When Texas A&M left the Big XII for the SEC, University of Texas officials decided to shun the Aggies. “Move and you’ll lose all your games with your biggest rival,” was their message.
But then Johnny Manziel happened, A&M had a much smoother entry into the SEC than most everyone — especially Longhorn fans — expected, and the Aggies found they didn’t really need their game with Texas for national exposure. The SEC’s television contracts and a Heisman-winning quarterback accomplished that better than a Thanksgiving battle with the Horns could.
Texas A&M clearly had the last laugh in 2012. But that doesn’t mean all Aggies have given up on facing Texas somewhere down the road.
Yesterday, Texas lawmaker Ryan Guillen — an A&M grad — introduced a bill in the Texas State House that would require the two schools to play. If they don’t, Guillen proposed that whichever school refused to participate in the game would have a few scholarships stripped. (Good luck with that one.)
“This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbecue,” Guillen said. “The purpose of the bill is to put the eyes of Texas upon our two greatest universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition… I think the people of Texas want a game, and we’re trying to get them one.”
The University of Kentucky agreed to start playing a regular basketball series with Louisville in the mid-80s thanks in some part to pressure from the legislature in the Commonwealth. When Texas and A&M looked to be moving in opposite conference directions in the late-80s/early-90s, the Texas state legislature rattled its saber and the schools remained bound. Legal pressure was also applied to get Texas Tech and Baylor into the Big XII along with Texas and A&M in the mid-90s.
But when A&M left for the SEC this decade, Texas state lawmakers could only wring their hands. And there are just as many Longhorn lawmakers to vote “nay” on Guillen’s bill as their are Aggies who’ll vote “yay.”
Nice try, but we’d be surprised if this move forces the two longtime rivals back onto the football field.