Common sense seems to be bubbling up to the surface when it comes to one of college football’s oldest rivalries.
Well, former rivalries.
In the simplest sense, the annual Texas vs. Texas A&M game was a casualty of conference realignment. In the years since A&M left for the SEC in 2011, there haven’t been many good faith efforts to get the game back on the schedule.
In fact, there was a whole lot of bickering and blaming on both sides. But most of the folks who did the bickering are no longer in place. Those who are in positions of power, like second-year Texas head coach Tom Herman and new UT athletic director Chris Del Conte, would like to see the rivalry back in place.
It just makes too much sense.
“In my perfect world, you would play one big-time Power 5 [non-conference] opponent,” Herman told SI’s Andy Staples during his radio show on Tuesday. “To me, there’s a very logical one an hour-and-a-half east of us.”
Tom Herman has an idea
All Power Five schools are now required to schedule at least one non-conference Power Five school. Herman thinks A&M can be that school, and it can be an “every year” thing. In the past, when both schools were in the Big 12, they traditionally met on Thanksgiving.
Herman has another idea: play the Aggies Week 2 with it going back and forth between Austin and College Station each year.
“Play Week 2 every year,” Herman said. “Don’t disrupt the conference schedule. Play a tune-up game. Then play your rival game two.” If ACC and SEC schools can make it work in multiple cases, so could an SEC and a Big 12 school. “Clemson and South Carolina find a way to play every year,” Herman said. “Georgia and Georgia Tech. Florida and Florida State. Iowa and Iowa State. The list goes on of in-state rivals that find a way to play.”
“I think it’s really difficult because of the fact that Texas A&M left our conference, we don’t play a rival at home ever. Every other year we played A&M at home and every year we play Oklahoma in Dallas. Those are probably our two biggest rivals,” Herman said. “Now can we kind of generate and fabricate some new rivalries? Sure. But those are going to be the two main rivals of the University of Texas. They are in recruiting. They are in academia. They are in a lot of things. I don’t know why we can’t play A&M as our marquee non-conference opponent.”
“Again, that’s well above my pay grade but Florida and Florida State find a way to play every year and they’re in different conferences. Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech and the list goes on and on of in-state rivals that are in different conferences that play each other each and every year. I do think it’s a little more difficult — those are conferences that play eight conference games, not nine (like the Big 12). You can schedule your other three accordingly where we only have two to schedule accordingly. But if you’re going to play big boys such as USC, LSU and Ohio State, I’d like to see us play the big boy right down the road from us.”
If the rivalry is renewed, it won’t be for a while
Texas has been aggressive in locking up scheduling agreements with other Power Five opponents with games against USC, LSU, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State all on the schedule as far down the road as 2027. A&M hasn’t been quite as ambitious, but still has games with Clemson, Colorado, Miami, Notre Dame and Arizona State on the horizon.
That doesn’t leave much room for Texas vs. Texas A&M.
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