The annual rivalry game between Texas and Texas A&M was one of the biggest casualties of conference realignment.
Ever since the series came to a halt upon A&M’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2011, there has been a lot of clamoring — on both sides — about the potential (or lack of it) for the rivalry to resume.
During his time in Austin, Charlie Strong hoped publicly for its return several times. And just last month A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, while acknowledging the scheduling hurdles involved, said he believes the two teams will eventually meet again.
That’s good! What new Longhorns coach Tom Herman said Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days will hopefully inch the thing closer to a resolution.
Asked about his non-conference scheduling philosophy, Herman launched into a fairly lengthy dialogue about his hope of seeing the Aggies on the schedule again — at some point.
“I think it’s really difficult because of the fact that Texas A&M left our conference, we don’t play a rival at home ever. Every other year we played A&M at home and every year we play Oklahoma in Dallas. Those are probably our two biggest rivals,” Herman said via OrangeBloods.com. “Now can we kind of generate and fabricate some new rivalries? Sure. But those are going to be the two main rivals of the University of Texas. They are in recruiting. They are in academia. They are in a lot of things. I don’t know why we can’t play A&M as our marquee non-conference opponent.”
(Herman’s comments about A&M begin a bit after the 23:00 mark below)
There are hurdles to climb here. Herman pointed to the fact that Big 12 teams play nine-game conference schedules while the SEC sticks with eight. Still, there are plenty of in-state, out-of-conference rivals that find a way to put each other on the schedule on a yearly basis. Plus, Herman said, if Texas can schedule opponents like USC (in 2017 and 2018), LSU (in 2019 and 2020) and Ohio State (2022 and 2023), there has to be room for the Aggies, right?
“Again, that’s well above my pay grade but Florida and Florida State find a way to play every year and they’re in different conferences. Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech and the list goes on and on of in-state rivals that are in different conferences that play each other each and every year,” Herman said. “I do think it’s a little more difficult — those are conferences that play eight conference games, not nine (like the Big 12). You can schedule your other three accordingly where we only have two to schedule accordingly. But if you’re going to play big boys such as USC, LSU and Ohio State, I’d like to see us play the big boy right down the road from us.”
Now that’s the spirit!
To follow up, a reporter asked if Herman would initiate talks to schedule A&M. Herman wouldn’t even know where to start, he said. That’s above his pay grade. Plus, that’s a job for after the season, not July. Nonetheless, he appeared to have a purpose for his comments Tuesday.
“Maybe what I just said right there might initiate something. I don’t know,” Herman said. “It makes a lot of sense to me.”
For more Texas news, visit Orangebloods.com.
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