HARRIS COUNTY - HSA INSIDER
A weekly look at all things Houston sports from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority: Is UT vs. A&M a real possibility?
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The closer it gets, the more we wonder.
Could we see the state’s biggest rivalry renewed in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl?
Yes, we’re talking Texas versus Texas A&M.
Have your attention?
Inquiring minds have been turning this one over for a while now, but we can thank USA TODAY for throwing it out there as an honest-to-gosh prediction for the Dec. 27 matchup in NRG Stadium.
The prognosticators have been working overtime this week, trying to come up with their best logical matchups for the holiday bowl games – even the College Football Playoffs which hang on this weekend’s games, including the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12 Championships.
So many possibilities, so many upset-minded teams. It’s been that kind of season. Just look at Alabama’s fall from the top last week or Miami’s tumble from No. 2.
A number of teams in the state of Texas will be playing in bowls, but could that possible Texas-A&M matchup in Houston be more than just an interesting thought?
The Texas Bowl, after all, matches a Big 12 team against a Southeastern Conference team. Texas and A&M fill those spots and are right down the road from Houston.
“We would certainly welcome the chance to host these 2 great institutions if the opportunity presented itself,’’ said David Fletcher, Executive Director of the Texas Bowl.
“That’s a game that resonates well beyond the football field and would really be outstanding for the fans and for our community.”
The rivalry that lasted 118 years, the one that’s incorporated into the Aggie War Hymn, ended in 2011 when Texas’ Justin Tucker, now the Baltimore Ravens’ kicker, nailed a 40-yard field goal as time ran out to give Texas a 27-25 wild win in College Station.
It was a fitting end to a rivalry that began in 1894 in Austin with a 38-0 Texas win and became a Thanksgiving tradition. But even though A&M headed off to the SEC, the talk of renewing the rivalry that spanned decades in the Southwest Conference and the Big 12 never really died.
Both teams had disappointing seasons. The 6-6 Longhorns lost four games they could have won in Tom Herman’s first year, while the 7-5 Aggies ended their season by firing Kevin Sumlin and are searching for a coach.
If they do wind up meeting in the Texas Bowl, the Longhorns and Aggies could be playing in front of a record crowd. The two schools have the two largest alumni totals in the city and Herman went 22-4 in two seasons as the Houston Cougars’ head coach before heading to Austin.
It’s a great thought, but, honestly, it’s doubtful it will happen.
The athletic departments at the two schools haven’t tried to revive the rivalry in the regular season, so the idea they would agree to play each other in a bowl is, well, just one of those intriguing thoughts that meander through our brains. USA TODAY’s prediction just made us think a little harder.
It’s much more likely that if Texas is chosen to go against an SEC team, the Longhorns’ opponent would be an LSU or Mississippi State. And A&M? The Aggies might be headed to Nashville for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Then again, everything could change with this weekend’s games.
But it was fun to think about that rivalry matchup for a few minutes, wasn’t it?
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