STILLWATER — Texas A&M isn’t supposed to be this bad. An elite team always in the national title hunt? The Aggies aren’t that type of program. But they’re certainly not supposed to be Baylor in a bad year.
Yet that’s the look of the Aggie team that visits Boone Pickens Stadium at 6 tonight as a substantial underdog to No. 21 Oklahoma State. It’s hard to understand how a program that has everything it needs to compete at the highest level — money, facilities, tradition, fans — could fall to these depths. But there are plenty of theories. Maybe it’s a product of the transition under new coach Mike Sherman. Maybe Aggieland expectations were too high for Dennis Franchione. Maybe they should’ve kept R.C. Slocum. Or maybe it goes back even further, to 1998, when the Aggies won their only Big 12 title. "That was Mack Brown’s first season at Texas and a year before Bob Stoops arrived at Oklahoma,” said Tim Griffin, a longtime writer for the San Antonio Express-News, now with ESPN.com. "Brown recruited the inner-city schools in Texas that had been part of R.C. Slocum’s traditional power base. Suddenly, Brown made it hip in those areas to play for Texas.” And it’s not just Brown or Stoops swiping Texas’ top high school talent. Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma State are all loaded with the type of players that used to land in College Station. Since that Big 12 title in 1998, Texas A&M is 63-51 and has finished a season ranked in the top 25 only once.