I saw a great metaphor for what is currently going on between Texas A&M and UT. The schools are in a cold war. Both sides posture and try to position themselves as the dominant force without actually playing football. Each administration produces timely propaganda to help support their cause and make the other side rethink their position.
Now we've come to the point when rumors swirl that UT might be interested in playing A&M again, based on incoming AD Steve Patterson's past efforts at Arizona State:
New Texas AD Steve Patterson unafraid to play A&M. Was working on 2015 ASU-A&M game in Houston before taking UT job.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerCBS) November 6, 2013
That volley was received by reporter Brent Zwerneman who covers A&M, and the Aggies fired back through an interview with Jason Cook, Sr. Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs:
"We hope to play them again in a BCS or playoff game at some point," A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook told me this afternoon.
The quote appears to be a polite way of saying "we'll see what happens," but it has been spun into a declaration that the Aggies are unwilling to schedule the Longhorns in the regular season. This quote was drawn from longer interviews with both Brent Zwerneman and ESPN's Brett McMurphy, so they may be applying a context that is wholly appropriate. Or they may be sensationalizing. You can decide for yourself.
Others have run with the story, painting A&M as a jilted ex-lover who conveniently forgot proclaiming they would have no problem playing the Longhorns during the great conference shuffle of 2011:
That comment from President Loftin was made in response to outgoing Texas AD Deloss Dodd's statement that scheduling the game would be "problematic." Dodds later cited scheduling itself as the main issue claiming that UT was booked through 2018.
So if you're keeping tabs, this is where we are:
2011-2012: A&M:Anytime, Anywhere, UT: No
2013: A&M:No, UT:Maybe
But let's go back even further. In the summer of 2010 after the first wave of conference defections, well before Texas A&M split off to the SEC, UT president Bill Powers sat down with Kirk Bohls to talk through the decision making processes that resulted in both UT and A&M staying in the Big 12. He shared this nugget of information:
"We are delighted that we're in a conference together. We weren't going to end the relationship with A&M, whatever they did," Powers said, hinting that Texas and A&M would continue to play each other even if they were in separate conferences.
So at that point in time, no feelings were hurt, and the UT brass was more than happy to continue playing Texas A&M regardless of conference affiliation. So if you're trying to tally the number of times both sides have waffled, I have A&M at one and UT at two.
What's the point of all this? Neither side is going to be forced into a decision and both sides are going to make a decision based on what's in their current best interest. For those folks hoping to see this game happen, you've got to hope that those best interests overlap at some point with both sides perceiving a benefit from playing the game.
I do not see that situation coming soon. Texas A&M's Johnny Football fueled ratings are through the roof right now. A&M really has nothing to gain from playing UT, while reports have come out regarding UT's increased concern about A&M's recent high level of performance.
The bottom line is that as much as everyone wants to point fingers at the other side for waffling, they're both guilty.