Texas and Texas A&M Want to Renew the Rivalry, So Why Can't They?

Texas v Texas A&M
Texas v Texas A&M / Darren Carroll/Getty Images

The University of Texas' fight song contains the verse, "And it's goodbye to A&M." Conversely, Texas A&M's "war hymn" contains the verse, "Goodbye to Texas University".

After November 24th, 2011, those lines took on a depressing new meaning. The two schools have not met on the football field ever since. The core reason boils down to Texas A&M's departure from the Big 12 Conference in 2012 to join the Southeastern Conference, splitting the two schools.

Earlier this week, while speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, University of Texas Athletic Director Ross Del Conte offered his support for the return of the rivalry on an annual basis, stating "Us not playing A&M is not good for college football."

Unfortunately, things are a little more complicated than the standard WWE-style sign-the-contract-and-agree-to-fight approach.

Every major college football team has a set number of non-conference opponents which are usually filled years in advance, and both Texas and Texas A&M are no exception.

According to former Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, bitter feelings about the Aggies' departure for the SEC lingered among Texas and their partners in the Big 12 Conference.

"[Texas] worked along with Baylor and the conference to have no one in the (Big 12) schedule us," said Byrne in 2017.

But as they say, the No. 1 in Texas is football, so naturally, state lawmakers got involved in order to save the storied rivalry. During last November's elections, Rep. Lyle Larson (R) introduced a bill that would force the two schools to play a regular season game every November. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass.

As it stands, the chances of the rivalry's immediate renewal are remote. Both teams' non-conference schedules are packed well into the next decade. Each team is booked to play at least one Power Five opponent until at least 2028. On A&M's campus, there is still some lingering resentment from students and fans, some of whom wrote to school president Michael Young to tell him they wanted no part of a renewed rivalry with the Longhorns.

One wrote that Texas should "die in their pathetic conference and irrelevant schedule."

Still, for both teams and fanbases, this has to be a frustrating situation, as both clearly want the rivalry to happen, but don't have the power to make it happen. Neither team has a true rival right now (and no, we don't consider Rice a real rival for Texas anymore). Texas A&M has tried to start something with LSU on Thanksgiving, and while they played a seven-overtime classic last year, it needs more time and some more classic moments before it catches on as a true rivalry game. Texas-Texas A&M already has both of those in spades, and there's no better example of that than how the rivalry prematurely ended.

The final play of the final game in 2011 was a game-winning field goal by Texas kicker (and current Baltimore Raven) Justin Tucker. It's called "The Kick" for a reason. Both teams knew it would be the last time the two would meet for a long, long time, and both desperately wanted to keep the bragging rights forever. The world was crumbling around them, yet each team wanted to be the last one standing.

It shouldn't have to end this way.