Longhorns vs. Aggies

More than a rivalry: Longhorns vs. Aggies defines Texas

More than a rivalry: Longhorns vs. Aggies defines Texas

Austin Photo: News_kevin_horns aggies 1963_Nov 2011
Texas celebrates a National Championship in 1963 after defeating the Aggies on this last second play. Courtesy of Texas Exes
Austin Photo: News_kevin_bevo 1916_Nov 2011
Bevo in 1916. UT students creatively turned 13-0 into BEVO, thus naming the mascot forever. Courtesy of Texas Exes
Austin Photo: News_kevin_bonfire 1997_Nov 2011
Bonfire, 1997, on the A&M campus
Austin Photo: News_kevin_texas vs a&m 1919_Nov 2011
Texas vs. Texas A&M, 1919 Courtesy of Cushing Archives, Texas A&M
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_UT vs A&M_football_Nov 2011_logos
Austin Photo: News_kevin_horns aggies 1963_Nov 2011
Austin Photo: News_kevin_bevo 1916_Nov 2011
Austin Photo: News_kevin_bonfire 1997_Nov 2011
Austin Photo: News_kevin_texas vs a&m 1919_Nov 2011
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_UT vs A&M_football_Nov 2011_logos

As rivalries go, it’s not a particularly close one: Texas beats Texas A&M twice for every Aggie win—the all-time record is Texas 75 wins–Texas A&M 37 wins, five ties.

As rivalries go, it’s not the longest at 118 games—Minnesota-Wisconsin and Missouri-Kansas have played more often.

But Longhorns vs. Aggies isn’t about being the longest or most even, it’s not even about being a cross-state rivalry.

 We at Texas don’t hate the Aggies, at least not anymore. We reserve our most venomous hatred for ou (small letters intended). 

No, Longhorns vs. Aggies is about family pride. It’s about farmers vs. city slickers, burnt orange vs. maroon. It’s the Corps vs. the Spurs and Cowboys, horses vs. oil wells. It’s about how we identify ourselves not just in college, but in life.

In 1893 The University of Texas began playing football. In 1894 they began playing Texas A&M.

This rivalry passes down from generation to generation: from mothers and fathers to sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters.

Whether you attended one of these great schools or not, if you live in the state of Texas long enough, you identify with one or the other and you choose to wear burnt orange or maroon, not both.

Texas has BEVO because of Texas A&M. In 1916 the Aggies branded the Texas Longhorn mascot (his name was Bo) with the score of their 1915 victory, 13-0. Texas students creatively changed the brand to BEVO. (Some argue that’s not the true source of the name BEVO. Who cares, it’s a great story.)

Texas A&M has a War Hymn because of Texas:

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“Good bye to texas university
So long to the orange and the white
Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies
They are the boys who show the real old fight
'the eyes of Texas are upon you'
That is the song they sing so well—Sounds Like Hell
So good-bye to texas university
We're gonna beat you all to Chigaroogarem, Chigaroogarem
Rough, Tough, Real stuff, Texas A&M
Saw varsity's horns off
Saw varsity's horns off
Saw varsity's horns off
Short! A!"

Much has been written over the last several months about how this will be the last game in the rivalry, about how they won’t play each other again, about how this is the end. Bullshit. I went to Texas—I don’t care if we play them or not, this rivalry will burn in me as long as I breathe.

 As rivalries go, Texas vs. Texas A&M will never die. It will simply cease being settled on the gridiron annually on Thanksgiving Day. 

Note that I didn’t say I hate them. We at Texas don’t hate the Aggies, at least not anymore. We reserve our most venomous hatred for ou (small letters intended).

There was a time when Texas A&M was a hated rival. Probably around the time the Aggies decided to write an entire verse of the “War Hymn” about beating “TU” and Texas wrote “goodbye to A&M” in the “Texas Fight” song, and decided to light the entire Texas Tower orange when we beat them (as opposed to just the top of the tower for any other regular season game).

Today, we Longhorns think of the Aggies more as a cousin we just can’t get along with. We love them—they are family after all—and we tolerate them, and sometimes we kick the tar out of them because well, they deserve it; and every once in awhile they get the best of us.

But don’t misunderstand—we are family. When bad things happen, like when the Bonfire fell and killed a dozen Aggies, we Longhorns and Aggies come together. We hug each other, we pray together, we care for each other. That’s what families do.

This year will be no different. Texas vs. Texas A&M is why the phrase “you can throw out the record books” came to be. This is a game of emotion. Unfortunately for Longhorn fans, when deep emotion is involved the Aggies have us outmatched. For some reason, they care more… and on Thanksgiving Day 2011, they care a lot.

The Aggies are out to prove they can play in the “best conference in the land” (the SEC), and the Aggies have a chip on their shoulder. Well, actually, more like 117 years of chips. The Ags always feel just a little out-classed. The Texas “tea-sips,” as they call Horns fans, are just too high-falutin’ for these east Texas farm folk and they enjoy making fools of high-falutin’ folks.

As rivalries go, Texas vs. Texas A&M will never die. It will simply cease being settled on the gridiron annually on Thanksgiving Day.

The fire that fuels this rivalry is made up of far more than football games. We may all be Texans first, but we are Longhorns and Aggies a very close second and nothing will cool that fire.