Lone Star shutout
Blind arrogance source of rivalry delay
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 23:03
Ever since Texas A&M bolted the Big 12 to join the highly competitive SEC, the legendary A&M-Texas football game has created some in-state drama. While parties from both sides of the rivalry expect the Lone Star Showdown to eventually resume play, the timing of when the rivalry might continue remains unclear.
On Monday, the University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds added another chapter to the already taxing break-up, saying the Longhorns hold the fate of the rivalry.
“They left,” Dodds told The Daily Texan. “They’re the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that’s fair. I think there’s too many hard feelings.”
From my perspective, Dodds’ blunt arrogance regarding Texas’ relationship with A&M is beyond unhelpful, it’s spiteful.
A&M left a conference that, at the time, was struggling to stay afloat following the loss of Nebraska and Colorado and was entertaining talks of merging multiple powerhouse programs with the Pac-12. All across the country, conference realignment swirled and no one was certain which conferences would survive and which would fall apart.
Instead of risking a continued stay in a league that was on the brink of becoming history, the Aggies took their talents to the highly stable, extremely lucrative Southeastern Conference. A&M valued security over an affiliation with the Big 12, which had nothing to do with the University of Texas.
For former Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, the move to the SEC was more about finding A&M stability — something he felt was missing in the Big 12.
“I think it was a brilliant move to go to the Southeastern Conference, which screams stability," Byrne said in March 2012. "No one is trying to get out of the Southeastern Conference.”
It’s easy to understand why the Longhorns could be reluctant to renew the century-old rivalry. Not only does A&M have one of the most high-powered offenses in the country, led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, but the Aggies also went 11-2 in a conference that has won the past seven national titles.
Not to mention the 41-13 pounding Manziel and A&M put on Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl — the same squad Texas lost to, 63-21 in October.
The point, though, is that a rivalry has two sides. Neither Texas nor A&M solely “controls” the fate of the nation’s longest in-state battle for bragging rights.
For the rivalry to renew, both sides are going to have to cooperate. Each school’s priorities are faulty. The blame game may be entertaining for the media, but throwing mud back and forth has no hope of reigniting the Lone Star Showdown. In fact, it more than likely will force the renewal further into the future.
According to A&M Chancellor John Sharp, the Aggies will “play the game anywhere, any time.” Meanwhile, Dodds says, “I think we’ll play sometime.”
So what’s the problem?
When the Texas state government has the time to introduce a bill requiring the two programs to play, the process is officially taking too long.
The Aggies will once again take the field to square off against the Longhorns — there is no doubt about it. Texas is too football-oriented to miss its most distinguished rivalry.