Come October 9, you'll be able to hear the reverberations from Morgantown and Fort Worth, to Stillwater and Ames as, for the first time in the history of the Red River Rivalry, both Texas and Oklahoma will chant in unison.
It's going to be obnoxiously loud, extremely weird, yet something we're going to have to get used to. Because it's happening. Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 (possibly sooner than their contracts with the league expire in 2025) and will join the Southeastern Conference.
So what does this mean for the Longhorns? Some thoughts from an alum:
- My initial reaction strangely went to Chris Beard. You have to wonder if he knew about all of this prior to accepting the head basketball gig back in April and what factor that may have played in his decision to leave Lubbock for Austin. I think he was going to make the move regardless, but there had to have been some intrigue with a new conference and a new arena (The Moody Center).
- The Longhorns have long been considered viable contenders for five-star 2023 QB Arch Manning (New Orleans Isidore Newman), but does this move make them the favorites? I have no inside knowledge to say one way or the other, but I do know he likes Texas (a lot) and this move certainly has to keep the Longhorns in the thick of his recruitment for the long haul. Just imagine Manning, in a Longhorns uniform, taking the field in Knoxville or Oxford. Wild.
- Texas has to recruit better upfront. Period. The Longhorns have been losing battles for elite in-state linemen for too long and will have to recruit at an elite level here if they want to compete in the SEC. You've seen what A&M has been able to do up front (the Aggies' 2021 haul was insane), and what difference that has made for them. Kyle Flood is the right man for the job. He'll improve the line once their on campus, but he and the coaching staff must do a better job of getting the elite guys there on a more consistent basis.
- There are going to have to be some adjustments made to some of Texas' future schedules. The Longhorns are scheduled to host Alabama next season and return the favor with a trip to Tuscolosa in 2023. Could they be conference foes by then? They'll certainly need to find someone to replace the home-and-home scheduled with Georgia in 2028-29. Who should take their place? Gimme Baylor and TCU.
- Speaking of future schedules, that 2025 one has the potential of being one of the toughest in school history: There's already a trip to Ohio State scheduled. Add in annual battles with Oklahoma and Texas A&M, and then the potential of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, etc... yesh.
- Just when you thought Texas was done having to deal with Kim Mulkey, here she is... again. If you're a fan of basketball, you'll want to watch those annual battles between her LSU Tigers and Vic Schaefer's improving program.
- As much fun as the two "major" sports are going to be with Texas in the SEC, the sport I might be looking forward to the most is baseball. Baum-Walker Stadium, Dudy Noble Field, Vaught Hemingway Stadium, Blue Bell Park, Lindsey Nelson Stadium, to name a few. Having Texas travel to those parks on a regular basis, and those teams doing the same with The Disch, for meaningful conference games is going to be a treat for all involved.
- Speaking of Baum-Walker Stadium and Arkansas, anyone that remembers the SWC knows how heated this rivalry got. Don't sleep on this reunion, which will get an early jump on things this season.
- Is there a better AD in the country than Chris Del Conte? The impending move to the SEC, the facility upgrades, the tailored suits. He's been the best thing to happen to UT in a really, really long time. His guidance (and smart hires up and down the athletic roster) helped Texas win the Directors' Cup for the first time; Stanford had won the cup 25 consecutive times. He just gets it. Having his know-how heading into the mighty SEC will pay huge dividends.
Those are some of the main things that come to mind right now.
Am I forgetting anything pressing?
Oh, yes, Texas A&M.
It's about damn time.
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