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Meet Texas A&M; You Already Know Some of Their Friends // SEC 2012: The New SEC

Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings have held your job before. No pressure.
Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings have held your job before. No pressure.

Looking at the SEC's newest teams and how they fit in

Texas A&M's Most Common SEC Opponents
First Meeting Last Meeting Record vs.
Arkansas 1903 2011 24-41-3
LSU 1899 2010 20-27-3

It's not that Texas A&M isn't new to the SEC -- clearly it is. But it's not really all that new to the SEC, or at least a portion of it. There are two SEC teams that have played the Aggies at least 50 times -- and that doesn't count fellow Big 12 emigrant Missouri, which actually has only met A&M a dozen times in football.

That makes TAMU an odd addition to the SEC in this regard: Neither South Carolina nor Arkansas, added in the 1990s expansion, had played 50 or more times against any team in the SEC when they joined. (South Carolina was close with Georgia and Arkansas with LSU, but neither had quite hit the mark.) Missouri hasn't played any SEC team with the exception of A&M even 10 times.

So in some ways, you can argue that Texas A&M is more of a cousin to the SEC than an adopted family member. And it doesn't stop with the games that have been played between the Aggies and Razorbacks, or the Aggies and the Tigers (La.), or even the Aggies and the Bulldogs (both varities, tied for a distant third among current SEC members by having met A&M five times).

Here are a few coaches' names you might recognize from Texas A&M's annals of coaching lore: Jackie Sherrill, Gene Stallings, Dennis Franchione. Oh, and some guy named Paul Bryant. The only one of those coaches to go from the SEC to College Station was Dennis Franchione, and I somehow think that Alabama fans are okay with that, in retrospect.

(There are also some interim coaches that should be named here. Dana Bible coached three games for LSU in 1916 before heading to A&M, where he led the Aggies to five conference championships in 11 seasons. And Guy Darnell, an interim Florida coach in 1989 after the final implosion of the Galen Hall Era, was interim coach for A&M at the Alamo Bowl after Franchione was fired in 2007.)

The biggest names on that list, of course, are Bryant and Stallings; both won national titles at Alabama after very different records at Texas A&M. Stallings had one winning season and spent 19 years largely in the NFL before taking over in Tuscaloosa. Bryant had only one losing seasons and didn't lose more than three games in his other three years in College Station.

Now, of course, Texas A&M will never serve as a sort of training school for SEC coaches; it will be a place where coaches come to try themselves out in the SEC. And since the Aggies are a fellow member now, we can say that Alabama really does owe them more than Dennis Franchione in return for Stallings and Bryant.