It was once thought Texas state legislature was what would keep Texas and Texas A&M in the same conference. That proved not to be the case. Does it have the power to reunite the long time rivals? One legislator in the state of Texas hopes so.
Democratic representative Ryan Guillen, a Texas A&M alum, has introduced a bill that looks to mandate an annual football game between the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies. Guillen announced his bill via Twitter Monday night.
“Just filed HB 778,” Guillen tweeted referring to the bill. “It requires UT and A&M to play each other annually in a nonconference, regular season football game.”
Details of the bill, such as when the game would be scheduled and perhaps how each school would be compensated and more, are not yet known.
“This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbeque,” Guillen told the Texas Tribune. “The purpose of the bill is to put the eyes of Texas upon our two greatest universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition.”
Who is to blame more for placing the longtime rivalry on ice is debatable, but when Texas A&M made the move from the Big 12 to the SEC official for the 2012 season it was clear the rivalry with Texas was taking a back seat for a period of time. Scheduling a game between Texas and Texas A&M is difficult because the Longhorns have a mostly filled non-conference schedule through 2017. With the Big 12 also looking to explore partnerships with the ACC and perhaps another conference, one more game each year could be filled with a scheduling agreement similar to what the Pac 12 and Big Ten had previously arranged before falling apart.
Another potential obstacle for scheduling and mandating a game between the two largest football powers in the state of Texas could be future conference expansions.
The Big 12 is sitting with ten members but could be evaluating options to increase to 12 members. The SEC is already made up of 14 members and unless the ACC falls apart, that membership total could stay right where it is. The Big Ten currently discussing the idea of a 10-game conference schedule once the conference expands to 14 members with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland. It would not be a surprise if other conferences such as the SEC give that scheduling concept a hard look.
There is a precedent for state government intervening with football schedules. The state of Virginia got involved when the ACC was first looking to expand to 12 members, resulting in the conference inviting Virginia Tech to leave the Big East with Miami and Boston College instead of Syracuse. Virginia Governor Mark Warner had blocked the University of Virginia from voting to accept Miami, Syracuse and Boston College, putting the pressure on the school to vote for Virginia Tech instead. West Virginia and Marshall were also brought together for a series of games after state government got involved.
Getting Texas and Texas A&M back together could be a different story though. Both schools have high-profile programs in power conferences. Neither school needs the game to be financially secure.
But if the bill works, college football will get back one victim of conference realignment. It would still be a fun game to watch even for the casual fan. In the end, is that not what we all want?
Kevin is a national college football writer for snaptwig.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow McGuire on Twitter and nominate him for a Shorty Award. He can be reached at email@example.com.