Paul Finebaum says Texas joined SEC out of jealousy over Texas A&M’s success

The longtime SEC journalist set the record straight on the Longhorn’s envy of Texas A&M football over the past decade.
Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; SEC network host Paul Finebaum looks on before the 2022 Peach
Dec 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; SEC network host Paul Finebaum looks on before the 2022 Peach / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Finebaum: Texas saw Texas A&M football’s success in the SEC and “said ‘we want some of that’”

In a recent appearance on That SEC Football Podcast, Paul Finebaum went into detail on the dynamic between Texas A&M football and the Longhorns joining the SEC. Surprising absolutely no one who knows anything about these two programs, the move was precipitated by the school in Austin’s envy over Texas A&M football’s success in the Southeastern Conference.

"A&M was so successful in the SEC… that Texas said ‘we want some of that.’ "

Paul Finebaum

This has been an open secret for quite some time, but this is confirmation from a journalist well-acquainted with the inner workings of this conference. The Longhorns couldn’t stand being outshone by their neighbors 90 miles to the east, so they tucked tail and begged the SEC to take them in. Luckily for them, it was a good time to do so; the game of thrones that conference realignment has become was just about to kick off, and the SEC saw opportunity.

Another revealing insight that Finebaum shares here has to do with the infamous “gentleman’s agreement” that A&M apparently received about Texas never joining the conference.

"“[A&M] felt they were promised that [Texas] would never come in. And they were promised Texas would never come in. But things change.”"

Paul Finebaum

Paul attributes this change to the success that A&M had in the conference. Reading between the lines of what he’s saying here, the national spotlight and stage that the Aggies occupied after jumping from Big 12 to SEC made the Longhorns so sick that they would do just about anything to make their way to that same place, even forgoing other opportunities—like, as Paul outlines, the Big 10, the ACC, or the now-defunct PAC-12.

He mentions that Texas was headed to the PAC-12 back in 2010, desiring to align themselves academically with the west coast institutions. The predictable obsession with image notwithstanding, these plans were dashed when they realized that A&M wasn’t actually under their thumb and the Aggies moved to the nation’s premier football conference.

Longhorns won’t like this one. They’re likely not used to representatives of the conference they occupy—both those formal and informal—airing out their dirty laundry. But the SEC is a different animal—it’s bigger than just one school or one brand. This is the big leagues now. You can’t get away with the same stuff that you did back in the Big 12.

Time will tell if this was a wise move for Texas. It’s far easier to talk a big game than to actually go out and get results on the field. Certainly, the Horns fans feel bullish after the year they just had, but until you go out and make it happen this fall, it’s an open question.