Paul Finebaum: Longhorns joined SEC after seeing Aggies’ success

As the Texas Longhorns head to the SEC, many are still discussing the blockbuster move. One SEC college football analyst thinks the program made its decision based on its in-state rival.

Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network opined on That SEC Podcast that the Longhorns joined the SEC after seeing the Texas A&M Aggies succeed in the conference. The way in which the Aggies succeeded is up for debate, but it’s undeniable that the team saw a prestige boost in moving to the conference.

The highlights of Texas A&M’s SEC rise are as follows: The Aggies beat Alabama in 2012 and 2021, won an Orange Bowl in a one-loss season and secured what then was the perhaps greatest recruiting class in history after the 2021 season. The latter accomplishment is what most sets the Aggies apart from what the Longhorns accomplished the last decade.

While the wins over Alabama’s legendary head coach Nick Saban were impressive, Texas A&M is 2-10 against the Tide since moving to the SEC. The Aggies have one more win than the Longhorns do against the Crimson Tide in that span despite 10 more opportunities.

The Orange Bowl victory for Texas A&M came against North Carolina. Texas took home a New Years Six win in the Sugar Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs to cap the 2018 season. The Aggies have yet to beat Georgia as a member of the SEC.

Between the two teams, only Texas has a playoff appearance in that span after a breakout 2023 season. What separates the two is the SEC logo in recruiting.

Texas A&M has long been a force in recruiting and a strong brand, but its brand power grew dramatically when the team moved to its new conference. No longer were the Aggies a team that needed ties with the Longhorns to be relevant. The program became a stand alone brand due in large part to its alliance with college football’s top conference.

The SEC logo is a tiebreaker in recruiting. Several head-to-head recruiting battles have gone the Aggies’ way in recent seasons, and conference prestige likely played a huge role.

Whether they like to admit it or not, Texas’ move to the SEC is good for both parties. For awhile recruits have been able to choose Texas for the benefit of playing against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. They used to enjoy the added right of playing in the Lone Star Showdown.

The rivalry has the same effect for the Aggies. Now they have an in-state rival to end the season against every year. It has Iron Bowl potential if both teams maximize the talent that they recruit.

Texas A&M’s brand took off in its first season in the SEC with Heisman quarterback Johnny Manziel. Texas looks to have a similar boost in its first season in the conference.

Story originally appeared on Longhorns Wire