Texas vs. Texas A&M is one of the best rivalries in college football that just so happens to take place in one of the most football mad places on earth. Every single person on earth who is a reasonable fan of college football would like to see Texas and Texas A&M play every year.
Only the two sides aren’t playing while Texas Longhorn fans deal with the rejection that comes from Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. This year was the first without a Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry football game since 1914.
Put simply, it’s stupid this game isn’t being played.
And now at least one member of the Texas Legislature agrees and is getting involved.
Representative Ryan Guillen announced the bill this evening on Twitter: “Just filed HB 778; it requires UT and A&M to play each other annually in a nonconference, regular season football game.”
So far there are no other details available on the Texas House of Representatives website.
But before you dismiss the state legislature getting involved in a rivalry football game as a ridiculous proposition unbeffiting of a state legislature, keep in mind that state legislatures have previously needed to get involved to restart rivalries like Alabama vs. Auburn. Believe it or not the Iron Bowl wasn’t played for over forty years from 1907 until 1948. Why? Because among other trivial disagreements, the two sides couldn’t agree how much expenses to play players — some things never change — and also where the officials should come from. (The SEC solved this issue years ago by ensuring that all football officials are Alabama fans).
What finally got Alabama and Auburn moving?
The threat of Alabama politicians withholding funds from the state universities. (The state legislature was also instrumental in Louisville and Kentucky restarting their football and basketball rivalries as well. The South Carolina legislature also mandated South Carolina vs. Clemson in the 1950’s. The state legislature was also involved in Florida and Florida State beginning a rivalry. As if that wasn’t enough, Virginia Tech is in the ACC thanks to political wranglings involving the legislature and the governor’s office. So, yeah, politics getting involved with football has actually worked before in the South).
So before you dismiss the efforts of the Texas legislature to get a football rivarly restarted, perhaps it’s worth asking this question — what will the Texas legislature accomplish this session that makes more people happy? The argument that the Texas legislature has more important things to worry about is, sadly, probably not true. Most state legislatures don’t really accomplish that much in any sessions. I know, I know, the Longhorns are still bitter over A&M’s depature and supposedly this game will never be played again. But every fan of college football knows that’s just stupid. Eventually these two teams are going to play again.
If anything, the Texas and Texas A&M rivalry actually has even more importance now because it’s not just a referendum on football in the state, it’s the SEC vs. the Big 12.
Will this bill receive lots of support? I’m not sure. But I’ll guarantee you this. It’s about to get a whole hell of a lot of attention.