The best currently defunct rivalry in college football is the one between Texas and Texas A&M. It seems the SEC had done everything in its power and succeeded in preventing the two schools from playing each other in a bowl game this season, which instead will be a chance for Arkansas to revive their fierce rivalry with the Longhorns.
But while it’s great for the older fans of both schools who remember the fierce battles between the two in the days of the SWC before Arkansas left to the SEC in 1991, Texas A&M means a whole lot more to Longhorns fans. In the Texas Bowl, played in Houston, would have been a perfect opportunity for everyone to generate a huge national hype and bring in plenty of fans from both schools despite the lackluster seasons for both.
Not too long ago Chip Brown wrote a report about the SEC, seeing what’s coming in time, doing everything in its power to prevent the two same-state schools from clashing in bowl games affiliated with the Big 12 and ACC. At first it seemed like rumors and nothing more, and although correlation does not imply causation, why give up on a chance to put together the most profitable bowl game possible for everyone involved?
Pretty simple. The SEC is riding high on the assumption that it is the best conference in the land. Results in national championship games suggest that’s true, but they did fail to win it last year, and they have plenty of dud teams this season, especially in the SEC East. The SEC West seems stacked, but mostly because it’s a dog eat dog conference. Alabama lost to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl last season, Georgia to Nebraska and Auburn to Florida State.
There’s nothing for the SEC to gain from Texas A&M playing against Texas. The fear of losing certain advantages the Aggies might have gained by moving to the SEC could be undone with a national showing of the Longhorns, who won the last time these two teams were on the same field together in 2011, made the SEC act like a playground bully. Instead of having confidence in it’s teams, just like their weird habit of scheduling FCS teams late in the season and generally having weak non-conference schedules, the conference chiefs are made out to be a bit paranoid about losses. Something along the lines of the Floyd Mayweather of College Football.
Texas against Arkansas isn’t bad. These are two teams that played 77 times, with the first meeting happening back in 1894. The Razorbacks, just like the Longhorns, are a team that has a very good defense but can sometimes look embarrassing offensively. It might create a very entertaining game, not to mention the opportunity for the media to run stories of past games, including the 2000 Cotton Bowl which Arkansas won.
But Texas A&M against Texas, a reunion of siblings that really hate each other, so much that they won’t even play each other anymore, would have been better. Maybe the only way to get them back on the field will really be through legislation.