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Quick Slant: Texas A&M, Perception and a Tentative Farewell

I've been to College Station two times in my life.

One was for the game in 1998 (damn you, Randy Potter!), where I was the coldest and the wettest I've ever been in my life. I was in and out of town in 24 hours.

Flash forward about a decade, and I find myself spending a couple of days in College Station again as a finalist for a job in Student Activities at Texas A&M. I didn't get the job, but I had a wonderful time again.

Texas A&M is a special place. Yeah, it is easy to make fun of them and their traditions, as many here have done. It's not my m.o. but to each their own.

One of the more well known aspects of Texas A&M is the concept of the 12th man, and the fervor for football. For as much passion as Texas A&M has for their team, I would have assumed that A&M was claiming many national titles. Not as many as Alabama, maybe, but surely there are lots of titles.

Or just one.

In 1939.

Via the AP poll.

That's it. That's the list.

I admit that I was stunned to see that. A&M won several conference titles in the old Southwest Conference's early days, and a few in the waning days of the league. But the last conference title for the Aggies was in 1998 (over K-State) and the last top ten ranking before this season was in 1999.

For all intents and purposes, A&M has already been eliminated from BCS title contention this year (unless something truly crazy happens over the next five weeks) but they are still alive for the Big 12 title this season, in partial control of their own destiny thanks to the round robin format for conference play this year. I don't know if the goal for the Aggies this year was to win the BCS title or not, but one key piece to achieving that larger goal is still within reason.

This is A&M's last go-round in the Big 12, as they head off to the SEC after this season. Of course, it might be too soon to say that this is last time we will see the Aggies, as we may well be playing them next year. The road in the future might be tougher for the Aggies to navigate, and it will be interesting to see what kind of course the new path will provide.