It’s the offseason, and even if these strangest of times, apparently no college football offseason is complete until someone talks about renewing the Texas A&M/Texas rivalry in football. It came later than usual, but it finally happened this week.
It went about how it usually does.
Texas HC Tom Herman spoke to the Touchdown Club of Houston virtually today. On playing Texas A&M:
“We’ve reached to try to play them in the past. Didn’t go real well… I know within our program, we would love to play Texas A&M.” pic.twitter.com/fDnwPCtt3F
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) July 23, 2020
Howdy Josh! Sorry my friend, ain’t going to happen this year nor is this being discussed anywhere at A&M. I’ve been here over a year & no one from there has asked me to play them. Let’s get this season going & keep moving forward
— Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) July 29, 2020
Before we move on, let’s get a bit of history out of the way:
- Texas A&M offered to continue the rivalry when they left for the SEC in 2012, knowing Texas would say “no” out of sheer spite. Texas declined, saying their schedule was already full.
- Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte reached out to A&M about an opening in their schedule in 2022-23, knowing A&M’s schedule was already full and they would likely decline.
- Both sides have had quotes on both sides of the fence of the subject in the years prior and the years since.
I don’t rehash all of this to try and claim a winner in this war of words. Both sides have backed down from the fight at one point or another. And until there are true good faith effort to restore the rivalry on a permanent basis, neither side will win where it actually matters: on the football field.
Both sides claim they can’t play the game because they already have other Power 5 teams filling slots on their schedule. But year after year, they continue to schedule OTHER Power 5 teams for years even further and further down the road. When A&M AD Bill Byrne first asked Texas AD Deloss Dodds about continuing the rivalry, Dodds told him that the Longhorns’ non-conference schedule was full through 2018.
It’s 2020, fellas.
There are fans on both sides of this debate, each with their own set of talking points. But one thing virtually all of those fans can agree on is that the time for talk from administrators at A&M and Texas has long since passed. At least until that talk is meaningful. Texas leadership doesn’t earn style points by saying they’d love to play A&M but not actually offering a permanent home-and-home series to renew the rivalry. A&M leadership isn’t let off the hook by saying they haven’t heard from Texas.
It’s been nine years since the Aggies announced they were leaving the Big 12 conference, and these two schools are no closer to renewing the rivalry than they were in the summer of 2011. Sadly this storied rivalry has been reduced to internet posturing, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.