Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: College Softball

How competitive will Texas A&M be if it joins the SEC?

Photo: Texas A&M fans. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic of the day. Weigh in with a comment of your own.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

The idea of Texas A&M joining the Southeastern Conference isn’t sending shivers down the backs of  SEC coaches and fans, at least not yet.

To be fair, until recently, the Aggies haven’t been relevant in the college football landscape for the last decade. However, with the recent upswing in the program the addition of A&M could be good for both the school and the conference.

The school gets better exposure with games being played on national television almost every weekend while also adding an increase in revenue. The SEC would gain traction in the state of Texas for recruiting and fan base.

Texas A&M would probably join the SEC West, which means they will have to compete against the Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn. If the Aggies, who were 9-4 last season, had been in the SEC West in 2010 they would have finished fifth or sixth in the division.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

Great question. You wonder if Texas A&M’s leadership has even gotten that far in weighing the pros and cons of deserting the Big 12.
We know that what’s fueling this move is the Aggies’ inferiority complex to Texas. It’s certainly not a desire to form a rivalry with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
Bottom line, the Aggies have been only marginally competitive in the Big 12 for the last 15 years. They’ve won one bowl game since 1995, and that was sponsored by a furniture company.
The temptation is to say that with A&M moving up in class to the SEC the Aggies will get crushed like a folding chair under the weight of a Longhorn. But A&M is on the rise, now in the trusty hands of Coach Mike Sherman. And, hey, it’s hard to imagine them being less competitive than they have been in the Big 12.


Texas A&M says it's leaving the Big 12 Conference

Houston quarterback Case Keenum returns with new outlook

Photo: Standing throughout a game, ready to suit up and play if needed, is a tradition for fans at Texas A&M's Kyle Field. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Should college athletes be paid? HBO Real Sports will take a look at the issue

This week's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO will discuss the controversial topic of paying college athletes for what they do.

The show first airs Wednesday night at 10 p.m. PT. A sneak preview:

Question of the day: Are college sports ruined more by agents or coaches who want to win too much?

Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they're wrong.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Nick Satan (CQ) has done more than his fair share to suck the fun from college sports, the latest being his skirting of NCAA rules by hiring all those “quality control” and assistant strength coaches for his bloated staff. (They wouldn’t be there to supervise the players’ “voluntary” summer workouts; would they, Nick?)
But the man is right about agents. The unscrupulous ones ruin it for the guys who trying to follow the rules. The solution seems simple enough: Work with the NFL and the NFL Players Association to punish the rogue Jerry Maguires.
If you’re caught giving money to a player – or a buying a house for Reggie Bush – you’re banned from representing players for five years. End of story.

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

Sports agents have the stigma of being a specter overshadowing college athletics.
But a bigger shadow is cast by those college coaches who value winning above all else.

Concerns for academics and character building of the athletes are gone, replaced by the goal of winning. That is not the fault of the agent but the coach.

Coaches heap promises of playing time, national exposure, and championships, all the while searching for bigger and better things. They want the best players to provide them with the best chances to win.

Nick Saban’s rant against agents is ironic considering it was made after one of his players was implicated. Would he have been as passionate if we were talking about one of Urban Meyer’s players?

Probably not.

Question of the day: What’s the greatest rivalry in sports?


Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they're wrong.

Andrew Wagaman, Allentown

The best rivalry in sports is in college because of the real affiliations to teams in addition to the national interest they garner.

Duke and UNC are only eight miles apart, yet the intensity based on the school pride of a relatively small number of students and alumni is embraced by an entire nation of fans.

The only thing I remember about one friend’s Bar Mitzvah is sneaking into the country club kitchen to watch overtime of one game. We were junior high kids with no real relationship to either team, yet something about seeing those Cameron Crazies made us want to either join them or hate them.

College football has so many such rivalries that one doesn’t really distinguish itself from the others. Duke and UNC have won four of the last 10 national championships, so the rivalry is relevant, too.

It’s the best in college sports and thus the best in all of sports. 

Updated at 11:23 a.m.

Dave Johnson, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press

The easy answer would be Army-Navy or the Red Sox-Yankees. Or maybe LeBron James-Dan Gilbert-Jesse Jackson.

But let’s pick a rivalry that goes back five decades and has decided 12 championships. One that’s featured Hall of Famers and packed the stands with annoying celebrities.

We’re talking, of course, the Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the old days, it was Cousy and Russell vs. Baylor and West. In the ‘80s, Bird took on Magic. And in two of the last three NBA Finals, it was The Big Three vs. Kobe.

The TV audience for Game 7 last month was the largest in 12 years.

OK, maybe it’s not as intense as when McHale clotheslined Rambis and Bird jawed with Kareem. But it still rules.

Updated at 11:57 a.m.

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

Let's sum up the greatest rivalry in sports with two words: Babe Ruth.

Arguably the most famous athlete of the 20th century, the Bambino is at the heart of sports' best rivalry. When the Red Sox sold Ruth to the Yankees in 1919, the key was turned and a century of hatred was ignited. It took the Red Sox 86 years before they won a World Series. And for much of that time, the Yankees were winning titles and establishing themselves as one of the most successful franchises in sports.

From Williams vs. DiMaggio to Fisk vs. Munson, from Bucky Dent's home run to Curt Schilling's bloody sock, this rivalry has more memorial moments and unforgettable games than any other. And this isn't manufactured. Players from various generations have talked about their disdain for the other side — just look at the number of on-field brawls between the teams.

In the stands, it's always been dangerous to wear visiting garb in Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. The fan bases rub up against each other in Southern New England and we've seen how heated things can get when the teams are playing. Even now, Yankee paranoia is passed from one generation to the next in Red Sox families while dismissing the Red Sox is seemingly bred into Yankee fans.

These days, the franchises stalk one another 12 months a year and fans wonder how each team will respond to the other in the rivalry's game within a game. So after more than 100 years, our little regional duel is showing no signs of cooling.

Photo: North Carolina's Raymond Felton, right, gets the loose ball from Duke's Lee Melchionni of Duke on February 9, 2005 in Durham, North Carolina. Credit: Ellen Ozier / Reuters. 


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: