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As A&M eyes the SEC, Rice’s band brings the ‘$EC’ to Texas

Think the Rice band has an opinion on the potential conference expansion frenzy that has taken over?

During its performance at halftime of Saturday night's Rice-Texas game in Austin, the Rice band spelled out "$EC," a not-so-thinly veiled shot at Texas A&M after the university announced its intentions to leave the Big 12 for (presumably) the SEC.

The Marching Owl Band, or "MOB," as it calls itself, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. And while that mark would be a cause for a different celebration for other bands, throughout its existence, the MOB has never taken time for reverence:

Even the Eighth Wonder of the World and Houston's beloved Astros haven't been safe from the MOB's ridicule.

In 1975, during a UH-Rice game, then-Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz took away the MOB's script halfway through the show.

"He didn't like what we were saying about the Astros, (which was) 'first in war, first in peace, last in the National League,' " said trumpet player John Gladu, who has been a member of the MOB since 1973. "He went down to the press box and shut it down."

Or maybe it was just a ploy to endear Rice to the resident power broker in the Big 12? Some believe Rice could be a long-shot candidate to replace Texas A&M if and when the Big 12 looks for a replacement, returning an old Southwest Conference rival in a major media market to the fold.

That's a very, very long shot, though, and the way things are shaping up, there may not be a Big 12 by the end of the season. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both appear to be openly plotting their escape, while OSU mega-donor T. Boone Pickens said he expects the Cowboys to move to the Pac-12. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott conceded Saturday that "schools have reached out to us."

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Hat tip: Eric Blumberg.
Nick Bromberg is a contributor to Racin' Today and Yahoo! Sports' From the Marbles. He's on Twitter: Follow him @NickBromberg.

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