Goodbye to Texas University
So long to the Orange and the White
Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies
(As They Head for the SEC in the Dead of the Night)?
OK, that last line isn’t a perfect fit. And I confess it was with a sense of sarcasm that, as Texas students, we used to sing the Texas A&M fight song. Usually it was delivered in a mocking tone after a Longhorns victory.
Which side of the Aggies-Longhorns battle you support makes no difference to me. Hasn’t for years. Besides, “The Aggie War Hymn” is a heck of a lot more fun to sing than “Texas Fight.”
The only thing that should matter to die-hard supporters of either institution is that the friendly battle continues for another 100 years.
The notion that the traditional hostilities could be suspended in this TV money free-for-all seems . . . well, I wouldn’t call it unconscionable. But beyond the fact that it remains unlikely (I think), it’s also quite unnecessary.
As story lines have changed practically by the hour in the last few days, the most surprising of all to me was the news that Texas A&M might bolt from the “Big 12 Six” if you will and go to the Southeastern Conference rather than the Pac-10.
The fact that I don’t think it’s going to happen does not mean that it won’t. The stunning developments of the last few days have taught me that much.
But why would A&M follow the advice of former coach Gene Stallings to escape Texas’ shadow after all these years?
Now the Big 12 is dying unless it can be revived at the last minute by state legislators this week. The House Committee on Higher Education has set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Wednesday, the day after it has been reported that some institutions may join Colorado’s defection to the Pac-10.
If the legislature can’t stop this speeding train — and that seems unlikely — then it’s up to Texas A&M whether or not to continue its longstanding rivalry or put it to rest.
Let’s hope to avoid the latter.
“Goodbye to Louisiana State University” does not easily roll off the tongue.
Now the fact that the SEC has not yet extended an invitation to Texas A&M seems to be a considerable stumbling block. The SEC, like the Big Ten and everyone else, would love to have the dear old Texas Longhorns.
But Texas isn’t heading east.
At the heart of this entire chain of events is something that goes beyond athletic pride or TV dollars. It’s Texas’ desire — specifically, UT president Bill Powers’ dream — of joining his Cal-Berkeley alma mater and Stanford at the very top of Pac-10 academic institutions of learning.
Officials involved in Big 12-related talks this week point to Powers, a ’67 Cal grad — not UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds and certainly not Mack Brown — as the driving force behind this entire shakeup.
If you think it’s about Dodds and his push to increase UT’s athletic revenues (already No. 1 in the nation), that would be easier accomplished by staying in the Big 12 and developing the school’s own network. As for Brown, what’s in it for him? He already has to beat Oklahoma to win his half of the Big 12, a considerable chore that would remain in place in the new conference.
Now that’s to be possibly followed by a victory over USC instead of Nebraska or Missouri . . . what coach votes for that?
Don’t shake your head at Dodds or certainly not at Brown. This thing goes higher up.
I just hope that when the dust settles, “The Aggie War Hymn” doesn’t need to be rewritten. It’s one thing to embrace inevitable change. It’s another to tell the ghost of Pinky Wilson we don’t need to sing or sway to his tune anymore.