Update: The billboard has since been taken down, and replaced with a sign from Clean Channel Outdoor, the owner of the billboard space. Safe to say, it was fun while it lasted
Give credit to Texas A&M: Ever since the perennial Big XII whipping boy decided to join college football’s best conference a year or so ago, they’ve done just about everything right. They went out and hired arguably the best coach on the market in Kevin Sumlin. They’re currently killing it on the recruiting trail. And they’ve sold more season tickets this year than ever before.
Simply put, Texas A&M is taking this whole “move to the SEC” thing seriously.
Seriously enough, apparently to start talking trash SEC style as well.
Well for those of you who didn’t hear, the Aggies made headlines on Tuesday morning when a Texas A&M-themed billboard just happened to pop up in Gainesville. It’s on the corner of 13th Street and 53rd Avenue, according to Chris Harry of GatorZone.com, and pulls no punches on its assessment on where the school stands in its new conference.
The billboard reads:
"You've Been Annexed By Aggie Nation," will smaller print below which says, "The Best Academics & Cleanest Program in the SEC. Real Football. Real Tradition."
Welcome to the SEC, Aggies!
Now, whether or not the billboard is entirely appropriate seems like another conversation for another day. In A&M’s defense, the billboard was not put up by the school. And besides, all this stuff is in fun, although it will certainly rub a lot of people the wrong way, not just in Gainesville, but also all across the SEC. After all, the other schools (except maybe Vandy) can live with the quip about the academics. But “the cleanest program” thing? You’ve got to be kidding me.
And actually, that’s the irony of it all.
As my good buddy Barrett Sallee of the Bleacher Report points out, A&M has actually been found guilty of major violations seven times, which is tied with Auburn for the most in any conference. Of course in their defense, they haven’t had a single run in with the NCAA since they joined the SEC.
And for those scoring at home, they’re actually not the best academic school in the SEC either. Vanderbilt is ranked as the No. 17 school in the country according to the US News and World Report. Texas A&M is 58th.
But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story, huh?
For all his opinion, insights and articles, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
For those not familiar with Texas A&M University, no self-respecting Aggie would have anything to do with the term Aggie Nation, refer to the trite term "Real Football" and NO ONE would support their team referring to it as the "Cleanest Program" unless they were aching for an NCAA investigation. On behalf of all Aggies we welcome the Gator fans where they will be treated by the most hospitable of SEC teams at Kyle field. We wish the Gators well this football season, except for September 8th.
The Aggies recruiting is a success only in terms of total numbers and not highly rated talent. They have recruited 28 players with no five star and only 9 four star players. In addition, the average star rating per player is the lowest of the top 14 rated teams. Numbers yes, quality no.