Men who are smiling after realignment

6. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M coach. The machinations of “will they or won’t they leave the Big 12″—of the SEC’s flirtation and pursuit—suddenly give life to a program lost in the wake of big, bad Texas. Without playing a down, A&M looks on par with the Longhorns—and that will pay off big in recruiting if Sherman can win enough to stick around after this season.

8. Mike Slive, SEC commissioner. The conference everyone is chasing—and the reason for this expansion madness in the first place. The league, if possible, grew even more in reputation and stature. Go smoke that cigar on your back porch, commish. You earned it.