118 years and finished
New A&M coach: Kevin Sumlin says Texas A&M & Texas game may never return
All those who assume that Texas A&M and the University of Texas will resume the best rivalry in college football after a few year cooling-off period could be in for a huge surprise.
Kevin Sumlin — Texas A&M's new coach — is not sure it will ever return.
"I grew up watching, on the same day, Michigan and Ohio State and Nebraska-Oklahoma," Sumlin said while in Houston for the Bear Bryant Awards, benefitting the American Heart Association. "Now there's no Nebraska-Oklahoma and nobody even talks about it anymore.
"It's almost been forgotten."
Sumlin could see the same thing happening to Texas-Texas A&M, as crazy as it might sound to anyone whose family has grown up around the game, generation after generation. The former University of Houston coach knows the game is "good for the state of Texas."
"It's good for the people of Texas. It's good for the state of Texas," Sumlin said of A&M-UT. "You'd hope that everybody would want it to continue."
It sounds like Sumlin — like his athletic director Bill Byrne — would love for the 118-year-old rivalry to continue. But he knows wishes don't always come true.
"It's not up to me," Sumlin said. "It's good for the people of Texas. It's good for the state of Texas.
"You'd hope that everybody would want it to continue. But I don't have anything to do with that. I have my hands full with a full SEC schedule."
Byrne always expected Texas-Texas A&M to continue after the Aggies fled the Big 12 and the Longhorn Network for the SEC. But Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds informed Byrne that Texas simply doesn't have "room" on its non-conference schedule for A&M until at least 2018.
Sumlin wonders if everyone should be so sure that room will ever open up. After all, when Nebraska bolted the Big 12 for the Big Ten, Nebraska-Oklahoma — a rivalry that dates back to 1912 and included several historic Top 10 games — effectively died. A few years later, there is still no talk of reviving it. In some ways, it's almost already fading from memory.
Why will Texas-Texas A&M be any different?
After his interview session is over, Sumlin turns back to make one more point on this.
"I never thought I'd see the day where there's no Nebraska-Oklahoma (game)," he said.
Sumlin shook his head once more and walked out. These days in college football, it's insane to assume anything.