Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.
The long standing football rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M has had all the drama throughout the years of a Mario Puzo novel, and it appeared that Texas fired off a final shot worthy of Michael Corleone in a stunning 25-25 victory over the Aggies at Kyle Field, as Justin Tucker kicked a forty-yard field goal and crushed the Aggies on their way out the door to the SEC.
However, the Football Gods appear to be shifting the pigskin pawns in favor of some divine intervention. How does Texas vs. Texas A&M at the Cotton Bowl in January sound to you? Yeah, we love it too.
That's right. The Longhorns and Aggies are on a collision course to play in the Cotton Bowl. Oddly enough, both teams currently stand with identical records (8-2 overall and 5-2 in their respective conferences) heading into Thanksgiving weekend, what was once their traditional day of reckoning. We would have been amped up for a Thanksgiving showdown any other year before this. The only way to up the stakes would be for these two teams to battle it out for Lone Star State bragging rights in a bowl game, and there is more than a fair chance it could happen on January 4th.
The story lines surrounding such a hypothetical game alone should have every writer in Texas salivating.
A rematch would offer Texas A&M, who has shocked everybody by doing more than holding their own in the SEC, a chance at redemption for the heartbreaking loss last season, as well as further their case that leaving the Big 12 was the right to do.
Texas A&M has fallen in love with Johnny Manziel, their first true Heisman candidate since Leeland McElroy in 1995, and the Longhorns would love to get their chance to take a shot at Johhny Football. We can only assume the true freshman would do anything to saw the Horns off in Dallas as well.
The old guard would face the new guard, as Mack Brown could continue to silence his critics by beating rising star Kevin Sumlin. Sumlin was underrated as the head coach at Houston before this year, but he is officially on the radar after the Aggies beat then No. 1 Alabama at home.
And let's not forget the saga of David Ash, who would be singing his own redemption song if he could lead the Longhorns to a big win over the Aggies. Ash had to sit on the sidelines as Case McCoy led Texas down the field in what most believed was the final game of the rivalry for some time. As humble as Ash is, the notion of playing second fiddle while McCoy was lead chair can't completely sit well with him.
At the moment, Texas A&M is ranked 8th in the BCS rankings and Texas is 15th, which seems like a significant amount of separation. However, to clear up any misconception, bowl game officials don't choose teams for their games based on overall record or ranking. For example, the Cotton Bowl currently pits the #2 team in the Big 12 versus the #3 or #4 team from SEC. That means they get the second pick of the Big 12 teams left that are bowl eligible and the third or fourth remaining of the SEC. If we assume the standings stay as they are, this is how the scenario would play out. Kansas State would play in the BCS Championship, so the Fiesta Bowl would choose the next best Big 12 team, that being Oklahoma as the "Big 12 Champ" in place of the Wildcats, and likely LSU with a BCS at-large bid. We'll assume Alabama goes to the Sugar Bowl. They pretty much have a time share there as it is. That would leave the Cotton Bowl with Texas in the Big 12 and either Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M in the SEC. With all due respect to the Bulldogs and Gators, the Cotton Bowl's main goal is to sell tickets and put the sexiest match-up on the field. There isn't a hotter hypothetical game to be played in Dallas than Texas vs. Texas A&M and that's exactly what we would get.
So, as you feast on your Thanksgiving spread this year and grumble that the purple of TCU just doesn't quite stand up against the maroon and white of A&M like last year when put up against Texas, take heart that a new year might bring us some old blood and a renewed rivalry that could be better than ever. If you don't mind, I have some Football Gods to pray to.