Only a few years after the Longhorn Network led to Texas and Texas A&M discontinuing their storied football rivalry, the Aggies will celebrate the launch of a new network favoring them.
ESPN, which also owns the Longhorn Network, is making the rounds across the country to publicize the launch of its new SEC Network. The July 16 Dallas party at Gilley's will feature A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and more than 1,500 Aggie alumni. If you hoped to snag a ticket at the door, you're out of luck. The event is sold out.
Former Dallas Cowboys star Marcus Spears will host the network's signature show SEC Nation with Tim Tebow.
The SEC Network goes live in August with a 20-year agreement running to 2034. AT&T U-Verse will be the first provider to offer the channel, which allows A&M to escape the rather large shadow cast by the Longhorns.
Former Dallas Cowboys and LSU defensive end Marcus Spears will host the signature show SEC Nation with former Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow. Spears says he has seen a change that has benefited both the SEC conference and Texas A&M since the Aggies joined.
“What Texas A&M brought to the SEC was the spread offense,” Spears says. “Before, you had schools recruiting big, rugged defensive players who could stop the run. Now you have linebackers having to cover wide receivers, so you have to recruit different.”
During their first season as part of the SEC, the Aggies produced a Heisman-winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel. That exposure, coupled with football issues down in Austin, allowed Texas A&M to dominate the past two years of in state recruiting. Spears says that the SEC move will only strengthen the Aggies’ recent domination of Texas recruiting.
“When I played in the NFL, there were times when I would be on the field with 10 other guys from the SEC,” Spears says. “If you want to be on television every Saturday and covered well by the media and have the best chance to go to the NFL, high school recruits know to go to the SEC.”
Now the conference gets its own television network to help further expose teams, including Texas A&M, to other areas of the country. That’s not to say the Longhorns will go quietly into the night. Charlie Strong has big plans to return the program to its former glory. For this week, however, the Aggies and SEC will celebrate a match made in heaven.