The two teams don’t play anymore, but we know Longhorns and Aggies care about the success or failures of each other. Just because there was a nasty divorce doesn’t mean sides no longer keep up.
As the season approaches next week, we must ask, which team is in position to win more games? Ruling here is a mid-level bowl berth probably should be the goal for each team.
Let’s look at Texas’ schedule. The non-conference slate includes No. 7 UCLA at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Longhorns entertain North Texas, a bowl team in 2013, and Brigham Young, which embarrassed UT a year ago, in Austin.
The Big 12 schedule features marquee contests against fourth-ranked Oklahoma (in Dallas) and No. 10 Baylor (in Austin). Texas Tech, No. 20 Kansas State and Oklahoma State are on the road. Those are always difficult, noisy places for a road team to perform well.
Texas A&M’s non-conference schedule is about as weak as one can play, with games against Lamar, a fledgling FCS school, Rice, SMU and Louisiana-Monroe. Those should be four easy victories. But that’s where the easy stops, with SEC games against six ranked teams.
The Aggies open the season on the road against No. 9 South Carolina, which has won 19 straight home games. A&M also has contests on the road against No. 2 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn. The home schedule includes matchups against No. 13 LSU, No. 18 Mississippi and No. 24 Missouri. Even with the dynamic Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans, the Aggies lost to LSU and Mizzou and had to rally against the Rebels.
Kirk Bohls thinks Texas will go 7-5. So does Cedric Golden.
How the Longhorns and Aggies have fared over the past five years:
2013: Texas went 8-5, and 7-2 in the Big 12. Texas A&M was 9-4, 4-4 in the SEC. The Longhorns started the Big 12 race with a 6-0 mark, in Mack Brown’s final season. The Aggies, powered by three NFL first-rounders in Johnny Manziel, Mike Evans and Luke Joeckel, beat Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl; Texas fell to Oregon in the Alamo.
2012: Texas went 9-4, A&M was 11-2. The Longhorns, who started the year ranked No. 15 and ended it No. 19, went 3-3 vs. ranked teams. They beat Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. A&M, in what was Manziel’s Heisman year, beat Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. The Aggies weren’t ranked to start the season, but finished at No. 5, the big win over Alabama coming along the way.
2011: Texas was 8-5, 4-5. A&M, in its final Big 12 season, was 7-6, 4-5. Both teams won their bowl games — Texas in the Holiday, A&M in the Meineke Car Care.
2010: This was Texas’ hit-rock-bottom season. The Longhorns, one season removed from playing for the national championship, were 5-7 overall, 2-6 in the Big 12. They began the season ranked No. 5, but finished out of the rankings and without a bowl invitation. It was Brown’s only losing season in Austin. A&M, meanwhile, went 9-4 and 6-2 in the Big 12, which placed it into a three-way tie in the South Division. The Aggies lost the Cotton Bowl, and ended the season ranked No. 19.
2009: This was Texas’ what-if season. The Longhorns made it to the BCS national championship game, but lost to Alabama. Colt McCoy was lost on the fifth play of the game. Still, the Longhorns went 13-1, swept through the Big 12, and ended the season where they began, at No. 2. A&M went 6-7 and 3-5, and lost in the Independence Bowl, the Aggies’ first bowl game since 2007.
So, overall, over the past five years Texas is 43-22, Texas A&M is 41-23.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.