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Big 12 football notebook: Texas A&M committed to conference

BY MIKE BALDWIN AND BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writers, mbaldwin@opubco.com; btramel@opubco.com Published: July 25, 2011

There have been constant rumors for more than a year that Texas A&M is considering bolting to the SEC, but athletic director Bill Byrne said Monday the Aggies are committed to the Big 12.

"It's good for all of us to stay together," Byrne said. "We have natural rivalries. We're in the same time zone... All I've thought about is making sure the conference stays together and everyone is treated fairly."

When asked why conference members haven't put anything in writing, Byrne didn't have a response.

UNLUCKY 13

Texas coach Mack Brown said important decisions will be made on personnel. The Longhorns also must endure growing pains from adapting to new offensive and defensive coordinators. Brown, though, stressed it's imperative the Longhorns move past last year's disastrous 5-7 finish.

"My wife told me there's most hotels that don't even have a 13th floor, and last year was my 13th year (at Texas) so I should have skipped it," Brown said. "Some people thought I did (skip it). It didn't work well, so we're starting over on year 14."

SOONER OKC CARAVAN STOP

The annual Sooner Caravan stop in Oklahoma City will be next Monday night at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Coaches Bob Stoops, Lon Kruger and Sherri Coale will attend and sign autographs beginning at 6:30 p.m.

AGGIES A TITLE CONTENDER

Texas A&M is ranked in the top 10 nationally in most preseason polls. The Aggies return eight starters on offense, but coach Mike Sherman said one reason he's optimistic is the defense should improve in the second season under defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter despite losing Von Miller.

"Our guys will have a lot more familiarity and knowledge of the defense and should be able to fit in a little bit better," Sherman said. "I don't think you replace a Von Miller, a No. 2 pick (in the NFL Draft) very easily with one player. We have to do it collectively, but I think we'll be able to do that."

LOW TEXAS EXPECTATIONS

The Longhorns were picked fifth in the media preseason poll.

“You guys make our players mad daily,” Brown said. "You motivate them first. One of them told me last night, ‘Do you know they picked us fifth in the league?' So there is a certain motivation when you tell kids they're not any good and they're not going to do anything and they're not in the top 10, the things they came to Texas for and that they've had, they lost this year.

QUARTERBACK U. AT MIZZOU

Gary Pinkel coached 12 years on the University of Washington staff. The Huskies produced five NFL quarterbacks during that time. In Pinkel's decade-plus as head coach at Missouri, that same QB lineage is developing.

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