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 many fans want this historic rivalry to come back very soon.
In a landslide during the Texas A&M Student Body Election on Feb. 21, 2019, there were 88.71 percent of Aggie students who voted in favor of reinstating the Texas A&M-Texas rivalry game to the football schedule. The Aggies made their voices heard, but without even taking the poll, I think we already knew what the outcome will be.
Texas-Texas A&M Rivalry
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 football 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.
Grab your own Texas A&M state flag now because The Lone Star Showdown’s hiatus might not 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 football 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 former A&M athletic director Scott Woodward weren’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 Del Conte’s apparent willingness to make it happen, nothing has materialized since he took over in December 2017.
Del Conte said as part of a panel alongside new A&M AD Ross Bjork at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival, “Us not playing A&M is not good for college football… We need to play each other.”
Throwing more speculation into the mix, the Dallas Morning News retrieved emails sent from Texas A&M’s president to Aggie fans who did not want the rivalry to return. Each response was identical and read in part:
“The topic is of interest to many for or against and we’re open to the discussion in line with what is best for the schools. There are a variety of reasons that this will be unlikely to happen, including separate conference schedules and scheduling many years out.”Advertisement
— Texas A&M President Michael Young
As more and more voices are heard, the pressure on both universities to make something happen 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 a deal could get done, but it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to make this a reality.
It’s a waiting game now, but college football fans everywhere might be waiting even longer before something officially gets done.
This article was originally published January 28, 2019. It’s been updated with more information as calls for this rivalry to return continue to spark debate.