For the first time in nearly a century, Thanksgiving weekend provided a feast of turkey and stuffing but was missing dessert for fans of the Texas and Texas A&M football teams. The Aggies bolted from the Big 12 to the SEC prior to the season, and thus the 12th Man’s historical rivalry was kicked to the curb in exactly the same way college football lost Nebraska-Oklahoma and Penn State-Pitt.
The Longhorns still own the bragging rights until these two teams face off once again, winning their 2011 matchup on a last-second field goal. The drama of that game, along with all the tradition behind this arch-rivalry, begs for another contest.
Obviously, the athletic directors of both schools have been questioned regarding a rekindling of the rivalry practically as soon as the announcement of the split was made. The Longhorns have historically treated A&M like a ‘little brother’, and the Aggies have responded in kind; the school has taken something of a ‘anytime, anywhere’ mentality to the rivalry.
On the flip side, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds wants the world to know that he and his program is still very much the ‘big brother’ here.
“They left,” Dodds told the Daily Texan. “They’re the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that’s fair. If you did a survey of our fans about playing A&M, they don’t want to. It’s overwhelming. I know. I hear it. Our fans are important to us. I think there’s got to be a period where things get different. I think there’s too many hard feelings.”
Talk about flexing one’s proverbial muscles. Let’s translate Dodds’ words as succinctly as possible: ‘You left to get out of our shadow, but we’re still Texas. We make the rules’.
Does that sound about right, Mr. Dodds?
When A&M originally decided to leave the conference, the Horns warned them, saying the rivalry would be dead with their departure. Texas did not believe the Aggies would succeed without the Horns’ presence and the publicity from the annual game. However, in that time, coach Mack Brown’s team collected a disappointing nine wins, while the Ags collected 11, a Cotton Bowl demolition of Oklahoma and a Heisman Trophy for quarterback Johnny Manziel (who Brown was only willing to recruit as a defensive back, interestingly).
Thus, the obvious bravado of Aggies fans heading into the 2013 season.
Those fans will not have the chance to watch their team put their money where their mouth is, however, and the reason is as bright as day in the eyes of Dodds.
They left. It was their decision.
Why should the Horns waste their time?