Why? I read the rest of your post but don't understand what the SEC has to do with Bonfire. Also, how did A&M change as an institution? Has it become more individualistic and not as teamwork/leadership based as it might have been before 1999?
1. Bonfire represented "our burning desire to beat the hell outta t.u." It was always topped with a "t.u. frathouse" (outhouse). We couldn't realistically just move that hatred to LSU. It's been brewing since 1894, when we first played them, or at least since the first bonfire in 1909.
2. I started at A&M in the Fall of 1990. I was never in the corps, but I spent my first two years living in an unairconditioned dorm for $384 per semester. Without AC, we had to have our doors open all of the time for airflow. You knew everyone. I had an awesome time living in the dorms. My dorm, Law Hall, had been around since 1927. We had our own yell, our own song about our arch-rival dorm Puryear, and so on.
3. There were just a million little things associated with bonfire/football season that have disappeared. When I was in the school, all of the dorms had their own table at Sbisa (biggest dining hall). We ate dinner at 4:45 every Friday and had a yell practice. During the football season, we regularly had Viking Night, when we ate with no plates or utensils. That kind of stuff just disappeared when Bonfire did.
4. There was the actual Saturday and Sunday mornings with people beating the shite out of your door with axe handles at 5:30 AM to get your arse out of bed for cut.
As a non-reg (part of the 95+% of Aggies not in the corps), bonfire was probably our last, strongest connection to our history as a military school.
Part of it is also a general homogenization of the campus population. Although A&M is the traditional "farmers college," we now have the same spoiled upper-middle class Houston/Dallas/San Antonio kids driving daddy's SUV that every other school in Texas has. Part of living in a non-air dorm was living with the poor kids from rural Texas. Non-air dorms are a thing of the past as is cheap housing in general. Luxury apartments and private dorms are really the norm these days.
This post was edited on 11/7 at 8:59 pm