Well, college football fans, take those dreams of an epic annual Texas-Texas A&M rivalry and stuff them back into the closet.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that there was a chance that the Longhorns and Aggies could renew their annual rivalry, now that UT has chosen its new athletic director, Steve Patterson from Arizona State.
The following day, the A&M administration was quick to shoot that idea down, as if it were a clay pigeon gliding through the East Texas sky. The Aggies' senior associate athletic director, Jason Cook, only left the possibility of meeting the 'Horns in a BCS playoff game open Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News (h/t Kevin McGuire, CollegeFootballTalk).
As Zwerneman wrote, A&M has seemingly shifted its attitude after previously leaving the door open for rivalry renewal talks:
Texas A&M’s brass has changed its tune on whether the Aggies hope to ever play the Texas Longhorns again in football – at least in the regular season.
We hope to play them again in a BCS or playoff game at some point, A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook told me this afternoon.
That’s a far cry from A&M president R. Bowen Loftin’s assertion from two years ago that the Aggies, who were then preparing for a shift from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference, would agreeably take on the Longhorns anytime and anywhere, as nonconference foes.
By leaving that possibility on the table, A&M and UT are stifling what could become one of the most significant rivalries in college football, nonconference or otherwise.
Firstly, it would make for one of the biggest recruiting battles each year. Before the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference and surged to the spotlight of the sport, Texas essentially had its pick of the litter in the Lone Star State.
From 2006-2012, Texas never finished worse than 14th in the Rivals.com team rankings, while A&M never finished better than 15th. In fact, through that time, Oklahoma was UT's biggest recruiting rival, which also made for a thrilling Red River Rivalry each year in Dallas.
|Texas vs. Texas A&M Recruiting Swing|
|Year||Texas Rank||Texas A&M Rank|
For years, even before the creation of recruiting rankings, A&M was regarded as the little brother to Texas. Now that little brother is fully grown and could start exacting some revenge.
The Aggies have already started that process on the recruiting trail. A&M pulled the No. 9 recruiting class in the 2013 247Sports composite team rankings, beating out both OU and UT at No. 16 and 17 respectively. Dating back to 2006, the Aggies had never beaten the Horns or the Sooners on the recruiting trail, much less topped them both in the same year.
In this 2014 class that is still in progress, A&M has continued its newfound dominance. The Aggies are No. 4, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, far ahead of the Horns at No. 10 and the Sooners at No. 30.
So in a way, it makes sense for A&M to turn down that game, as it would just give UT a chance to show that it still measures up with its little brother.
On the flip side, it would also be an enormous television pull. The game, traditionally played on Thanksgiving, would make for one of the most anticipated games of the year, every year.
Not to mention, it would also provide a perfect measuring stick between the Big 12 and the SEC.
However, if the comments from the A&M decision-makers mean anything, that dream matchup just isn't going to happen. With the College Football Playoff coming next year, that will be the sport's only hope to see a brief revival of one of its greatest rivalries.