So, it's "Rivalry Week" once again, one of the CFB world's nods to Hallmark and inventing nonsense events to obsess about. I was reading an article in the Washington Post ranking their top 5 rivalries. I won't link to it, as it's clearly written by a Yankee and not worth your reading time (short-hand: OSU-Michigan, Army-Navy, Duke-UNC bball, Red Sox-Yankees, Barcelona-Real Madrid). Anyway, it got me thinking, but not about what the "best" rivalry is. I don't care what you say, you'll never convince me that OSU-Michigan, Auburn-Alabama, or Notre Dame-USC is a better rivalry than the UT-Techfodder game that happens at the beginning of each October.
And in the end, isn't that what creates for the greatest rivalries? What the fans think? I freekin' hate Sooners. And Aggies. And Razorbacks to boot. And don't get me started on their sports teams! (ba dum bump) And this is no news to this crew, but, those jerks hate us too! We can debate the true basis for their motivations all day (various types of inadequacy, jealousy, circular family trees, etc.), but in the end, they think they despise us because we are Longhorns.
Back to why I wrote this, the article got me thinking that in the end, Texas may be the King of Rivalries. While everybody dislikes Notre Dame, who really considers them a rival? USC and Michigan? How about USC? They've got Notre Dame and UCLA. Michigan may come close, they have Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. I personally discount Michigan State, as they are more of a "little brother" than A&M will ever be. Florida has Florida State, but aren't the rest of their "rivalries" one big shared SEC hate-fest? From the time I spend on SEC blogs, it seems like everyone hates Auburn and Tennessee and Georgia and Alabama.
When you come to Texas however, you find a team that everyone wants to beat, and fans that opposing fans want to molest. Sooners and Aggies are a well-known quantity (zero if you want to get technical). Texas Tech and Baylor consider us rivals. Andre Ware evidently thinks Texas is a rival to Houston, considering the way he treats the Horns when calling their games. Arkansas fans hate Texas even though we haven't been in a conference with them for over ten years! Allow me to quote from Wikipedia (which I'll assume was written by a Razorback):
The premier rivalry for the Arkansas Razorbacks is against the Longhorns of the University of Texas. Although today, the Longhorns have several other rivalries that they consider more important (notably Texas A&M and Oklahoma), during the 1960s, no rivalry, especially in football, was as big as the Razorbacks and Longhorns. Texas leads the series in football, while Arkansas holds the series lead in basketball. For Arkansas, the rivalry is an emotional experience and Arkansas fans and media go into a frenzy when the two teams play in any sport. The emotional intensity from the Arkansas side in these games overwhelms and bewilders Texas fans at times, including the 2000 Cotton Bowl, where Arkansas fans outnumbered Texas fans by almost 2 to 1 in Dallas.
Note that "Arkansas holds the series lead in basketball", a sport many Longhorns barely knew we played until 15 years ago. Also that Razorbacks outnumbered Longhorns at the 2000 Cotton Bowl, during which I would guess most Longhorn fans were, like me, recovering from their Y2K hangovers. Whatever.
The bottom line is, the University of Texas could well be considered to be the premier "Rival School" in the nation. Does that mean anything? Not really. But I think it might serve us as a point of pride as we head into our rivalry game against the Aggies, knowing that our team, our Longhorns, are so great that they engender enmity and jealousy across the land.
And speaking of Aggies, and since it's that time of year, did you hear the tragic story about the chartered Aggie plane that crashed into a cemetery? They recovered 1100 bodies.