Aggies fans haven’t shied away from flaunting their new SEC colors in a passive-aggressive anonymous kind of way. Kentucky fans know all about billboard wars, but Texas A&M fans have really cranked it up a notch from what was the friendly banter between the Cats and the Cards.
The controversy surrounding the actions of Texas A&M (or their boosters paying for the advertisements) began this offseason when this sign went up in Waco, Texas; home of the Baylor Bears, the outspoken institution against the conference realignment move of Texas A&M.
Another sign went up this summer in Austin, Texas; home of the Texas Longhorns, regarded as the Big XII conference bully that forced the moved of A&M to a new league when they signed their own television network deal.
And then news surfaced today that this sign that went up in Gainesville, Florida: Cocky, confident, and full of lies.
Let’s get to know our new SEC opponent by doing a little history lesson with them… Here are the SEC schools ranked by number of major infractions dating back to 1953 when the NCAA records of these infractions began. You’ll note Texas A&M is very much the “cleanest” program in the SEC, if this billboard went up on opposite day.
MAJOR INFRACTIONS IN THE NCAA SINCE 1953
Vanderbilt: 1 (2002)
Tennessee: 3 (1986, 1991, 2011)
Ole Miss: 3 (1959, 1986, 1994)
LSU: 3 (1986, 1998, 2011)
Arkansas: 4 (1965, 1997, 2003, 2007)
Missouri: 4 (1962, 1979, 1990, 2004)
Florida: 4 (1957, 1962, 1985, 1990)
South Carolina: 5 (1967, 1987, 1991, 2005, 2012)
Alabama: 5 (1964, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2009)
Mississippi State: 5 (1967, 1975, 1986, 1996, 2004)
Kentucky: 6 (1953, 1964, 1976, 1988, 1989, 2002)
Georgia: 6 (1978, 1982, 1985, 1997, 2004)
Auburn: 7 (1957, 1958, 1979, 1980, 1991, 1993, 2004)
Texas A&M: 7 (1957, 1966, 1969, 1977, 1988, 1991, 1994)
Next is the academic side which hardly needs mentioning. According to US News and World Report, Vanderbilt is far and away the top institution in the Southeastern Conference, checking in as the 17th-best University in the nation. It beat out the likes of Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon, and UC-Berkeley in the rankings.
Without question Texas A&M is no slouch in academics, but the irony in where they rank is too good to be true: a four-way tie at No. 58 with Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and… none other than the University of Florida in Gainesville. Right where the billboard went up, bragging about being the best program in the SEC.
It’s important to note that Texas A&M University insists it had nothing to do with this sign, and University officials say in a statement they are disappointed in the message it sends. The billboard has since been removed and Texas A&M says they are investigating where the sign originated.
Regardless of the University’s intent, there are Aggie fans out there that think like this. Now I can’t think of many scenarios where Kentucky fans should root for the Gators, but when Florida visits College Station on Saturday afternoon there won’t be a better time to pull for our long-time SEC East foes to put a good old fashioned beat down on the new guy.