CHRIS MOORE — Longhorns No. 1 SEC opponent is a familiar one

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Texas Longhorns landed the commitment of the nation’s top quarterback prospect Arch Manning, which catapulted the Longhorns recruiting class with a swarm of prospects following.

The phrase “Texas is back” has been the butt of several jokes surrounding the program for many years. People began to use the phrase sarcastically after the Longhorns would do the most benign things like winning eight games or produce a good performance in a loss to a top-ranked team.

Earlier this year, the news broke that Texas and Oklahoma would move from the Big 12 Conference to highly competitive Southeastern Conference, which has had a team compete in 15 of the last 16 National Championship games. Texas and Oklahoma are expected to make the move in 2024, but some reports suggest the move could come next year depending on what the Big 12 decides to do.

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There seems to be a correlation between the rise of the SEC and the fall of Texas.

Texas recruiting took another hit when rival Texas A&M joined the SEC and seemed to have a renewed commitment to their football program. While the Aggies have had little to show for their jump from the Big 12, other than a couple of key wins against Alabama, there is little doubt of the recruiting impact.

Many are wondering how Texas and Oklahoma will fare against the SEC’s top talent like Georgia, Alabama and LSU. Texas will get a taste in Week 2 this season when they take on Alabama in non-conference play. While the eyes of Texas will be watching that matchup, the more important games for Texas will be the first few matchups against A&M. While the Aggies have always been little brother to Texas, they have been able to wrestle away some recruiting territory over the past decade.

The school is pretty aware that Texas joining the SEC could hurt the Aggies program, which is why there were numerous reports of A&M’s opposition to the move.

While most program allegiances are passed down, I do not know what the current high school recruits view the two programs given both of their identities over the past 10 years.

That fact makes the first years of these teams’ matchup all the more important. If Texas goes out and wins the first three contests, they will regain some grip back on recruiting in the state. If A&M can win against the Longhorns early, it might act as a shift in power. At the very least, we are about to see a lot of money thrown around these programs as neither wants to be embarrassed in front of company.

In the ESPN documentary “The Pony Excess,” the film shows how the rise of Southern Methodist University did not start on the field, but rather in Dallas board rooms in office buildings. The city’s elite, who often graduated from the top universities in the state and often donate back to their alma maters, would brag to each other about how their team played well on Saturday. Anyone who lives in Texas knows the same thing happens in regards to Texas and Texas A&M from office buildings all the way down to the Thanksgiving table. No one wants to see their team lose to the other, especially the people with deep pockets.

 

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.