believe me…Michigan is our ARCH RIVAL (has been for over a century)…but I am shouting Go Blue this weekend in the tournament.
      And by the way…don’t tell me Big Ten fans never shout Big Ten at games….I was the Fiesta Bowl when we won the National Championship….EVEN Coach Tressel made reference to our conference’s pride!!!
      My only pont in the first place was that most conferences (not just the SEC) root for each other…don’t you thing there is pride in the ACC for their teams to do well….or Big East basketball…..
      Go out to the Rose Bowl, where the Big Ten and Pac 12 have a history in that bowl game that goes back 80 years (older the the SEC) and attend the Champion’s Banquet where all the Big Ten Schools celebrate the conference champion ( I HAVE BEEN THERE!!!!!)
      No one school, or conference has a monopoly on pride…but you are doing a good job of cornering the arrogance market. And by the way…winning streaks run in cycles….enjoy today…for tomorrow another will rule…but always respect your opponents…without them there would just be you…and it is no fun “beating yourself!”
      Go Bucks!!!Go Big Ten!!!

      1. I think you’ve totally misunderstood me. I’m not saying other schools and conferences don’t have conference pride. I’m saying it’s more pronounced in the SEC in terms of rooting for other conference members. It’s a phenomenon that’s been talked about and written about extensively. Try this one: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6936235/s-e-c-s-e-c-s-e-c. I’m not even saying it’s a good thing. A Yankees fan would never cheer for the Red Sox just because they’re in the same division.

      2. Sorry….I get what you are saying….I am a little defensive about the SEC “hoopla!” I get that RIGHT NOW they are on top. I also get that all of their national championships have been won by coaches Meyer, Saban and Miles that are from Ohio State and Michigan…coach Meyer has come home!!! This dissing on the Big Ten is a bit much….Let us realize two factors…..ONE: the population shift is to the south…soooo more recruiting down there….and TWO: Academically……Big Ten schools are better. But….it is not just about football (even at Ohio State). Look at our basketball, wrestling, hockey, etc…..I AM A BUCKEYE AND I AM PROUD TO SAY SO….how many other schools are great in both b’ball and football….for over 50 years!!!!

  21. I would like to evolve in my statements a little. I have reread all of these posts and I guess my REAL complaint is not with SEC fans, but with other BIG TEN schools….We do have some great fans bases….UM, Nebraska, UW, Penn State, and of course THE Ohio State University….but we are probably the only school that has THAT much passion…The Bucks have carried the mantel for the Big Ten for the last 14 years now. (Remember: we have the most BCS bowl WINS and appearances…played for 3 national championships and won one….beaten Michigan 10 times in last 12 years etc.) MAYBE OHIO STATE should have joined the SEC and Missouri should have gone to the Big Ten….How powerful what that have been?? Still a Buckeye…..off probation and ready to continue our undefeated
    season of last year and play for this yea’s national BCS championship.
    p.s. next stop for us THE FINAL FOUR in b’ball!!!!

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