Thursday, November 24, 2011

Texas and Texas A&M are both wrong

If you are a college football fan, then you know that tonight could be the end of one of the game's great rivalries -- Texas and Texas A&M.

With Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 Conference and heading to the SEC, Texas has determined that there is no room on its non-conference schedule to play the Aggies. Until 2019 at the earliest.

Yes, it is easy (and convenient) to bash Texas, suggesting that the Longhorns are displaying that all-too-typical arrogance that is regularly on display in Austin. The criticism of Texas can be summarized in one sentence -- the Longhorns are denying Texas A&M a consistent game to punish the Aggies for leaving the Big 12.

A good argument. But insufficient.

Yes, I am aware that Texas A&M's athletic department leaders made it clear they wanted to continue the rivalry. Yes, I am aware that if the roles had been reversed that Texas' athletic department would be crying foul very publicly and loudly.

But let's also admit to reality here -- Texas A&M doesn't deserve a place on any team's non-conference schedule. By leaving the Big 12 for what they believe will be greener pastures, the Aggies thumbed their nose at the long-term relationships involving (among others) Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It will begin making new rivalries with Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama and others.

Once the heat-of-the-moment tensions are over, there will be an opportunity for both schools to sit down and reconsider whether the rivalry should continue. Whether they take advantage of that opportunity remains to be seen.

Will that happen in time for a game in 2012? I doubt it. But once the conversations begin (if they do), we'll see whether Texas or Texas A&M is committed to playing an annual game.

For now, blame both the Longhorns and the Aggies for what what has happened.

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