You can either sit from afar, or take a risk with a chance at greatness. Texas and Oklahoma chose the latter, and for good reason.
Everything is now official for the future of the Southeastern Conference. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining after a 14-0 from the current schools to allow the programs to join. As of now, the two schools will join on July 1, 2025.
That could be coming sooner following the fallout from the Big 12's remaining eight programs.
Things will rapidly change on the Forty Acres. Then again, maybe that's a good thing. The Longhorns have been looking for their first conference title since 2009. They've only finished with 10-plus wins since the Colt McCoy and Mack Brown era.
The state of Texas is defined by football. People across the country will sit down and watch programs like "Varsity Blues" or "Friday Night Lights" and believe this happens weekend in the Lone Star State.
Texas is looking to be "back" for the first time in a decade. They're not back, but they're moving forward.
At least they hope they will.
Gone are weekend to Fort Worth and Waco. Enter Saturdays in Death Valley and the Swamp. Goodbye Red Raiders, hello Crimson Tide. Tigers and Tigers and Tigers, oh my?
Oh, and if you think the "Horns down" trend was brutal in Big 12 land, try telling SEC Country to tone it down.
Is Texas ready to join the conference where “It Just Means More?"
They better. They asked for it.
Two things should help with the transition over to the conference that could be considered the NFL's pipeline. First, their new head coach is Steve Sarkisian. Second, is their ability to recruit.
One can see a change in Sark's ability to lead a program. He brought Washington from an 0-12 record to three straight bowl games. With Alabama as their offensive coordinator, find a defense that could them. The Tide ranked top five in nearly every offensive category during his two seasons.
In that same span, eight offensive players were drafted, including a pair of Heisman Trophy finalists. And wide receivers? Yeah, four now are playing on Sundays, including the first Heisman winner at the position since 1991.
Sarkisian will have a taste of life back in the conference when the Longhorns face Arkansas in Week 2. From there, he could see where the faults and flaws are.
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If Texas continues to remain a member of the Big 12 past this fall, they'll have two more chances in a home-vs-home series against his former team and boss, Nick Saban in 2022 and 2023.
As for recruiting, maybe this only helps. No, strike that, it certainly does.
Texas under Tom Herman finished with four top 15 classes, including two top-three finishes in 2018-19. Sarkisian already knows the grounds of the SEC land base, plus has ties to the west coast.
There are only three letters that can match the same excitement as the NFL — Texas just added that as a bonus in the brochure.
If fans want to take anything away, it doesn't help Texas A&M, who slowly has closed the gap in recruiting thanks to those letters being attached to their name. All that is about to change.
Sarkisian said at Big 12 media days that "winning is hard." It's only going to be harder in the SEC for years to come without time. For now, the Horns have it.
All that could change tomorrow.
Maybe Texas isn't ready for life in the SEC. Was Texas A&M? It was a Big 12 school that marched into Tuscaloosa, Ala. and took down the No. 1 team in the country. Their letters said one thing, but their players meant another.
Texas recruits like SEC programs. They now have a coach who was trained for the conference.
Anything else we missing?
The Horns have finished a $175 million expansion of Royal-Memorial Stadium. They also are upgrading the court with the new Moody Center come 2022. That too could help in recruiting, and making sure that in Year 1, everyone knows they are here to play.
As A&M begins to build itself as the next powerhouse contender in the SEC, the Longhorns crash the party. Maybe Texas takes the same amount of time to earn that respect.
Then again, having an SEC coach helps with the process — and could be the reason A&M is "little brother" once more.
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