One of the long-lost rivalries in college football pits Austin versus College Station, Longhorns versus Aggies, and the University of Texas against Texas A&M University. These schools haven’t played each other since 2011, and that seems to be long enough for both of the fan bases and alumni networks. The wheels are turning, and this historic rivalry could be coming be back very soon.
The Texas A&M Student Senate voted unanimously to add one simple question to a campus-wide opinion poll that will be held February 21, 2019. The students will be asked, “Do you support reinstating the Texas A&M University vs. University of Texas rivalry game on our nonconference football schedule?” The Aggies will have their voices heard, but without even taking the poll, I think we already know what the outcome will be.
The Texas Longhorns lead the all-time series with a 76-37-5 record over the Texas A&M Aggies. Traditionally, the rivalry game was held on Thanksgiving weekend every year before the Aggies moved from the Big 12 Conference over to the Southeastern Conference to start the 2012 season. Multiple scheduling roadblocks, and even a few egos, have kept the massive game from returning ever since Texas kicker Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal gave Case McCoy’s Longhorns a 27-25 victory over Ryan Tannehill and the Aggies at Kyle Field.
Don’t expect The Lone Star Showdown’s hiatus to last much longer.
In a January interview with the Austin American-Statesman, both university’s leaders — UT President Gregory L. Fenves and A&M President Michael K. Young — addressed numerous university questions, but the most notable was the return of the storied rivalry game. While they expressed concerns with scheduling conflicts between the Big 12 and SEC to make the game happen, both support bringing the rivalry back.
“Absolutely. We have been from Day One,” Young said.
Fenves added, “We’ve told our [athletic directors] to figure out a plan and bring it to us.”
The problem is, UT athletic director Chris Del Conte and A&M athletic director Scott Woodward aren’t exactly on the same page. In 2018, Del Conte reportedly offered a home-and-home series with the Aggies for 2022 and 2023 after Texas moved their series with Ohio State to 2025-26. Woodward declined, citing A&M’s 10-year schedule of non-conference games that’s already filled, plus their difficult SEC West schedule as reasons why the offer wouldn’t work.
Despite Woodward’s apparent willingness to make it happen, nothing has materialized since he took over in January 2016.
As more and more voices are heard, the pressure on both universities to get this done and bring back the rivalry continues to grow. Despite the concerns, Texas is growing into a national contender under head coach Tom Herman, and Texas A&M is positioning themselves to become a major threat under Jimbo Fisher. There’s no timetable for when this deal could get done, but it’ll be hard to put this off any longer with the heat rising in Texas.
It’s a waiting game now, but college football fans everywhere might not be waiting much longer before something officially gets done.