Well, guess what’s in the news again. The Texas A&M-Texas football rivalry is getting folks all amped up again with soundbytes and clips and quotes from various mouthpieces. Had enough already? Sorry, the summer’s just getting warmed up. Since it’s been several years since a football game between the two schools was actually played, here is a handy primer on some of the lesser-known facts about the rivalry game.
1. Shania Twain's hit single "That Don't Impress Me Much" was written for Texas coach John Mackovic following the Longhorns' 27-16 loss in 1997.
The Canadian country diva had a brief infatuation with American college football in the 1990s, and liked to follow the Texas Longhorns during their ensuing struggle in the midst of that decade. She reportedly had enough that fateful Thanksgiving that marked the end of the Mackovic era, throwing up her arms in exasperation in front of the TV and immediately retreating into her diamond-encrusted study over the course of the next year to pen those fateful verses.
2. The two programs have never engaged in an epic dance-off.
Yes, difficult as it may be to comprehend, the two programs have never gathered late at night in an abandoned warehouse complete with DJs and dance-floor lighting, lined up across from each other while spouting off mild insults, and broken into frantic dancing simultaneously to see who had the most epic moves. Crazy!
3. The rivalry actually dates back to Biblical times.
While the two teams didn't face off on the field until 1894, the spirit of the game can be traced back to 2800 BC, when Claytoneus Heldenpath did procure by illegal means from his westward neighbour a steer of young age and did brand upon it a demeaning gesture and sawed from its head the very horns for which it was named. The spurned neighbour then feigned indifference at the injustice while simultaneously writing hundreds of lengthy tomes full of bitter complaints for the remainder of his days.
4. The 1958 game was played in an underground cavern.
During the height of the Red Scare, the state capitol was rumored to be under threat from Cuban-Russian nuclear attacks. The University of Texas Geology Department oversaw the hasty conversion of a vast chamber within the modern-day Inner Space Caverns just north of the city. A rough playing surface was hewn from the living rock and the game was played in front of an exclusive audience under an elaborate system of lantern light. The Longhorns won the game 27-0, although Aggies insist that the officials' vision may have been impaired on all four Texas touchdowns. The field was forever buried in a rockslide in 1961 when a merry group of Aggie Cadet pranksters detonated 50 lbs of TNT at the cave's entrance—classic college hijinx! Hilarious!
5. No administrators from either side have ever actually watched a football game.
Absurd as it may sound, no senior official from either Texas A&M University or the University of Texas has ever watched a football game in its entirety. While they may talk like old sports blowhards, their Saturdays are spent in the most exclusively luxurious VIP suites their respective stadiums have to offer. There they while away the afternoons and evenings hobnobbing with wealthy donors, comparing TV market shares with their counterparts from visiting schools, brainstorming potential revenue streams, and personally drawing up concession stand menus.