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Play the Game

Dante Hall

QUARANTINE DAY 1,000,012 — TexAgs published a piece this week entitled 10 Reasons Texas A&M doesn’t need to play Texas. No time for dilly dallying... we dive in:

Once again that time has arrived when hot air gusts, annoying pests emerge and fatigue quickly sets in.

But enough about sports journos.

We are, of course, referring to the Texas Longhorns’ annual summer attempt to pressure Texas A&M into renewing the football series that ended in 2012 — at the Longhorns’ behest.

And the behest of players, coaches, former players, fans of A&M, fans of UT, fans of college football, and people who prefer joy over TexAgs groupthink.

This year, the hot air and pests came early in the form of self-serving, sophomoric and contradictory statements from Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte on the tired, old subject of renewing the Texas A&M-Texas football series. He referenced several college football rivalries and said not playing those games makes no sense.

Freud suggested that humans project their feelings to defend their own egos. Self-serving, sophomoric, and contradictory... it works. By the by, have you ever heard Chancellor John Sharp speak?

Oh, and there is only one way for that “tired, old subject” to go away.

Makes no sense? Kind of like one college football program starting its own television network or demanding conference-generated revenue should not be evenly distributed among teams in that conference?

That makes about as much sense as a 10-team conference calling itself the Big 12.

Or a conference called the Big Ten having 14 teams. Or a league called the Southeastern Conference having schools in Texas and Missouri.

Further, Del Conte said: “My goal is to play anyone that’s won a national championship in the modern era as part of our non-conference schedule.”That was interpreted nationally as a shot at A&M, which we all know has not won a national title since 1939.

Agreed. That quote was moronic. I said as much on Twitter.

That’s fine. A&M continues to focus on the future rather than the past.

Yes. Aggies are known for not focusing on the past.

But if Del Conte is taking shots at A&M through the media, why is he also whining about A&M’s disinterest in playing Texas?

Because when you hate a rival sometimes you might want to play them in American collegiate football.

Texas is like that unbalanced significant other from a past toxic relationship. You put up with their high-maintenance, selfish drama for way too long and then finally leave.

The psycho ex eventually begs you to come back. But you realize it’s not hard to make a list of at least 10 reasons not to go back.

If football opponents are lovers then we need to file domestic violence charges based on the events that transpired in Baton Rouge over Thanksgiving 2019.

10) Texas ended the series: When A&M moved to the Southeastern Conference in 2012, then-Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said: “They left. They’re the ones that decided not to play us.” That’s simply not true. A&M wanted the series to continue. That would’ve been possible, too. Florida faces Florida State. Georgia faces Georgia Tech. Kentucky faces Louisville. South Carolina faces Clemson. The series could’ve continued despite A&M’s move; Texas didn’t want to play the Aggies.

This rivalry is so much bigger than any one man. Especially DeLoss Dodds.

9) Don’t let Texas set terms: Dodds also went on to say: “We get to decide when we’ll play again.” Why? Why would Texas think it gets to decide? That demonstrated Texas felt it still had the ability to assert control over A&M. No thanks.

Yep. They’re smug, peacocking assholes. That’s why we should call their bluff and say “anytime, anywhere.”

8) Texas encouraged Big 12 teams not to schedule A&M: Following A&M’s move, DeLoss reportedly encouraged other Big 12 athletic programs not to schedule Texas A&M in any sport. That in itself is sufficient reason not to schedule Texas.

We’ve played them in a handful of non-football sports already. Reason seems insufficient.

7) Don’t be manipulated: Unaccustomed to not getting what it wants, Texas has attempted to pressure A&M through media. That includes many reporters with ties to Texas, Texas officials, fans and other media accusing A&M of “ducking” Texas while conveniently overlooking the fact that A&M has scheduled much more successful programs like Clemson and Notre Dame. A&M should not bow to Texas’ strong-arm tactics.

Today I read “don’t be manipulated” on

Both programs are ducking each other. The A&M-Texas rivalry is full of petty, arrogant, vain, condescending individuals with comically outsized views of self. It’s a mask to cover the deep, deep fear of losing and having to eat a gigantic shit sandwich.

Losing is never fun, but there is no shit sandwich for UT or A&M if you lose to Notre Dame or Clemson. They’re not rivalry match-ups. Most Aggies might only loosely know a few Alabama grads. But every Aggie knows dozens of Longhorns. We work with them. We have them in our families. Hell, some of us are married to them. The personal stakes are higher in rivalries that span generations.

6) A&M should set its own scheduling philosophy: A&M’s policy is to schedule one Power 5 opponent every season. That’s quite common. Every team in the SEC West Division has the same approach. In fact, that’s what Texas does. True, A&M plays four non-conference games, but A&M shouldn’t be expected to change its philosophy to satisfy Texas.

Scheduling different opponents allows Aggies to travel. Texas A&M made the trip to Clemson just last year.

A&M also had 2019 home games against Texas State, Lamar, and the Fiesta Longhorns of UTSA. 2018? Northwestern State, UL-Monroe, and UAB.

Future opponents include Abilene Christian, North Texas, Kent State, New Mexico, Prairie View A&M, Sam Houston, UMass, McNeese, Bowling Green, New Mexico State, and Tarleton State.

This isn’t an either/or. Drop one of the multiple annual trash games and play a historic rival.

5) Better road trips: Except for the traffic and vagrants, Austin is a fun city. Aggies can go there any time they want. Scheduling different Power 5 opponents allows Aggies to visit other towns and stadiums. A&M has played at Clemson and UCLA. In upcoming seasons, A&M will travel to Colorado, Miami, Notre Dame and Arizona State. Here’s hoping teams like Wisconsin, Penn State and Washington appear on A&M’s future schedules. Maryland would be good, too. Even Texas fans would agree Maryland is a tough opponent.

Got ‘em, O!

Again, not an either/or scenario. Did you know that USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame have never played an FCS program? There’s nothing noble about kicking the shit out of A&M system schools.

4) Better opponents: Frankly, A&M is scheduling better Power 5 opponents than Texas. Since 2012 when A&M left for the SEC, the majority of A&M’s Power 5 non-conference opponents are more successful than Texas.

The Longhorns are 58-45 since 2012 (a 56.3 win percentage). In the same span, Clemson is 101-12 (89.3 percent), Notre Dame is 76-27 (73.7 percent), Miami is 62-40 (60.7 percent), Arizona State is 61-43 (58.6 percent). Even UCLA (54-48, 52.9 percent) is at least comparable.


Not embarrassing the Horns in Austin with Johnny Manziel remains one of the most painful opportunity costs IMHO.

That proves the “A&M is ducking Texas” narrative is completely asinine.

Both schools are terrified and are hiding behind losses to powerful non-rivals to show how tuff they are.

That’s why the game should be played. That’s college football.

3) National brand: A&M is looking to expand its national brand. Therefore, scheduling nationwide makes perfect sense. It seems to be helping in recruiting. A&M’s 2020 recruiting class had 14 players from out of state. The Aggies already have four out of state commitments in their 2021 class.

My cousins in New York and Boston were so jacked up to hear that Texas A&M scheduled Tarleton State.

If we’re just throwing shit at the wall, perhaps Texas and Texas A&M playing each other might keep some recruits in the state. College football in Texas needs a serious jolt. Seven kids from Texas were selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Zero went to A&M or UT.

2) A&M doesn’t need to play Texas: A&M plays LSU, Alabama and Auburn every year. In some seasons they play the likes of Georgia, Florida and Tennessee from the SEC East. Unlike Texas, whose schedule as it stands typically features one marquee home game every other year since the OU game is in Dallas, there is no shortage of marquee games on A&M’s schedule or high-profile opponents coming to Kyle Field.

Neither program “needs” anything. Money is of no object to either and it clearly doesn’t translate to wins anyway. If Texas goes 12-0 or 11-1 with their schedule, they’ll go to the Playoff. Same goes for A&M.

1) Texas wants it so bad: No more explanation is necessary.

Then imagine kicking the ever living shit out of them. Beating a rival must be what heroin feels like.

Football is fun. Let’s have some fun. Gig ‘em.