For the first time since 1914, the Longhorns and Aggies didn't face off on the football field in 2012. If Texas House Democrat Eddie Guillen, a Texas A&M alum, has his way, Texas will have to play A&M every year.
Saying that the series, which began in 1894, is as Texas as "cowboy boots and barbeque," Guillen introduced legislation on Monday night in the Texas House of Representatives that would require the two schools to play each other each football season.
Texas is widely and correctly viewed by A&M fans as the reason the rivalry no longer continues, as the Aggies have expressed interest in playing non-conference games against the 'Horns, interest that has not been reciprocated, across a variety of sports.
The argument put forth by Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds some time ago basically holds that the Longhorns don't have room in the non-conference schedule to accommodate their former in-state rivals:
[Texas A&M] did leave. We didn't want them to. We still don't want them to but they did. That was their choice. That leaves us with an opportunity to make choices, and we will make them on our time and on our own grounds.
Now the non-conference schedule for Texas is full through 2018 and Dodds isn't interested in backing out of other agreements just to accommodate A&M after they put the Big 12 on thin ice by abandoning the conference for the greener pastures of the SEC, a move that has indeed already paid the major dividends the school anticipated.
Dodds has said that the series will continue "some time, some where."
It's basically a variation of an old schoolyard argument -- the Aggies took their ball and went off to their new home in the SEC, then showed up the next day and wanted to keep playing with the Longhorns, even though the Longhorns had told them what would happen if they went home with their ball, a threat A&M clearly did not take seriously.
Now an Aggie is essentially going to his parents and telling them to make the Longhorns play with them. The big meanies.
Texas A&M president and bowtie aficionado R. Bowen Loftin released the following statement on behalf of the university on Tuesday:
We remain hopeful that the game may continue one day through the normal scheduling process. Having said that, we, of course, will follow any specific direction from the Legislature.
The perspective from Texas fans seems to be that they enjoy holding "eternal scoreboard" over the Aggies for as long as possible and quite like the way things ended -- with Justin Tucker's last-second field goal that provided the final winning margin of 27-25. And that overall series record of 76-37-5? Yeah, Texas fans seem to like that quite a bit, too.
So the bigger question may be the motivation behind the Aggies wanting to play. Do they really like the rivalry that much, even though they were willing to abandon the Big 12 and snub their nose at their big brother, or are they secretly hoping that with their SEC boost they can start making some inroads into those unfavorable all-time series results?
Perhaps the two aren't mutually exclusive, but the fact remains that if A&M wanted to play Texas every year, they shouldn't have left the Big 12. Period.
It's clear that emotions still run high on both sides about the rivalry and the move to the SEC. So what's the national perspective on all this, besides sadness that the two teams no longer face each other in conference every year?
I kind of agree with DeLoss about not playing the A&M game. You don't get to leave and still make demands on the folks you leave.— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) January 29, 2013
Even with his program in the (relative) dumps, DeLoss finds ways to artfully troll A&M. Love it.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 29, 2013
Perhaps Dodds is trolling in a sense, but there's no doubt he's standing behind his threat, a threat that is difficult to imagine being overruled by a meddling legislature in a conservative state that favors little government intervention.
So the Aggies will probably just have to wait until Dodds decides he has made his point, he retires and the new regime feels differently about the rivalry, or until the two teams meet in the Cotton Bowl, as they nearly did this season.