Is the Texas Longhorns vs. Texas A&M rivalry returning to college football?
On October 19, 1894, the University of Texas football team defeated a squad from the then Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas by a score 38-0 at Austin’s Hyde Park.
They would meet again four years later — this time the Longhorns would prevail 48-0. For the next 113 years, the Longhorns and Aggies did battle either on Thanksgiving Day or the day after and created one of the best rivalries in all of college football.
This rivalry divided families and drew battle lines across the state. So bitter was the venom between the two that each school’s respective fight song, “Texas Fight” and the “Aggie War Hymn,” mentions the other.
Then, the rivalry abruptly ended when Texas A&M left for the SEC. But, will new blood bring back The Game in the state of Texas?
Orange vs. Maroon Still Divides Texas
For generations, UT and A&M did battle on the gridiron, drawing in fans from across the state of Texas.
Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, Vince Young, Colt McCoy, John David Crow, Ray Childress, Jack Pardee, Dat Nguyen — some of the greatest names in college football history lined up against one another. As did legendary coaches such as Dana X. Bible, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Darrell K. Royal, R.C. Slocum, and Mack Brown.
The Longhorns vs. Aggies rivalry became the stuff of legend. Suddenly, the rivalry was over. The Longhorns prevailed in the final contest, 27-25, on Justin Tucker’s memorable “walk off” field goal on the road in College Station in November 2011.
The next season, the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC and a new generation of bitter feelings on both sides was fostered.
Since that split over six years ago, the rhetoric from both camps has been nothing short of disdainful.
Yes, six long years of bile on both sides with nowhere for it to go. Just comparisons to each other and sneers from a distance.
However, there have been rumblings recently about bringing this rivalry back to life.
Could these sparks reignite the fire?
New Blood Means New Hope for Texas Longhorns vs. Texas A&M
Make no mistake about it, there are still deep resentments from both camps. Much has been made about the rigorous SEC schedule that the Aggies go through each year as a major hurdle that has kept the Longhorns of their schedule.
However, breadcrumbs have been tossed out from major players about the return of the rivalry. Big players from both camps have voiced opinions and this should be looked on with optimism.
In July, new Texas Longhorns head man Tom Herman broached the subject when he wondered aloud about the possibilities of a return of “The Game.”
“I don’t know why we can’t play A&M as our marquee non-conference opponent,” Herman said at Big 12 Media Days.
On the other side of the coin, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin echoed similar sentiments as far back as 2015.
“[Listening] to our former students and our alumni base and knowing a lot of Texas alums, it’s important that we play again,” Sumlin told ESPN. “I think it will happen somewhere down the road.”
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Perhaps the most important and most tantalizing of these breadcrumbs comes from Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp. In a recent piece in Texas Monthly, Sharp flat out said: “I’d like to put the UT-A&M game back together.”
This is almost a complete reversal from his stance two years ago. Back then, he cited the SEC schedule as why the game was not possible. Now, things have changed.
Why the reversal?
“I know the governor (Greg Abbott) wants to put it back together,” Sharp added. “UT wants to put it back together … Man, can you imagine how much money we could make off that game?”
When the clanking of cash registers can be heard, there is definitely cause for optimism of the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M renewing the rivalry.