I was reading another blog about rivalries and asked myself a question that I have asked a thousand times before..... Who is Tech's biggest rival? I think you could ask a dozen Tech fans and end up with four or five different answers. I am sure you would hear the usual list of suspects Texas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas A&M. On top of that, I bet you could ask a cross section of fans from the other Big 12 schools and very few would mention Tech as their team's biggest rival. I think not having a team to call your biggest rival is detriment to the program and fans. Every Red Sox needs a Yankee. Every Rocky needs a Drago. A true rivalry is part of what makes sports great. By winning that one game a miserable season is suddenly more palatable. A championship is sweeter when you can dangle it over a rivals head. Each one pushes the other to be better. The list goes on and on.
I think Tech needs a rival. I would love for Red Raiders to be able to point to one team above all others with an equal mix of disdain and respect and have them point back at us with the same sentiment. But a rivalry isn't magically built in a year or two. It is built over seasons of fighting for championships, ruining the other's title chances, last second wins and near misses. I thought we were building a good rivalry with A&M before they rightfully bolted to the SEC. While A&M fans would never validate Tech fans by admitting we were their #1 rival, we had been getting under their skin for years. I think it started with the Zach Thomas interception game. Then by the mid to late 2000s, we were both in similar positions within the Big 12, which was right behind Texas and Oklahoma. I understand A&M being more enamored with being Texas' biggest rival, but Texas had long since passed A&M and had Oklahoma to contend with for Big 12 South titles every year. Now that we don't play the Aggies every year, the hatred has subsided substantially but if we schedule an annual game with them it wouldn't take long to pick right back up where we left off. I also think an annual game would be a great way to get started on the road to a true rivalry. I see the game as a win-win for both programs for several reasons.
#1) An annual state rivalry game within Texas no longer exists. When A&M left for the SEC, the state's two biggest in-state rivalry games left town, Texas vs. A&M and Tech vs. A&M. In most states a rivalry or even two takes place every year (or just about every year)....Florida vs. Florida State, Auburn vs. Alabama, Cal vs. Stanford, Arizona vs. Arizona State, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Oregon vs. Oregon St, etc.....How can one of the largest states not have a huge rivalry game between in-state schools on a regular basis? That alone would draw some attention to the game.
#2) Texas would be jealous for one week out of the season when they weren't the biggest show in the state. Red Raiders and Aggies can only agree on one thing......If the Longhorns aren't happy about something, it must be a good thing. To really piss them off, why don't we see if we could get it televised on LHN. Kidding of course, no one watches that channel. There has been talk of Texas and A&M renewing their series, but it seems to be dying down at this point. The opportunity of beating Texas to the punch would be great for Tech if A&M would agree to the game.
#3) The game fits the bill as a quality non-conference opponent for both teams. Any Power 5 conference teams playing one another in non-conference is a quality opponent. Lots of talk these days about teams scheduling at least one quality opponent in their non-conference. Why not make it a rivalry game to kick off every season? Or better yet schedule it for Thanksgiving Day or weekend. Make a tradition out of it.
#4) This game would potentially bring some national attention to both schools by getting a prime time slot on ESPN or another major network every year if the game got up and running properly.
I understand that from a recruiting perspective this game is not something that the Aggies have any interest in playing. They have a lot of recruiting momentum with their move to the SEC and may feel a loss would kill that momentum. For the Red Raiders, they would be the underdog in this matchup for the foreseeable future based on what both teams are fielding these days. Repeated losses to the Aggies are not appealing to most Red Raiders I know. Over time though this could build into something pretty special and reasons/excuses would be overshadowed by the want to beat the brakes off of the other team. Who's with me?