We have all pondered and dissected the news of likely SEC enlargement, especially from Texas and Oklahoma. Will Alabama move to the East? Will football go to a conference schedule for 9 games? But perhaps all of these details lack a key component in the potential move. Texas is increasing its already strong SEC – perhaps not in football, but in baseball.
Texas Longhorn’s baseball was an NCAA baseball powerhouse when the SEC was still trying to figure out the sport. Texas won 4 College World Series titles before the entire SEC won any. Texas ’37 College World Series appearances are the most in the sport – more than double SEC leader LSU’s 18 appearances. Overall, UT is still the second winning program in the sport’s history (3,649 wins in total, second only to Fordham), and boasts an astonishing 79 regular conference titles.
This is not to say that Texas is just ancient history. While UT has not won a College World Series since 2005, Horns has returned to Omaha 5 times since, including 2021, when the loaded SEC field (Mississippi State, Vandy, UT) was now to be a half SEC College World Series with Texas included in the conference. With Texas at the forefront, the Big 12 completed the No. 1 season among RPI conferences in 2017 and No. 2 between 2018 and 2021. And now the SEC can not only identify its best competition, it can also choose its power team.
Perhaps the more exciting angle is how UT agrees with the rest of the SEC. Texas is a power … but it has not had the last success of Vandy. They did not show the power of Arkansas, they lack the beautiful new stadium in Florida, and hey, it may be a stretch to have Austin envious of Starkville, but the 2021 CWS trophy that escaped the Longhorns is a pretty nice swag.
Texas that entered the SEC would be like Kansas basketball in a super conference or UConn women’s basketball somehow willing to play home conference series with all the teams that have won a title since last. If the SEC looks bold to add Texas, Texas looks straight bold to consider locking horns with the SEC.
More than win sums or CWS appearances, Texas potentially adds to the SEC with the overall element of pizazz. There are the late Augie Garrido and Disch-Falk Field. Roger Clemens is playing in an alumni game (still looks strangely strong in the late 50’s). It’s Ty Madden in 2021, who may have been as good as MSU’s now-legendary Will Bednar. There’s Hook ‘Em Horns and Austin and Tex-Mex food and good music and craft beer.
It’s baseball, and if it’s in the SEC, it might as well just lock the sport down completely. A few old legacies like Southern Cal and Florida State can continue to fight, but it’s completely pointless with an SEC including Texas. If you thought it already meant more, it’s going to mean even more if Texas is on board.