Texas A&M needs to play University of Texas

Texas A&M needs to play University of Texas

Thomas Winzeler, Asparagus/Bulletin Editor

If you’re an Aggie or a Longhorn you’d probably remember after stuffing your face with turkey, your fat aunt getting stuck in her chair so you have to go grab the butter to get her out, your uncle getting drunk and causing family drama over the last turkey leg, watching the lions get crushed by some team after the parade and the cowboys blow someone out or get beaten so badly that it makes the aftermath of a drone strike look clean, sitting down and watching a&m play UT? Don’t you remember having bragging rights for a whole year and settling the argument on who’s better (for that year at least)? Remembering yelling at that Tech kid, who dare say that Texas Tech is better than UT and A&M combined, to shut up when you and your Longhorn friend were arguing? We here at the Wigwam do and we miss it. So here’s why the Texas A&M vs University of Texas Football (better known as the lone star showdown) game needs to start happening again.

Let’s give a little history on the rivalry.  The rivalry dates back to 1894, the first year the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (as it was called back then) traveled to Clarks field in Austin to take on the University of Texas Varsity Squad. Texas won the first match up in a 38-0 win and they didn’t meet again until 1898. That would start the third-longest rivalry in college football history. By 1911 Texas led the series with 15 wins, four losses to A&M and two ties. From 1911 to 1939 the games went back and forth, from then on Texas dominated the series by going 36-7-1. Texas A&M’s fortunes didn’t change till 1984 when they won 10 of the next 11 meetings. That was under the coaching staff of both Jackie Sherrill, who was the head coach of A&M from 1982 to 1988, and RC Slocum, who was the head coach from 1989 to 2002. In 1995 the good fortune came to an end, the last years of the series had Texas winning 12 out of 17 games. The last game played was on November 24th, 2011 when Texas kicked the winning field goal as time expired. For many Aggie fans that has gone down as the worst moment in Texas a&m football history, while for the Longhorns it has gone down as the best moment in UT football history.

Some of the traditions that made the rivalry so great was both Texas a&m’s bonfire and UT’s Hex Rally. The Bonfire, if you didn’t know, represented Aggies burning desire to beat Texas. It started out in 1909 as a way to celebrate Texas a&m’s victories but it was almost a decade later when the bonfire was designated for the rivalry. Student-built the bonfire, each year the stack looked more like an engineer built it and not a stack of wood. To top it all off with a burnt orange outhouse on top labeled “UT frat house”. The night (if it was at home) or two nights before (if it was away) before a&m played UT the bonfire would be set on fire after yell practice and if it was still standing past midnight then a&m would win the game. The bonfire ended in 1999 after it collapsed (more on that later) so from 1999 to 2011 a&m just held midnight yell practice as it normally would for regular games. The UT hex rally as said by it’s Wikipedia page “Shortly before the Longhorns headed to College Station for the 1941 Thanksgiving Day game, a group of Texas students decided their team needed a little extra help — after all, the Longhorns had not won a game at Kyle Field in 18 years. The students visited a local fortune teller, who encouraged the students to burn red candles in the days before the game to “hex” the Aggies. They did just that, and the Longhorns won the game, 23-0. Thus was born the Hex Rally, Texas’ yearly attempt to hex Texas A&M. The rally features the Longhorn Band, the football team, coaches and thousands of attendees pass a flame lighting countless red candles while singing the “Eyes of Texas,” all in the hope of beating the Aggies.”

There’re also been mascot thefts by both sides. There have been many incidents of Aggie students stealing Bevo (and not harming him) but the major one was in 1963. The Texas Rangers had to get involved. It was by a couple of sophomore cadets when they drove a stock trailer to the hog farm, in Austin, where Bevo was kept. They loaded him up into the stock trailer under the cover of darkness and drove Bevo back to college station where he was kept in a barn house. When the Texas originally went and searched for Bevo along with asking the thefts to step up, no one did. It wasn’t until the Texas Rangers announced that they were on the case as well, the sophomores stepped up. None of them were arrested but they did do community service and wrote a formal apology letter to the university of Texas. The interesting thing is when they found bevo, he was in good condition in a clean barn. When the silver spurs (the organization in charge of taking care of bevo) took him back and had a vet examine him, he had gained six pounds. Reveille, a&m’s mascot was stolen as well. Here’s what happened as sad by Texas A&M today: “Neil Andrew Sheffield, a student at Texas, stole Reveille VI from the Dallas backyard of her handler, Jim Lively, over winter break. Reveille VI, who had recently become mascot after her predecessor went into retirement, was returned unharmed after Sheffield tied her leash to a Lake Travis signpost and called the police. Prior to the incident, Reveille was the only mascot in the Southwest Conference who had never been stolen.”

Texas and Texas a&m have also come together in tragedy. In 1999, when the bonfire collapsed and killed 12 students, Longhorns Head Coach Mack Brown was one of the first ones to call the University and a&m Head Coach RC Solcum. He asked both what he could get the university of Texas and the football team to do. He asked “Do we need to call off the hex rally?” to which Texas a&m president replied “No. No, you don’t. But giving blood would be helpful. Other than that you guys don’t need to do anything. Just pray for us.” and so Mack Brown, his wife, his kids, grand kids, and football team started a blood drive and were the first to give blood. The blood drive ended up getting more than 500,000 students, alumni and residents of Austin to give blood for the victims and the injured people. Instead of doing the normal hex rally the longhorns instead did a remembrance ceremony. During halftime of the football game, the Longhorn band played amazing grace and taps. They quickly played the eyes of Texas are upon you before amazing grace and taps. During amazing grace and taps they took down UT flags, that are normally leading and in front of the band, and instead, put a&m flags. After taps, they took off their white hats and silently walked off the field. Oh, by the way, there was also a game. Texas A&M won 20-16.

With all that history in mind, why would they and why did they stop playing each other? This game meant so much to different people and both had mutual respect for each other. Both didn’t want to stop playing each other. So what gives? “Well a&m went to the SEC so they couldn’t find room on each other schedule.” Florida and FSU aren’t in the same conference and yet they still play each other! So why can’t UT and a&m play each other?  This is a hard question to answer and one we may not find out an answer to other than “one team left the conference and there was scheduling conflicts”. Would Ohio State and Michigan wait this long to play each other if the same thing happened? No! They know how important their rivalry is to their states. So why can’t it be the same for a&m and Texas! Both teams need to play each other.

I went and asked the College Football Fans on the College Football Subreddit and I asked them if a&m and UT needed to play again, if so why? I also asked both their favorite memories of the rivalry. Here’s what they had to say:

A Longhorn fan named TexasWhisky_ of the CFB subreddit said:

“1.Absolutely I want them to play, every year at Thanksgiving. Why? Because we’re each other’s primary/secondary rival. Because it’s the best rivalry in the State. We’re in each other’s fight songs for Christ’s sake.

2.Favorite memory is the post-Bonfire Collapse Memorial and how for years after every Aggie would, after a bit of trash talking, would always shake my hand and thank us for doing that during our rivalry game. I was just in High School then, and had no connection with Texas at the time, but dang it makes me proud.

We may be rivals, but we’re all Texans dang it!”

Mr. Whisky has a very good point, we’re all Texans here! We’re both in each other’s fight songs! We’re meant to play each other!!!

McMuffler, another CFB subreddit user who’s a Texas tech fan, adds his opinion by saying “Totally not a Longhorn or Ag but if you don’t mind a dirty prairie Raider throwing his hat in on the discussion I’d like to give my two bits.

The Lonestar state is full of fantastically heated rivalries amongst all the old SWC members. Even if it’s not an “official rivalry” they’re always still rivalries amongst the big brands of the state.

That being said I’d say as a Red Raider we most certainly Consider UT and TAMU on even rivalry grounds, probably because we’re the smallest of the big state school brand names but still.

My fear is if the Horns and Ags start playing again I have a feeling the Aggies would overlook us here in West Texas and never initiate our underrated rivalry again.

So my ideal thought would be if the Ags could simply cycle through their old Texas rivals I’d be a satisfied fan as well as many others I’m sure.

If not, I’d rather TAMU simply continue their new SEC life and not keep their feet in two different worlds.”

He has a point too. We can not forget those folks, who must be bored out of their minds, in Lubbock. So we would have to include them into the teams we play. But if we can’t fit tech in on the schedule why should we put UT on the schedule. We can not put one on the schedule without putting the other on it. So if a&m plays UT than a&m must play Texas tech.

H-townwx91, who’s an Aggie, said

“Aggie alum here.

2 years ago my answer would have been yes I want us to play once again but after much thought, I don’t want the rivalry back. We moved on, Texas has moved on. There will always be the dislike for one another but I don’t want the rivalry back, we should be concentrating on attempting to dominate the SEC West does not worry about a school that doesn’t want to play us anymore. My favorite memory from our rivalry even if it was a bad one will be the 27-25 2011 game. It was a game to be remembered by all. Out of all of the games that I have attended of that rivalry this one will always be imprinted in my mind. I gave my all for that game even if it was lost on a bad ref call and field goal. I’m sure other Ags do not share the same mentality that I do, many want the game back because it was a Thanksgiving tradition between families with Horns and Aggies. I just don’t want it back neither do many horns.”

We have moved on and while it might seem to some UT and A&M have outgrown each other that is not necessarily true. Outgrowing each other would be fans not asking we play each other again. Fans forgetting about the rivalry we had and just not caring about the rivalry. It has not and I think will not ever get to that point. After 118 years of playing each other, you would think both sides just not wanting to play each other wouldn’t be a popular opinion.

That brings up the next person, farwellrob who’s an Aggie, that said “Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin are two of the best schools in the nation. Academically, athletically, and culturally, they feature unique and proud fan bases.

In Austin, you have a very liberal school focusing on ‘keeping Austin weird’ while still managing to believe they are portraying the ideals of the state.

Less than 100 miles away, you’ve got College Station with one of the most conservative universities in the nation. Unlike our urban cousins, A&M has its roots set firmly in the rural soil.

Our schools pump out some fantastic graduates that end up working in the region … right next to the graduates of their rivals.

Every day you have to go to work or live next door to, fans of the other school. Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and all the smaller cities are filled with graduates of the two schools.

It makes for a rivalry that endures long after the teams stopped playing each other on the field.”

This plays right into what I said before. Both fans haven’t forgotten and haven’t stopped wanting to play each other. Both sides still want to see who truly is better on the football field. If you look at the 2012 season, if a&m had stayed in the big 12 they would have absolutely stomped Texas. A&M would’ve also had a chance of winning the big 12. That is if a&m still hired Kevin Sumlin who in turn gave the starting spot to Johnny Manziel. The previous head coach wouldn’t have done that because he wasn’t sold on the Johnny Football hype train. Which had only been in Kerrville Texas, the high school Manziel played at.

The last comment I have to show you today is an Aggie by the name of ou77-am0 (who is also a Reddit user) who says “Anyone who says the game shouldn’t be back needs to shut it. There’s no “moving on” from this game. There’s no “it doesn’t have any bearing” for it either.

Seriously. Go look at the players for both teams on Twitter or whatever social media they are on. I’m willing to bet that the Longhorn players tweet more about A&M than UT and vice versa. And you know why?

BECAUSE WE’RE RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO EACH OTHER.

We’re a hundred miles apart. We have two of the largest alumni groups in the nation and the majority of those grads work right next to each other. And they’ve done that for a hundred freakin’ years. I work in Austin. I knew a ton of Longhorns when I worked in Houston. I have Aggie friends in Dallas who are the same way.

We are two schools that are so closely interwoven that we don’t even realize it.

This is why when we hosted them for baseball at our stadium that has a maximum capacity of 6,100, the official attendance was 6,956.

It needs to be played and I’m willing to bet that it will be played.

I’m just annoyed we haven’t gotten to play them since we left.”

He’s right. If you think about, both sides tweet about each other as if it’s as if they’re an ex-boyfriend (and or girlfriend) and you can’t stop talking or thinking about him/her. One side says how said the ex is doing so poorly after the breakup. The other one talks about how the ex is doing so great on the break and they aren’t bitter how things ended. Doesn’t matter if they got the last laugh, the ex is being successful. So the other side calls that side to see if they could meet up together and talk about how things are going. But that side doesn’t want and claims how it’s so busy. You see where I’m going here? Texas and Texas a&m represent a nasty breakup that ended with one side doing very well and the other not so much. This relationship needs to get back together and both need to dating each other again. Meaning both schools need to start playing each other again

So I think the census is pretty clear A&M needs to play UT again. Most fans think so.