A&M and Texas continued their awkward dance on Tuesday when Texas AD Steve Patterson said that he’s not looking to schedule a nonconference football matchup with Texas A&M. But rather, he is more concerned with scheduling games outside of the US in order to expand the Texas brand. Since A&M’s departure to the SEC, the Lone Star Showdown has come to screeching halt. It is a casualty of conference realignment but one that has been felt by all college football fans. Let’s just say Texas vs. TCU on Thanksgiving Day aired by the Longhorn Network doesn’t quite have the same appeal as the nationally televised ESPN primetime Lone Star Showdown.
So how did we get here? Below is a timeline of the constant bickering between the two flagship schools.
- September 26, 2011 – A&M officially announces they are moving to the SEC. A&M President Bowen Loftin boldly states, “We are willing to play Texas every year. Any place, any time we can agree on.”
- November, 25 2011 – Texas beats A&M 27-25 on a game winning field goal as time expired. This was the final meeting between the two schools. Despite the loss, many believe this was the deciding factor that got Sherman fired and Sumlin hired.
- February 14, 2012 – The Big 12 schedule for the 2012-2013 season is released. It shows that Texas has replaced A&M with TCU for its Thanksgiving Day matchup.
- May 30, 2012 – A&M responds with “anything you can do I can do better” and schedules LSU for every Thanksgiving weekend beginning in 2013.
- March 19, 2013 – Former Texas AD Deloss Dodds infamously declares, “They left. 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 are too many hard feelings.”
- May 31, 2013 – A&M has moved on to bigger and better things. College Gameday airs the season opener against Florida, Sumlin leads A&M to an 11 win season, and Johnny Manziel wins the Heisman. Life could not be better in Aggieland. When asked about renewing the rivalry, Bowen Loftin responds, “It’s not relevant to us anymore, that’s the whole point. It’s not an important issue.”
- November 6, 2013 – Texas hires their new AD Steve Patterson. Speculation builds that new administration may be open to renewing the series. When the media poses the question to A&M, Jason Cook responds with “We hope to play them again in a BCS bowl or Playoff game at some point.”
- November 20, 2013 – Bowen Loftin changes his stance from earlier saying “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t play each other, if we want to. I think they will at some point in time feel like it’s the right thing to do as well, and we’ll get there.”
- March 7, 2014 – After firing Mack Brown, Texas hires Charlie Strong as head coach. A couple months into the job he is asked his thoughts on renewing the rivalry. His response was direct and refreshing in “I’d love to play it.”
- April 1, 2014 – As mentioned above, Texas AD Steve Patterson says scheduling an out of conference matchup with A&M is not a priority for them. Rather, they are looking to play games out of the country in Dubai and Mexico City.
With the constant back and forth, it seems inevitable that the game will be scheduled at some point in the future. Texas needs it to bolster their strength of schedule and get fans back into DKR stadium. Meanwhile, A&M will at some point follow in the “SEC way” like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Florida plays Florida St. every year. Georgia annually squares off against in state rival Georgia Tech. And South Carolina revels in beating down Clemson each year and is on a 5 year winning streak. It is only a matter of time until A&M follows suit and renews the Lone Star Showdown with Texas.
At this point though, it is not in A&M’s best interest to renew the rivalry. A&M just wrapped up its second straight top 10 recruiting class and is currently crushing Texas for the state’s best recruits. The move to the SEC, coupled with the hiring of Sumlin and Johnny Manziel’s prolific career enabled A&M to rebrand itself on a national stage. Elite recruits have noticed and are flocking to College Station for spring camps and Friday Night Lights. Sumlin is also well on his way to securing the top 4 players in the state for 2015. All in all, A&M has molded a new identity and needs to let the cement set before jumping back into its old ways with Texas.
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