COLLEGE STATION — Could a Texas vs. Texas A&M football game be getting even closer to really happening?
Nothing stronger than that, but maybe. And that’s a good thing.
New Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward told me this week that he and Texas athletic director Mike Perrin have “had conversations” about scheduling a football game in the near future between the two rivals.
“We’ve had conversations, and I’m sure we’ll continue to have them,” said Woodward, an LSU graduate who appreciates a good rivalry, “but I have nothing new to announce.”
Has anything been set or close to being set?
It hasn’t, Woodward said. It’s got to be the right choice for both schools.
“Scott and I have talked about it, and those have been good conversations,” Perrin said. “We will continue to discuss it, but nothing has been scheduled at this point.”
Perrin, who attended Aggie games with his father and later played for the Longhorns against A&M, said, “I’ve lived the rivalry. It’s a special game. I’ve talked to lettermen, coaches, fans, donors, people in athletics, and there are mixed feeling on whether or not we should play again. In my opinion, I think we will probably play again some day, but I don’t know when.”
According to the schools’ websites, the earliest a game could be arranged would be 2018. Both Texas and Texas A&M have openings that season. The Aggies also have slots available in 2019 and 2021, while the Longhorns need to find non-conference opponents in 2018 and between 2020 and 2024.
Asked if both schools are on board with attempting to schedule a game, Woodward said, “Yeah, probably so. I don’t want to speak for anyone but myself, but it has to be a process that’s well thought out and works for both institutions.”
It’s unlikely the two would want to schedule a game at the end of the regular season, even though several other SEC teams do so. Florida plays Florida State, Georgia meets Georgia Tech and South Carolina squares off every year against Clemson, so there is precedent.
However, as we approach Year 3 in this College Football Playoff era, it’s doubtful either school would want to risk any possibility at making the Final Four by scheduling a tough opponent that late in the season.
The two haven’t played since Nov. 24 in 2011, when Texas won 27–25 on Justin Tucker’s field goal as time expired.
The perfect time would be the opener every Labor Day weekend.
So how soon?
“Who knows? I’m not going to guess,” Woodward said. “If I gave you my best guess, it’d probably be wrong.”
But perhaps as soon as 2018?
“You never know,” he said. “I never say never, but I’m not going to speculate on when it could and could not happen. But there are discussions.”