Apparently the Aggies are terrified of playing Texas in a bowl game this year. At least that is what the good folks down in Austin are saying. According to Chip Brown’s “sources”, the Aggies/SEC have no interest in matching up against the Longhorns.
“Now, it’s apparently the Aggies – or perhaps the SEC on the Aggies’ behalf – making sure there will be no postseason matchup of two of college football’s most bitter divorcees. Two sources close to the situation told HornsDigest.com SEC officials have indicated to bowls with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins that the SEC won’t support a Texas vs Texas A&M postseason matchup. In short, A&M has too much to lose from a potential loss.” – Chip Brown
It would be one thing if Chip Brown was a credible reporter….he’s not. Here are just a few of his most famous misses. And if you want to see more, Good Bull Hunting put together quite the collection (story).
So excuse me if I’m not buying the latest rumor to float out of Austin. This is all about public perception, and Chip Brown has thrown the latest grenade in this childish Cold War between these two flagship institutions. His narrative suggests the Aggies are scared to play the Longhorns, when just the opposite is true. Upon departing for the SEC, Texas A&M publicly stated their interest in continuing the series with Texas in the form of an out of conference matchup.
“We want to make it abundantly clear we will play the game anywhere, any time. If that game dies, it will not be on us. That game is bigger than Texas and bigger than A&M. That game belongs to the people of Texas, and if it goes away, it’s not going to be on our watch.” – A&M Chancellor John Sharp
“We’re able to accommodate them anytime they want to make that happen. … It’s their choice, obviously.” – Former A&M President R. Bowen Loftin
However, Texas had no interest in continuing the game.
“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’s too many hard feelings.” – Former Texas AD Deloss Dodds
“I think the reality for us is A&M made a choice they felt was best for them to move to the SEC. That’s great for them. They’ve leveraged that well…For us there has to be a real business or branding case made to play anybody that we play with our football games given the way our schedule is structured playing Oklahoma every year in Dallas…Unless there really is a compelling business or branding reason, I see a hard time renewing that rivalry in football.” – Current Texas AD Steve Patterson
In addition to avoiding the Lone Star Showdown, Texags reports that the Longhorns also avoided a meeting between the two schools in the 2012 Cotton Bowl. (story). It seems to me that Texas has been the one dodging A&M. Nice spin though, Chip.
Hey, if you can’t settle it on the field then why not hit them in other ways? Right?
Now back to the idea of Texas and A&M playing. Should it happen? Personally, I believe it should. I’m not sure that the two teams meeting in the Texas Bowl in Houston is exactly the stage both schools had imagined. This is one of the best rivalries in the history of college football and you want the reunion game to be when both teams struggle to get to 7 wins? It might be just me, but I believe a postseason matchup in the College Football Playoff or a top tier bowl would be much more fitting.
To make matters worse, this game would turn into the quintessential “Excuses Bowl”. If the Aggies win, it would be because Coach Strong cleaned house and was starting a new program from scratch. If the Longhorns win, it would be because the Aggies lost several defensive starters to injury and dismissals along with Kyle Allen only notching 3 games as a starter.
Sure there might be some added benefits on the recruiting trail. The Longhorns are looking to provide a boost in that department with most of Coach Strong’s connections being Florida based. He is losing the fight for Texas’ top recruits primarily to A&M and also some to Baylor. If he is able to call scoreboard against the Aggies, it would help give him a tangible sales pitch to these kids and their parents.
On the flip side, the Aggies winning could be a death sentence to Coach Strong and his recruiting efforts. The Aggies are already winning the majority of these recruiting battles with the SEC affiliation, a fun and fast paced offense, and the opportunity of early playing time on defense. Beating Texas on the field would only add to that sales pitch and reaffirm that Coach Sumlin is the best coach in the state.
Does Texas really want to take that kind of risk with their first year coach?
In the end, the prospect of A&M and Texas meeting in a bowl game is purely speculation at this point. Both teams still have games left to be played and could work their way into better bowls than Houston’s Texas bowl. But if the Ags lose to LSU and TCU drops the Longhorns, these schools could very well meet. And if they do, I like our odds. Sumlin has a 2-0 record in bowl games as the Aggies head coach. And in case anyone forgot, just look at what he did to the last Big 12 team he faced.