Texas football had it pretty good in its state for a number of years.
The other schools in the state of Texas were fine, but didn't stand out. They were in the same conference as the Longhorns, battling for the same recruits, and there was really no reason to go anywhere but Texas. It was Texas, that's the state's team, and the others were battling for second.
Texas A&M's move to the SEC may have totally changed the landscape. A school finally differentiated itself, in a major way. The commitment of top quarterback Kyle Allen is just another sign that the game might be changing in the Lone Star State.
Realignment was a pain for most college fans, who had to sit by while school presidents chased paychecks at the expense of everything in the sport, but the one move that made sense was Texas A&M to the SEC. The Aggies have a different pitch now. They can sit in a recruit's living room and ask if they want to come play in the greatest conference in college football. What is Texas going to counter with, a trip to Ames, Iowa?
Texas A&M struck gold with its dynamic new coach and his fun offensive system (Kevin Sumlin) and a marketable superstar who has the attention of everyone watching college football (Johnny Manziel). Announcing a massive stadium renovation that will put Kyle Field among the top venues in the sport doesn't hurt either. And the seismic win at Alabama last year only made it easier to get recruits' attention. Texas A&M currently has Rivals' No. 1 recruiting class for the class of 2014. That will change dramatically over the next few months, but it's pretty clear Texas A&M is one of the few schools with a legitimate chance for the top spot after signing day. Getting Allen, the No. 1 ranked pro-style quarterback in next year's class, is a great sign for the Aggies. With the in-state talent available to the Aggies and the SEC and Sumlin to pitch, they have the chance to be a monster in the recruiting world for a while.
Texas is doing fine in recruiting too, with the third-ranked class right now. But it might not be so easy for the Longhorns as it once was. Texas has had a few mediocre seasons, and now has to contend with an up-and-coming program in its own state. Texas has been the king in the state forever but things change fast, especially when so much of a program's success is based on the whims of 17- and 18-year-old high-school players.
Texas has tradition. Texas A&M is the hot program right now. Of all the subplots in college football, Texas A&M's attempt to finally overtake Texas as the top program in the state is one of the more interesting. The Longhorns better be taking the challenge seriously, or they're going to get passed by without knowing it. The Allen commitment isn't an aberration.