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Texas and Texas A&M Have All the Elements of a Rivalry Minus the Game

The Aggies and Longhorns still have every element of a classic college football rivalry with the exception of one thing—there is no football game.

It was a sad day back in November of 2011 when Justin Tucker’s kick sailed through the uprights to give the Texas Longhorns a 27-25 win over the Texas A&M Aggies. Even though their team won, it was just as sad for the Longhorns as it was the Aggies.  

Why? It marked the end of one of the longest running and intense rivalries that college football has ever known. A&M moved on to the SEC and Texas already had committed to its non-conference schedule for the immediate future.

Many have since declared the rivalry dead. However, if you just followed the two teams you wouldn’t know the rivalry was done. There is still a whole lot of hate and animosity out between the two.

To see that an intense dislike still exists between the two fan bases you just need to scan the message boards. Over the last two seasons there have been countless negative threads on Texas message boards about Johnny Manziel. Texas A&M fans had a whole lot of fun talking about the early struggles the Longhorns had last year and head coach Mack Brown.

Those are just two examples but there are countless. In any given year all the talk would just be build up to the game—except there isn’t a game anymore.

When the leadership changed in Austin it seemed as if there might be hope for the rivalry to be renewed. Incoming athletic director Steve Patterson and new head coach Charlie Strong both appeared open to getting the game going again. Both are fully aware of how good an active rivalry is—a real ongoing one and not a forced one—for a program.

That sentiment appears to have changed. Shortly after becoming the new defensive coordinator Vance Beford posed the question on Twitter to fans: should the game be played again? The response was overwhelmingly negative.

The general train of thought from both fan bases is pretty straightforward—to heck with them. We don’t need ‘em. While on one hand that is true, on another it couldn’t be further from the truth.

No team needs another in any sport. The Dallas Cowboys don’t need to play the Washington Redskins or New York Giants. The Chicago Bears don’t need the Green Bay Packers, but if the teams never played neither fan base would ever have legitimate bragging rights over the other.

That hasn’t stopped anyone from doing so. Texas A&M fans are quite proud of their success in the SEC, Johnny Manziel’s Heisman trophy, and their emergence as one of the best in the nation when it comes to recruiting. Texas has been the flagship program in the Lone Star State for years and see no reason to relinquish the title after a few not-so-great seasons.

The only way to actually establish actual, irrefutable bragging rights is by playing for them.

In the meantime fans from both sides will continue to hate the other; something that will be helped when comments like the ones Charlie Strong recently made when asked about Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies:

On competing with “SwagCopters,” Strong said: “The univ. speaks for itself. We don’t need gadgets. We’re not going to be a gadget program.” — Mike Finger (@mikefinger) February 5, 2014

To which Sumlin responded with: “I guess based on today we better get some more gadgets at our place then.”

Game or not the fans are going to continue to talk and continue to claim dominance over the other. Until the two meet on the gridiron again there will be no way that one can firmly establish that claim without argument.  

Yes, neither team needs to play the other, but there will not be a fan from either that will iss that game if/when it starts back up (someday).



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