EDIT: since the publishing of this piece, some confusion has been cleared and A&M and Oregon WILL play in 2018-2019.
It's a damn shame. The future home-and-home match ups for A&M between USC and Oregon will not take place. The Ags were slated to play USC in 2015-2016 and Oregon in 2018-2019.
Bill Byrne was many things, but one thing I appreciate about him was his willingness to find good out-of-conference games. Under the Byrne regime, Texas A&M had series against Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Utah, Miami, Clemson, and Pitt. Granted, thanks to one Dennis Wayne Franchione, these marquee games often ended in fan rage and alcoholism. Hi Larry Fitzgerald!
Nevertheless, the trips are fun and it's a good time showing new fans around Aggieland. I went to the Clemson game and had an absolute blast. I don't know any Ags that didn't love that trip.
I understand that the move to the SEC has made non-conference scheduling tricky coming out of the gate. I also get that schools aren't really incentivized to load up on non-conference games that could result in losses. This is college football though and it is supposed to be fun. Miami coming to College Station is a helluva lot more fun than Sam Houston. Some people dream of travels to Paris and Rome. I dream about college football pilgrimages. The following is a wish list of home-and-homes I'd love to see on future schedules.
Listed in no particular order
This one is of personal interest to me since I have degrees from both schools. These fan bases have more in common than you may think. Both are obsessed with tradition, reluctant to change, pretty conservative, generally affable, and wildly passionate. We almost surprisingly got this match up for the BCS Championship back in January.
I hate Michigan, but I have been to a game in Ann Arbor, and it is a great experience. It's a fun town, and the remodeled Big House is a fantastic venue. The B1G knows that they need to recruit Texas and the South hard these days, so I imagine they'd jump at the chance for another trip to Texas despite the recent bloodbath Michigan suffered in Arlington.
Winnable, and we get to go to Chicago in the fall. Deluxe time sure to be had by all.
I've never been to Camp Randle, but Madison is awesome. Pack a spare liver, because Badgers have wooden legs when it comes to drankin'. The SEC is superior to the B1G in countless ways. September weather is not one of them.
The Ags need to avenge an 0-4 bowl record against the Buckeyes. It'd also be nice to take our unlearned asses to Gordon Gee's home and kick him in the teeth. Ohio State fans would travel in droves to College Station.
This might be one of the more underrated road trips in the country. Hospitable fans, pretty campus, gorgeous girls, top notch in-game experience. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Chapel Hill is a fantastic college town.
Easy to get in and out of, and there's some great golf. See also, girls.
Autzen at night is supposedly a scene. I'd also like to see our fans interact with the crunchy folks of Eugene, Oregon. So similar! Get this series back on the schedule.
Palo Alto is a delight, and the Stanford campus is stunning.
USC or UCLA
The Rose Bowl is perhaps the finest sporting environment I've ever been to. The Coliseum is a shithole surrounded by shit. No matter. Either of these match ups would be a blast for fans. Maybe we get a Rose Bowl vacation in January 2014 anyhow? Shhhhhhhh.
The stadium is getting an awesome overhaul and is right on the water. Seattle is a great place to visit and offers plenty to do surrounding the game.
Who do you want to play? Where do you want to go?
Oh, there is also a non-conference Thanksgiving game I'm staunchly in support of playing.