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Big 12 Football: Not the Same Without A&M vs Texas

For as long as any college football can remember, Thanksgiving weekend in the state of Texas has meant the Texas Longhorns played the Texas A&M Aggies. If you’ve ever seen the Burt Reynolds/Dolly Parton movie “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” they even use this game as part of the movie plot. A&M and Texas are such bitter rivals, they even mention the other one in their own fight songs. For years fans enjoyed the traditions such as the huge bonfire A&M would build the week of the game. We lost that tradition when a tragic accident in the late 1990s killed some of the A&M students building the bonfire. Now we’ve lost the game too.

The reason for the loss of the rivalry? Conference realignment and the bad feelings that have ensured. Texas, playing the part of the jilted lover, refuses to schedule A&M now that the Aggies have left the Big 12 for the SEC. So now college football fans must pay the price. Conference realignment has meant the loss of many great rivalries in the past few years. Oklahoma and Nebraska no longer meet. Auburn and Florida rarely meet. Penn State and Pitt rarely meet. No more West Virginia-Pitt. No Texas-Arkansas. No more of some of the most bitter rivalries in the sport. But to not have A&M vs Texas, is the worst of them all.

Imagine if Notre-Dame stopped playing USC, or Alabama no longer played Auburn. Imagine no Georgia-Florida, Florida State-Miami, Michigan-Ohio State, Florida-Florida State or Georgia-Georgia Tech. Imagine no South Carolina-Clemson, Cal-Stanford, Arizona State-Arizona or USC-UCLA. That’s what we’ve lost without A&M-Texas. And that is a shame.

This week, ESPN tried to pass off TCU-Texas as a rivalry game. Please. TCU and Texas met every year in the old Southwest conference. Nobody cared. When that conference dissolved, there was Texas and A&M and even Baylor and Texas Tech joining the Big Eight to form the Big 12. TCU was left to join C-USA. To the credit of the Horned Frogs, they stepped up their game, first in the C-USA and then in the Mountain West. They produced some great seasons, even wing a Rose Bowl. And now they are part of the Big 12, but mainly because of massive defections by teams like A&M, Missouri, Colorado, and Nebraska. Make no mistake, the Big 12 would rather have those schools back than have TCU. But TCU did beat the Longhorns, so maybe one day if that keeps happening, this will be a good rivalry. But it will never be A&M-UT. And that is a shame.

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