$#@! you, aggy.
I'm ditching the DOOMed MFers moniker today. This isn't a gameday I regard with even the slightest sense of levity; not after all the duplicitous bull$#@! we've put up from this Agricultural and Mechanical school that prides itself on honor, tradition, and loyalty.
No, this is the match-up we've all been waiting for since last spring, and even though it won't be the last match-up ever, this is the one that counts: final scoreboard on those redneck, inbred, ignorant $#@!s. I think the teams match-up really well, even though the game may be low on points. Our defense is really hitting their stride and playing in the scheme now and they'll knock the $#@! out of Swopes and behead Tannehill.
I hope the aggy loss hurts so bad, John Lopez and Akita70 decide to...
Game time: 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN
Gameday Weather: 63℉ and clear.
Line: -7.5 (farmer $#@!ets)
Statesman Gameweek Articles:• ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING: This series began when Grover Cleveland was president, back in 1894, with a 38-0 Texas shutout to open the season. Tonight will be the 118th game. Texas leads 75-37-5, including a 24-22-1 record in games played at College Station. But this series has been pretty even in recent decades; since 1975, Texas A&M leads 19-17. The Aggies have won three of the past five, including last year's 24-17 victory in Austin.
• THREE STORY LINES TO FOLLOW: (1) Will Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M's 1,000-yard rusher, play with the stress fracture in his shoulder - and if he does, how effective will he be? (2) The formula for beating A&M is to challenge the Aggies' pass defense, but the Longhorns have struggled in that department. (3) As if there weren't more tangible things on the line, such as late-season momentum and bowl positioning, this game will be extra intense with all the emotions, history and drama that come with an ending to a historic rivalry.
• REUNION: One of the best things about this series for players has been the renewing of friendships from high school for both sides. Tonight is no different. On both teams' two-deep alone, you've got Texas WR Miles Onyegbule and A&M LT Luke Joeckel (Arlington), Texas P/K Justin Tucker and A&M WR Ryan Swope (Westlake), Texas LG Luke Poehlmann and A&M FB Kyle Managan (Brenham), Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat and A&M DE Ben Bass (Plano West), Texas FB Cody Johnson and A&M DT Eddie Brown Jr. (Waller), and Texas WR Marquise Goodwin and A&M LB Damontre Moore (Rowlett).
• AGGIES, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LONGHORNS: Coming off a 5-7 season, the offense and defense have both been revamped, with mixed success. Texas began the season with four quarterbacks but is now down to two. Signs point to Case McCoy, who nearly rallied the Longhorns past Kansas State, starting tonight over David Ash, who has started the past five games. Tailbacks Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron aren't at full strength. And the defense, led by Jeffcoat, Alex Okafor, a solid linebacking corps and a feisty secondary, has been playing very well.
• LONGHORNS, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE AGGIES: The season began with high hopes, including a top-10 ranking and two running backs who were legitimate 1,000-yard rushers. But the Aggies didn't become bowl-eligible until last week. They have blown second-half leads in four of their five losses. The pass defense is rated 118th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Star receiver Jeff Fuller is having a down year, but Swope has made a big impact in his place. A&M hasn't missed much of a beat on offense even with the loss of Christine Michael, but the defense has dropped off from 2010
THE PAST FIVE
• Texas A&M has won three of the most recent five games, though Texas has a commanding 75-37-5 record in the series:
Year | Result | Note
2010 | A&M, 24-17 | UT burned by Cyrus Gray's 223 yards, 2 TDs
2009 | Texas, 49-39 | Colt McCoy's 4 TDs pushed Horns to the win
2008 | Texas, 49-9 | Horns' defense (6 sacks) dominated Aggies
2007 | A&M, 38-30 | Stephen McGee: 362 passing yards, 3 TDs
2006 | A&M, 12-7 | Aggies' first win in Austin since 1994
UT-A&M not first historic series to end, just the latest
Texas vs. Texas A&M: Three Aggies the Horns will be watchingCOLLEGE STATION — Sometime near midnight tonight at Kyle Field, the final strains of "The Aggie War Hymn" and "Texas Fight" will be played by the Texas A&M and University of Texas bands. It might be the last time for a long while that verses in either song - which were intended to put down the other school - will represent their true intentions.
How well will "saw Varsity's horns off," a reference to Texas' pre-Longhorns nickname from a century ago, play in the Southeastern Conference when Texas A&M officially changes leagues next summer?
Will Texas fans continue to sing "and it's goodbye to A&M," knowing that the Longhorns will no longer be playing the Aggies?
Sure, there will be final basketball and baseball games, tennis matches, golf tournaments and swimming and track meets for the two schools to go head-to-head, until their divorce papers are signed July 1, 2012, the first day A&M is a member of the SEC.
But it's about football. And tonight at Kyle Field, the third-oldest rivalry in college football comes to an end with its 118th game.
It will die because of the past two summers of seismic conference shake-ups. The Missouri-Kansas rivalry, which has its roots in the Civil War and is two games older than the Longhorns vs. Aggies, also is on life support.
There are no current plans - thanks to a decision by UT administrators - for the schools to play again in football, save for a chance meeting in a future Big 12 vs. SEC bowl game. Texas A&M's chancellor and president have both said they'd like to see the series continue. But A&M coach Mike Sherman, who has to prepare for a much tougher SEC schedule, sees what he calls logistical problems in keeping the Longhorns on the slate.
Even UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds sees the rivalry continuing.
Some day. Just not anytime soon.
"There will come a time when they will meet," Dodds said of the two schools.
The series started in 1894 and has been played continuously since 1915. It stopped from 1911 to 1914 because the Longhorns objected to Aggies coach Charley Moran and his questionable recruiting of academically ineligible players. Moran was fired, and in 1915 the series resumed. Moran wrote a letter to each A&M player, saying, "Beat those people from Austin, if you still love me and think anything of me."
Conference realignment already has killed Oklahoma-Nebraska, which was played 86 times between 1912 and 2010. There is a chance the two schools will renew the series, which once was so precious to their fan bases. But it won't be for at least another decade.
OU athletic department spokesman Kenneth Mossman said this week that the Sooners have booked "marquee" nonconference opponents through 2020.
Also dead is Nebraska-Kansas. The obituary about that rivalry was written last year. Although it wasn't a sexy national matchup, at 117 games long, it had been played more than any other contest except Minnesota and Wisconsin (121) and Kansas-Missouri. It ended a year ago when the Cornhuskers left for the Big Ten.
But none of those series spells out state pride like Texas-Texas A&M, which, as of tonight, will have been played 64 times on Thanksgiving. The Aggies, as the home team, are expected to host at least 100 of the finest high school football prospects in the state.
"The game is very important for both groups to win," said Texas coach Mack Brown, who has been a part of the series since 1998. "The thing I told our players is you'll be part of history because this may be the last one that's played, so you can tell your kids and your grandkids, and you want to make it a good one."
There was speculation that the Texas Legislature would step in and force the two schools to make up and play each other. But A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne told the American-Statesman that his school has no desire to lobby politicians.
"There are more important things for our elected officials to do," he said.
Byrne said he has emailed Dodds to inquire about continuing the series. Dodds told him the Longhorns had a full nonconference schedule through 2018. Dodds has indicated Texas wants to continue playing at home annually on Thanksgiving. The opponent still is to be determined.
Byrne said he's unsure whether the Aggies will play a team on Thanksgiving, although he's keeping next year's holiday free for the Longhorns if they change their minds. He said it would be up to the networks that partner with the SEC to decide whether the Aggies would play on Thursday, Friday or Saturday of Thanksgiving week.
A&M still doesn't know its schedule for next season, although SEC athletic directors met to talk about it last week. The SEC, which will expand to 14 teams with the addition of Missouri and the Aggies, probably will have its teams play eight league games, leaving four slots for nonconference contests.
The SEC is unique in that it has a handful of schools playing games in late November against in-state rivals that aren't in the conference.
Florida and Florida State have ended the season by playing each other since 1980.
South Carolina and Clemson still carry on their "Palmetto Bowl" at the end of November. Tensions were so high in the series in 2004 that a bench-clearing brawl broke out between the teams. Helmets were swinging for more than a minute. Each team forfeited a bowl spot as punishment for the poor sportsmanship.
Georgia and Georgia Tech also end their seasons in late November against each other in a rivalry dubbed "Clean, Old Fashioned Hate." Like the Longhorns and the Aggies, the two schools have tailored their fight songs to put down the other.
There doesn't seem to be any push for the Longhorns and Aggies to continue.
And those involved aren't thrilled about the finality of something so precious.
"I hate to see the end of anything that has such rich history and tradition," Sherman said. "I wasn't here when the (Southwest Conference) was disbanded, but that was a lot of gnashing of teeth and giving up on something that had so much history and tradition … and this is somewhat similar to that.
"We're not playing it in the future, as it looks right now, but it'll be a game you think about and a game you miss. Without even knowing what our schedule is next year, it's hard to fathom where it would fit in at this point. It's a very special game. … It's hard to walk away from that."
Texas vs. Texas A&M: Five questions facing the LonghornsBACKUP RUNNING BACKS
Cyrus Gray's shoulder injury has opened the door for sophomore Ben Malena and freshman Will Randolph. Malena (eight carries for 32 yards against Kansas) is small but thick, at 5-8, 195. Randolph, who had 10 carries for 39 yards, is about the same, at 5-9, 188. If Gray doesn't play, A&M's rushing attack will take a huge hit. Neither Malena nor Randolph give the Aggies the same threat as Gray or Christine Michael.
RYAN SWOPE, WR
With Gray's injury, A&M will rely more on its passing game, though up to now, the Aggies have been balanced (448 passes, 447 rushes). That number should be skewed toward the pass tonight. Swope is the definition of a playmaker: fourth in the Big 12 in receiving yards (1,069), fourth in catches (78), and second in touchdowns (11).
SEAN PORTER, OLB
The Aggies have struggled against the pass, but are very good against the run, which should make for a fun matchup with Texas. Porter has 67 tackles — including 13.5 for loss — and 8.5 sacks, so Texas will have to be aware of him every time its quarterback drops back.
1. HOW WILL THE LONGHORNS USE THEIR QUARTERBACKS?
Will Case McCoy get his first start since the Oklahoma game? Will David Ash continue to start despite struggling during his past five games as the starter? Will they alternate? A lot of questions, and so far this season, no real answers. And time is running out.
2. WILL BROWN, BERGERON BE EFFECTIVE AGAIN?
Texas freshman running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron have been ailing lately - Brown with a turf toe, Bergeron with a tender hamstring. That, coupled with Fozzy Whittaker's season-ending knee injury at Missouri, has totally disrupted Texas' offensive mojo. Both backs were at less than 100 percent efficiency last week.
3. WILL MARQUISE GOODWIN HAUNT THE AGGIES AGAIN?
Texas' junior receiver has scored a touchdown in each of his first two games against A&M. As a freshman in 2009, he returned a late kickoff 95 yards for the clinching score. Last season, he hauled in a 31-yard toss from Garrett Gilbert for the first touchdown in what would become a 24-17 Aggies victory.
4. CAN UT FORCE A&M TO BE ONE-DIMENSIONAL?
With Christine Michael definitely out and Cyrus Gray questionable, A&M's running game is in a precarious position. The Aggies, however, have a formidable passing attack, with Ryan Tannehill throwing to a crew that includes Ryan Swope, Jeff Fuller and Uzoma Nwachukwu, who have combined for 177 catches.
5. WILL TEXAS MANAGE 182 PASSING YARDS?
Against a Texas A&M secondary that's allowing a Big 12-worst 292.3 passing yards per game, throwing for 182 doesn't seem unreasonable. But this is Texas, remember? The Longhorns average only 181.6 passing yards, third-lowest in the league, and have only 10 touchdown passes, the fewest in the Big 12. Nothing's a given with this offense right now.