Texas-Texas A&M rivalry won’t continue next season
This Thanksgiving one of college football’s oldest and most
storied rivalries will be put on indefinite hold when Texas and
Texas A&M meet for the last time as Big 12 foes.
The Aggies wanted to continue the series when they left for the
Southeastern Conference in July, but the Longhorns told the Aggies
that their non-conference schedule is full through 2018.
These schools, separated by just 105 miles, first met in 1894
and have played every year since 1915. It is usually the last
regular-season game for both teams and is an event that people in
the state and beyond watch as a holiday tradition.
Former A&M star defensive end-linebacker Von Miller, the
second overall pick in this year’s NFL draft by Denver, was at Kyle
Field on Saturday as an honorary captain for the Aggies’ game
against Baylor. He lamented the loss of the game against Texas as
he stood on the field waiting to watch the Aggies play the
”I think it’s a big loss for college football in general,” he
said. ”That was one of the games that a lot of people look forward
to watching on Thanksgiving, and it’s just unfortunate.”
Scores of key moments from the football histories of both
schools are tied to the game.
Former Texas A&M coach Paul ”Bear” Bryant’s 1954 team,
which survived his grueling camp in Junction, Texas, played the
Longhorns. Texas A&M’s only Heisman Trophy winner, John David
Crow, was a member of the first Aggie team to beat Texas at
Memorial Stadium in 1956. It was against the Aggies in 1998 that
the Longhorns’ Ricky Williams broke the Division I-A career rushing
record in a 26-24 win.
Earl Campbell, who also won the Heisman, had the best game of
his Texas career against the Aggies when he ran for 222 yards and
three touchdowns, and scored on a 60-yard pass in a 57-28 win by
the Longhorns in 1977.
Some, like Texas A&M sophomore Travis Straub, are mad at the
Longhorns for not accommodating Texas A&M. Straub is already
looking ahead to this year’s game against Texas, and he wore a
shirt with the date of the game emblazoned on the back in large,
maroon block letters on Saturday.
”I just think they need to get over their pride because they
can be pretty arrogant sometimes,” Straub said. ”It’s their loss,
But Texas graduate Anne Finley said it really isn’t the
”I blame A&M,” Finley said before Texas played Oklahoma
State on Saturday. ”They’re the ones leaving.”
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who led the charge for
the Aggies to move to the SEC, has been vocal about his desire to
continue playing Texas throughout the conference realignment
”We’re able to accommodate them anytime they want to make that
happen,” he said of the rivalry. ”It’s their choice, obviously,
if they don’t want to do that, and I have to respect that choice,
but it will be a loss to both of us and the state of Texas.”
Loftin pointed out that most states have key instate rivalry
games that take place each season despite conference
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds emailed Texas A&M
athletic director Bill Byrne late last week to tell him the
Longhorns couldn’t fit A&M into their schedule through
”What we have right now is a full schedule, but if any future
options are available, the decision will not be made by just one
person,” Dodds said in a statement.
Loftin hopes they can renew the rivalry when Texas has room on
”It’s open at any time,” Loftin said. ”There’s no doubt in
our minds to accommodate this kind of game at any time now or in
One Longhorns fan thinks a new team could take the place of
A&M as the team’s archrival.
”Down the road we’ll probably play the Aggies off and on like
we do Arkansas, but it won’t be the same,” said J.B. Chimene, a
Texas alumnus and Austin resident who was taking his son Coby to
the game against Oklahoma State. ”I think we’ll pick up some other
rivalry for this century.”
One bright spot for some fans of this game is that if the teams
eventually meet again, it will likely add to the intensity of the
”We’ve been playing those guys over 100 years, so hopefully
we’ll get to get back at it again. When we do, it will be a huge
game,” Miller said.
AP Sports Writer Jim Vertuno and AP freelancer Will Anderson
contributed to this story from Austin, Texas.