by Mick Dumke
We’ve had a glimpse of what sort of president Rick Perry would be—the kind who’s not going to think before he recklessly says a few words that throw college conference alignments into chaos a mere three weeks before football season kicks off.
Incidentally, he also appears to be a casual fibber.
This all started last week, when the Texas governor was asked if he knew anything about the possibility of his beloved alma mater, Texas A&M, leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
“I'll be real honest with you,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “I just read about it the same time as y'all did.”
Then he added: “As far as I know, conversations are being had. That's frankly all I know.”
His comments sent the college sports world into a frenzy of speculation and debate. What happens if the ten-member Big 12 loses another school? Will Mizzou or another school join the 12-member Big Ten? Will the University of Texas become an independent in the vein of Notre Dame? Or will this start a domino effect that finally pushes the Irish into a conference too? What outcome will Rick Perry pray for?
The Texas legislature hastily scheduled a hearing on A&M’s possible league shift, then hastily called it off when the SEC insisted it had no immediate expansion plans.
By that time Perry was long gone, having declared himself a presidential candidate and jetted off to woo conservatives in Iowa. While Iowa does have a school, Iowa State, that would have to find a new league if the Big 12 imploded, it’s unquestionably in Big Ten country, which is preoccupied at the moment with preparations for its first season with Nebraska, the last team to ditch out on the Big 12. Perry would be well-served to know that longtime Big Ten fans are distressed that the Huskers are picked to win the title in their first year in the conference.
Perry’s comments on A&M didn’t get much attention from the national political reporters in Iowa. Too bad, because despite what he’d said, Perry hadn’t been real honest.
When he confirmed that conversations between A&M and the SEC were under way, Perry contradicted what he’d told the Morning News a few seconds earlier—he did in fact know more about it than what the rest of us had read.
And is it realistic to think that the governor of football-crazy Texas knew that talks were under way about one of its historic powerhouses switching leagues—but didn’t get any more details about it?
No, it’s not.
Personally, I don’t care which league the Aggies play in, as long as they lose. I would prefer that all teams from Texas, Alabama, and Florida lose all of their games. Unfortunately, this never happens—the big teams from these states play each other, so someone has to win. There is also the small, deeply troubling fact that they’re typically quite good.