NCAA Football 2012: Add Texas-Texas A&M to the Casualties of Realignment
The back-and-forth between Texas A&M and Texas on the publicity front has been something that's dragged on for quite some time. Texas A&M's struggle to get out from under the Longhorns' thumb has finally ended with the Aggies in the SEC and Texas in the new-look Big 12.
Adding to this mix, from a recent interview with The Birmingham News, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne expounds upon this separation.
The most notable point from this discussion, in addition to the extensive process that is removing the Big 12 logos from campus, is that Texas is not happy about the Aggies' departure. A&M thought that its sports would be able to maintain a working relationship with Texas, but alas, they will not, according to Byrne:
I'm very foolish. I assumed—and it was a rash assumption on my part—that our friends over in the state capital would want to continue playing us. It turns out they didn't think we were as much of a rival as we thought of them.
Simply stated, but true, as the Aggies' coaches have been told that none of their teams will be taking on the Longhorns—another casualty of the shift in college football's landscape. The game that was always played over the Thanksgiving holiday is no more, and the Longhorns appear hellbent on keeping it that way by making sure no Aggies teams renew the rivalry in any form.
This just goes to prove how important stability and cash flow is in the college-football world that we live in. In the '90s, the Big 8 Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry was shut down in order to form the Big 12.
In this more recent round, we've seen Nebraska detach themselves from all of their Big 8 and Big 12 foes in a move to the Big Ten. Likewise, West Virginia has gotten themselves out of the Backyard Brawl business with Pitt in exchange for the greener pastures of the Big 12. While folks hope to see the rivalry renewed, the odds are highly unlikely with Pitt moving to the ACC.
While the discontinuing of rivalries is nothing new, it doesn't make it any easier for fans of the game to stomach. With new conferences come new opponents, and with new opponents come new rivalries.
It will take time, but Texas A&M will be looking at new rivalries to fill the void left by Texas. Arkansas immediately comes to mind as a new, premier target for disdain, and given the schools' SWC history, that will be an interesting late-September affair. Getting Mizzou over Thanksgiving weekend brings a bit of Big 12 familiarity to the SEC's final week.
Times are changing, and teams are changing with them. Losing rivalries is tough, but entering the SEC—where everybody hates everybody and they all make money together—should help the Aggies more than losing their annual date with Texas hurts them.
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