There is no doubt that conference expansion has caused hard feelings between certain schools. Pitt and WVU had their share of finger pointing when the Panthers announced they would be leaving the Big East for the ACC. But the biggest expansion related riff continues to be between Texas A&M and the University of Texas. Once the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC it was made clear that the in-state rivalry between A&M and Texas was dead. The sentiment has apparently been reinforced by the SEC.
According to Chip Brown of HornsDigest.com, citing multiple sources, the SEC has informed all bowls that have Big 12- SEC tie-ins that the Conference would not support a postseason matchup between the two schools. What this does essentially is handcuffs the Liberty and Texas Bowls, both of which pit the Big 12 vs the SEC. The reasoning behind the reported refusal from the SEC revolves around recruiting. With Texas and Texas A&M competing for the best Texas high schools have to offer a UT win could potentially hurt A&M recruiting in the future.
With Texas A&M currently sitting at 5th in the SEC West and Texas sitting at 4th in the Big 12 the possibility of the two playing was real. However, with that now seemingly out the window it could shake up which bowls select which teams. If either the Liberty or Texas Bowls select Texas rest assured Texas A&M will not be their opponent.
So what could this mean for the Mountaineers? Simply put, WVU could see themselves in a bigger bowl game simply because A&M and the SEC refuse to play Texas. With WVU resorting back to their recruiting pipelines of western PA, Ohio, and Florida there is no threat of losing recruits to WVU if the Mountaineers were to play and beat the Aggies in a bowl game. Pay close attention to bowl predictions in the coming weeks, especially revolving around SEC schools. There is a possibility the Mountaineers could be seeing the Aggies on December 29th in either the Liberty or Texas Bowl no matter the final conference standings for each school. Interestingly enough, Phil Steele, in his latest predictions, put Texas vs Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl with WVU in the Liberty Bowl.
It should be noted that the SEC handpicks which of their schools play in each of the Outback, Gator, Belk, Liberty, and Texas Bowls. With this said, could the SEC dictate who WVU plays in their bowl game? The obvious answer is yes.
below is an exert from Brown’s story:
Two sources close to the situation told HornsDigest.com SEC officials have indicated to bowls with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins that the SEC won’t support a Texas vs Texas A&M postseason matchup. In short, A&M has too much to lose from a potential loss.
Right now, the Aggies and Kevin Sumlin are seen as the school to beat in the Lone Star State in recruiting. Why risk diminishing that status with just more than two months until National Signing Day?
Especially when UT and A&M have been head-to-head on so many key recruits.
Because the SEC handpicks which of its schools will play in the Outback, Gator, Belk, Liberty, Music City and Texas bowls, the conference known as the biggest, baddest bully on the block can make sure no fight is made unless they say it’s made.
information from this article courtesy of HornDigest.com