The Cold War was a state of political and athletic tension after conference realignment between powers in the SEC (Texas A&M) and powers in the Big XII (Texas, Baylor, and others).
Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but 2011 to present day is common. The term "cold" is used because there was no football played directly between the two sides, although there were many transitive victories and recruiting battles, known as moral victories, supported by the two sides. The Cold War split the temporary wartime alliance against Oklahoma, leaving the Texas A&M and Texas as two athletic programs with profound stereotypical and political differences: the former being a conservative, small-town state operating an Air Raid offense and featuring a controlled press box and exclusive rights to running this state , and the latter being a liberal, metropolitan, free-spirit state with generally ineffectual offense and a talented but exhausted defense. A self-proclaimed neutral bloc arose across all of college football; this faction rejected association with either the Aggies or the Longhorns and felt they could both go to hell. The two superpowers never engaged directly in football, but they were heavily armed in preparation for a possible all-out Twitter war. Each side had a potential-loss deterrent that deterred an attack by the other side, on the basis that such an attack could potentially lead to total a loss on the field attacker: the doctrine of mutually assured dullness (MAD). This is also the origin of the term "nuclear football", and both sides had hidden silos full of 5 star recruits aimed at the other in threat. Aside from the development of the two sides' 4 and 5 star arsenals, the struggle for dominance was expressed via transitive-property victories around the globe, psychological warfare, massive propaganda campaigns and counter subconscious espionage, rivalry at non-football sports events, and tweeting at recruits.
The first phase of the Cold War began in the first two years after Nebraska and Colorado left the Big XII. Texas consolidated its control over the states of the Big XII, while the Aggies began a strategy of conference realignment to challenge Longhorn power, extending feelers and promises of fertile recruiting ground to the countries of the SEC. The Baylor Blockade (2011) was the first major crisis of the Cold War. With victory of the Aggie side in the Billboard War and the announcement of their departure to the SEC, the conflict expanded. The Big XII and SEC competed for influence in Missouri and the recruiting areas states of north and east Texas. Meanwhile, the PAC-16 realignment was stopped by the Aggies. Following the Longhorn QB recruiting crisis, a new phase began that saw the Johnny Football era lead to unexpected success for the Aggies, while the Longhorns had… you know… David Ash. The Aggies crushed the Oklahoma program in the Cotton Bowl, but the Alamo Bowl ended with a defeat of the A&M-backed Republic of Oregon State, prompting further adjustments.
By the 2013, both sides had become interested in accommodations to play sports again, inaugurating a period of détente that saw baseball and basketball game scheduling and the Aggies opening relations with the People's Republic of UCLA as a strategic counterweight to the Longhorn / Notre Dame alliance. Détente collapsed at the end of the recruiting cycle with the Murray Jefferson War. Early 2015 was a period of elevated tension, with the Longhorns downing Aggie hopes of landing Malik Jefferson and Kyler Murray tweeting out a Texas jersey. The Aggies increased economic support to the Murray family, at a time when the maroon state was already suffering from dropping oil prices. In mid-2015, the new Longhorn leader Steve Patterson introduced the liberalizing reforms of pereStronga ("core values") and Agsnost ("openness to playing again") and ended the plundering of alumni wallets. Pressures to play the game again grew stronger in the Twittersphere, especially with Good Bull Hunting famously imploring the athletic director, "Mr. Patterson, tear down that wall."