UT AD: Texas A&M Football Series Dead Without ‘Compelling’ Reason

By Kevin Kelley -

The bad blood between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies continues.

Speaking to Paul Finebaum on ESPN Radio yesterday, UT athletics director Steve Patterson said that their football series with Texas A&M is dead unless there is a “compelling” reason for it to resume.

“I think the reality for us is A&M made a choice they felt was best for them to move to the SEC. That’s great for them. They’ve leveraged that well…For us there has to be a real business or branding case made to play anybody that we play with our football games given the way our schedule is structured playing Oklahoma every year in Dallas…Unless there really is a compelling business or branding reason, I see a hard time renewing that rivalry in football,” Patterson said.

Patterson’s statement yesterday falls in line with one he made earlier this month. On playing the Aggies again he said “It’s not at the top of my list.”

Texas and Texas A&M last met on Nov. 24, 2011, and the Longhorns came out on top 27-25. Texas A&M then left the Big 12 Conference to join the SEC. Ever since that move, athletic directors at the two schools haven’t shied away from taking jabs at each other.

Last year, Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds made a strong statement about the Aggies’ move.

“They left,” Dodds said. “They’re the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that’s fair. If you did a survey of our fans about playing A&M, they don’t want to. It’s overwhelming. I know. I hear it. Our fans are important to us. I think there’s got to be a period where things get different. I think there’s too many hard feelings.”

Dodds did say, however, that he thinks the two rivals will get back together on the gridiron eventually. “I think we’ll play sometime,” Dodds said. “I don’t know when it will happen or how it will happen, but I’m sure it will happen.”

New Texas head football coach Charlie Strong was asked about the series at his introductory press conference. He wants to play.

“Oh yeah, you would love to because if you look at it, there’s two schools that played a number of years, and you’d like for that to continue.

“But it’s so hard now with the different conferences, and now when you talk about ‘Hey, let’s go play another Texas A&M,’ you’re asking for a lot of big games to be played. And a lot of schools just don’t want to see that happen right now because the number of in-conference games they have to play.”

The Longhorns and Aggies have met 118 times and played every season from 1915 through 2011. Texas leads the overall series 76-37-5.

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Comments (22)

“I think the reality for us is A&M made a choice they felt was best for them to move to the SEC. That’s great for them. They’ve leveraged that well…For us there has to be a real business or branding case made to play anybody that we play with our football games given the way our schedule is structured playing Oklahoma every year in Dallas…Unless there really is a compelling business or branding reason, I see a hard time renewing that rivalry in football,” Patterson said.


As an outside with no affiliation with either school, I think it’s pretty evident that UT is scared. While I do think Coach Strong will bring the team around eventually, TAMU is head and shoulders above UT on the field whereas the Longhorns are in the very uneasy position of fighting to become the 3rd best team in the state.

UT has a big va-jay-jay! A&M is much better now – so we don’t want any of it! Running Scared!!!

Couple of things. First, when Patterson is saying these things, he is talking to his base, he is talking to the alumni. He was not a popular choice among the money men of the Texas-Ex’s and he is trying to ingratiate himself to those folks. Charlie String has done the same type of thing in the past. He’s basically fellating the alumni.

Second, there are only two reasons to play anyone is college football, tradition and money. They played Oklahoma for a long time before the conferences merge, there is no reason they could not play us on the same terms.

Third, they wont start talking about playing A&M until they feel they are in a position to win. The last thing Peterson or Strong want is to schedule a game and be in a position to loose to both Oklahoma and A&M again. That was a combination that always puts the AD and head Coach’s head on the chopping block.

You see, you didn’t even need to put “Aggie” in your name for us to know you went there. We can tell from the spelling.

While there is clearly animosity between Texas and A&M, if you read what Patterson said (“real business or branding case”), I think you see the real reason this game won’t be played. Texas plays a 9-game conference schedule with one of those games in Dallas. For them to play six home games, five road games and one neutral site game vs. Oklahoma, they have to buy one non-conference home game and then schedule two home-and-home non-conference games. They are already playing either eight or nine games in the state of Texas every year, so committing to playing their one shot a marque non-conference road game in the state of Texas makes no sense for a school that needs to maintain a national brand. If they play A&M home-and-home, they are looking at potentially playing, for example, ten games in Texas, one game in Iowa and one game in West Virginia. That’s not going to work for them. If you look at their future road games, they are in locations like Notre Dame (two games), USC, Ohio State, Cal, FedEx Field in Maryland, and Arkansas (which has been postponed once and I wouldn’t be surprised to see cancelled or moved to JerryWorld). All of those are in places outside the Big 12 footprint, in larger markets, and in significant recruiting areas like California and Ohio.

Texas does not want to play A&M because the Longhorns are upset because the Aggies’ move to the SEC stopped a mass exodus of Big 12 teams to the Pac 12. A&M did not do what Texas wanted them to do, so not playing A&M is their way of punishing the Aggies. This is unfortunate because the Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry was one of the best rivalries in college football. Hopefully in the near future both teams will reschedule games and continue their rivalry.

Meh. Aggies left. They seem happy being in a new conference. The rivalry always mattered more to aTm despite UT’s relative dominance. As a native Texan, I was sad to see the series end, but they killed it the 1st year they stopped playing. Sucks for fans of CFB that the schools had to act so selfishly and ruin something good.

This too shall pass… The Aggies are in a much better place now and with each year that tu hides in a corner like a scolded dog, they become more of a speck in the rearview mirror. tu can say that it’s all about branding, but at the end of the day their branding could be negatively affected by such cowardice. also, tu is so incredibly but hurt that the “red-headed step-child” of Texas has in 2 short years usurped tu’s place at the top. Texas A&M has always been on record as saying “we will play anywhere, anytime”, and that sentiment is echoes across Aggieland. They can say that “they left”(the conference) and think that justifies killing off a mainstay in college football. In reality, OU and tu played each other for several decades while they were in the Big Eight and Southwest Conference respectively. Not to mention, many SEC schools have a tradition of either starting or ending the season with their non-conference, in-state opponent. UF-FSU, SC-Clemson, UGA-GT, UK-L’ville. Point being that the issue is clearly not because of the Aggies move to the SEC, instead it is evidently because the t-sips are so scared of loosing that they’d rather destroy a storied rivalry and try to blame it on A&M. Well go ahead and try to save face and enjoy trying to hype up a thanksgiving game against… wait for it… TCU (the team that got left out of the original Big 12). In classic burnt orange flavored arrogance, this game will always be played at DKR Memorial. So to recap, they retain a substantial amount of the league’s revenue because they don’t believe in equal revenue sharing, they have their own network so they can televise diving and equestrian meets, and now they are apparently too good to play anywhere but at home on Thanksgiving. For the time being most Aggies are content letting bevo keep his head up his own ass because we know that if they ever have the balls to play us in the future they will be knocked off their burnt orange Ivory tower so hard and so fast that they will no longer be able to save face and they’ll have to wallow in the bevoshit that they have laid for themselves. Gig’em! Fighting Texas Aggie ’16

This Steve Patterson character has learned quickly that UT is always on top, always the decider, regardless of the facts. Why did this report come out? A&M does not want to play Texas, does not need to play Texas, and is grabbing more media attention in the SEC than
Texas is doing playing its Big 12 schedule.

Yes, Patterson, this is no compelling reason, but we all knew that.

I’m a KSU grad and a long-time Big 8 fan and supporter. The Big 8 was “controlled” by NU, OU and MU. Whatever they wanted for the conference, happened. UT and Arkansas had always “controlled” the SWC, but Arkansas saw the future was probably better in the SEC, so they left. Don’t recall UT having a big problem with that, and it eventually led the way for the merger with the Big 8 – – a positive outcome for UT, but not for the “little sisters” in the SWC who were left to find another conference. Don’t recall UT having a problem with that, either. A&M was always the team UT had to play as in-state rivals, but their real rival was OU from the Big 8. Everyone outside of College Station knew that. After the conferences merged, UT , OU and NU became the “controllers” of the Big 12. Then UT decided to create the LHN and didn’t include NU or OU as users, only A&M. Perhaps a way of saying “we’re still in control”. However, one of the best, smartest and most respected men in CF, Tom Osborne (then AD at NU), saw the future of the big 12 and it didn’t include NU. OU was somewhere in between, but still a “big dog” in the Big 12, behind UT. NU was clearly out, so they decided to leave. Osborne was very clear as to why. Colorado saw no future, either, so they left for the PAC 12 – – a liberal university going to a liberal conference. Good fit.

Then A&M started looking into the LHN and saw it would be exclusive to UT and A&M, but not the rest of the Big 12 (now 10). Talk started of a mass exodus to the PAC 12 of the four Texas schools, OU and OSU, led by UT AD Deloss Dodds (a KSU grad, BTW). No thought whatsoever for the northern division schools in the Big 12. Purely a win-win for UT, et al. Except that the PAC 12 revenue-shares and UT didn’t want to share the LHN. The PAC 12 rejected the UT, et al, offer. In the meantime, A&M started thinking about how to bump up their brand to equal status as UT, but there was no way they could in the Big 12/10 as long as UT and OU continued to call the shots. They would always be the red-headed step child (I’m a red head, so I can say that). The SEC wanted to expand and was willing to take on two more teams, so A&M and MU (not a big dog in the Big 12/10), decided to listen to what they had to offer. Turns out it was clearly much better than what the Big 12/10 (meaning UT and OU) could offer. The SEC offered equal revenue sharing on a much bigger scale, and equal representation in conference decisions. No more one or two schools (UT and OU) deciding who does what. Plus, their TV schedule was (and is) much better.

Did I also mention I’m an A&M fan, as well? We have two daughters who are Aggies, we live in College Station, and both of us have worked at A&M for a total of 25 years. We know a lot about A&M’s traditions and the rivalry with t.u. (that’s how Aggies refer to UT). In 17 years as season ticket holders, I can recall A&M playing on TV only 1-2 times a year, not counting bowl games. Sometimes three games if they played a Top 10 non-conference team. Not a lot of TV revenue. However, the SEC offered the opportunity to play on TV nearly every week (think mega $$$). Additionally, their other sports (baseball, BB, and the non-revenue sports) would also be on TV more often, unlike in the Big 12/10 – – except on the LHN – – which UT controlled exclusively. Get the picture? A&M made a choice to be in a conference where they had equal representation, equal footing, and equal revenue with every member school for a long, long time. Branding would go through the roof, not just in sports, but every facet of the University as a whole. UT (aka the Big 12/10) couldn’t offer that. Simple choice with a complex consequence – – UT. UT was out-smarted by the red-headed step child. UT could have been one of the two schools the SEC courted, but they didn’t want to share LHN revenues with SEC schools, so Mike Slive asked A&M to consider joining the SEC. Win – win. UT is now in the position of having to explain why they “can’t” put A&M on their schedule (let the step-child touch the Emperor’s clothes), but it just won’t sell. Patterson doesn’t know anything about the rivalry, but is being “coached up” by the big $$$ Texas Ex’s who are reeling by A&M deciding what’s best for its future. BTW, Texas high school athletes now have a real choice, as well.

I seem to remember things a bit differently. Yes, A&M jumped to the SEC with good reason. Ags everywhere understand that. And, despite TU’s claims, the LHN may have been the final blow, but it, by itself, had nothing to do with the exodus. After the split, A&M initially wanted to continue the A&M vs. TU Thanksgiving tradition. And, from what I know and read, both A&M and TU alumni wanted to see the tradition continued. However, DeLoss Dodds nixed that. He said it was a scheduling problem, but the two years following the jump to the SEC, the Thanksgiving game was already set. Furthermore, Dodds declared TU would not play A&M in any sport and forbid his minor sport coaches from even talking to their Aggie counterparts. From my viewpoint, it was all Dodds idea of “if you won’t play the way we want you to, we will just take our ball and go home.” Vindictive, sour grapes reaction, by any description. Like many other Ags, I wanted to see the Thanksgiving tradition continue, but now I hope the Ags and TU never renew the rivalry. If the two teams meet in a playoff situation somewhere, that’s OK. But A&M has nothing to gain by playing TU, and much to lose, particularly when considering recruiting in Texas.

This DeLoss Dodd’s pity party started back in the ’50s when DKR was in charge of the football program. DKR wanted to create a dynasty for himself and tu. Well, Podnah, in the following couple of generations, he did one helluva job and tu is still feeling the negative effects. These were the days when recruitment regulations were unheard of and Royal worked that angle like a rented mule. Texas had so many recruits on the sidelines at their games it soon became an embarrassment. Royal was recruiting every kid that even looked like they had some potential just so Baylor, Arkansas, Rice, etc couldn’t get a shot at them but most of them just got splinters on the bench. Some of these young guys actually got an education out of the deal but most of them never got to play in that ‘land of the pharaohs and giants’. As a young boy I remember going to see Rice and tu in Houston on those ‘knothole’ tickets and couldn’t believe the number of orange uniforms on the Texas side and the few Blue uniforms on the Rice side. I even felt sorry for Rice.
I’m not sure how all the other former students at Aggieland feel but, other than playing in a bowl game, I don’t give a damn if The Fightin’ Texas Aggies never play those arrogant teasippers again. Besides, it’s much more fun to go to ‘Death Valley’ in Baton Rouge ever other year than it is to make that pilgrimage to Austin just to watch that side show on sixth street. Gig ’em Ags!

Its funny to hear Dodds say “none of the albums want to play the Aggies”. I live in Austin and have yet to hear ANYONE say the rivalry should go away.

Its sad to say this but its to the Aggies advantage not to play t.u. Recruits are the grease of a football machine and the Aggies are very well lubricated. Playing t.u. would only give the longhorns national exposure and a showdown might hurt our recruiting. Texas A&M is getting great national exposure from the teams in the SEC. We don’t need t.u. on our schedule.

The Aggies control t.u. by not playing them. The longhorns won the last battle but the Aggies won the war. The winners get to write history…..sorry longhorns.

Curious responses. The answer is and always will be…follow the money. The aggies took the money from the big (little) 12 to stay. Then left anyway. As one poster pointed out, it doesn’t make monetary sense for Texas to play A&M monetarily. It does make sense for A&M to play Texas.

Shame on all of you pinning the blame on Texas for maximizing their dollar by getting more interesting opponents…just like A&M did by joining the SEC.

It’s all about the $$$. Anyone with any intelligence knows this.

Finally an intelligent response to this thread!

Both sides made their decisions based on their own potential financial outcome. UT had over 300 million reasons to agree to put their logo on ESPN’s Longhorn Network. A&M got increased revenue sharing in the larger pool the SEC provides.
Same goal. Different means.

The Aggies needed the SEC’s help to increase revenue for a program that was struggling financially. (Similar to welfare.) The Longhorns made money the way most successful sports enterprises in America do it… they essentially sold their naming rights.
Same goal. Different means.

Raised in Texas, now in Florida – where the legislature requires Florida to play Florida State. A great tradition. FSU is ACC UF is SEC.
I have always loved to watch the TAMU v UT game at Thanksgiving. It was a tradition. Any game that was played since 1915 is a tradition that should not be thrown away by either school. Bring it back for everyone’s pleasure. I miss it. My grandfather is rolling over in his grave over this.

Betsy, I hate to rain on your parade but there are tons of Ole Army Ags, Baylor Bears, Rice Owls, etc who used to watch tu go through their SWC schedule like a dose of salts through a lumberjack during the DKR regimes. Like I said, it was because of unlimited, no holds barred, recruiting and a bunch of lawyers (ex-students) with deep pockets. Now, I ain’t crying in my beer but, like the old sayin’ goes, ‘sometimes them paybacks can be pure hell when them chickens find their way home to roost’. The 2014 season is still getting started but it looks like tu has some catching up to do because Baylor and OU can already smell blood in the air. I’m sorry, Ms. Betsy, but I had much rather dine on shrimp gumbo in “Red Stick” with a bunch of cajuns than eat “tofu” on Sixth Street with a bunch of wannabe politicians.
BTW – don’t feel bad because we’re just trading that ‘1915 tradition’ in on a brand new model. Besides, we’re getting a much bigger playhouse than tu and traditions are something A & M will always have an abundance of. I’m probably in about the same age bracket as your grandfather and I’ll betcha he’s looking at this change as a long overdue upgrade. DKR and Senor DeLoose Dodds are the ones you should feel sorry for. Beat The Hell Outta tu!!

I think a strong case was made for A&M being the scared one. The SEC picks which teams play in their bowl games, the Big XII places them in bowls according to the rankings. Seems to me the SEC didn’t even want to take advantage of Texas A&M “being head and shoulders above Texas” to place them in a bowl and prove it.

I love how all the Aggies on here are saying how they are over playing against Texas. Last I checked, their entire fight song is still dedicated to us, as well as most of their traditions. While there does appear to be sour grapes from the AD of the Texas side, there is something to be said about planning football games in advance. Look at how we are having to schedule Michigan in 2024 and 2025. You can’t just cancel a series in conference, and then expect it to immediately appear as a non-conference game. I am pretty sure that the rivalry will return, and A&M probably has more desire than Texas does. After all, when the record stands at 76-37-5, you really didn’t have much success in said rivalry.