Viewpoint: End of UT-A&M game ruins spirit of rivalry

By Krista Pirtle
Sports writer

Money and ego are beginning to erode the competitive nature that fuels what most Americans sit down to watch on Saturdays: college football.

I have no vested interest in Aggie athletics. Still, as they walk away from the third-longest rivalry in the nation, I see fault in the system.

We all witnessed the nationwide game of musical chairs between universities and conferences as schools sought higher levels of revenue and competition.

The Aggies, tired of being the little brother to Texas, found a new home in the SEC. As they move east, other schools are looking to find the conference that offers the most benefits financially.

This means that geography is no longer a factor.

Texas A&M, located a short drive from Waco and Austin, leaves behind two great rivalries in Texas against Baylor and Texas.

Rumor has it that A&M wants to continue playing Texas, but the Longhorns refused. Funny. Wasn’t it the Longhorn Network that started this mess in the first place?

Just what’s so great about the Texas-Texas A&M matchup?

Well, you have two teams stocked with homegrown kids playing against their high school teammates. The schools are only two hours apart. Texas and Texas A&M are united in their hatred for one another. Bevo was even named from the 13-0 score the rival Aggies branded on the cow in 1916.

Both fight songs bid goodbye to one another. Then there’s the infamous bonfire and the hex rally.

Need I go on?

Right now, Texas A&M and Texas in the stage of pointing fingers and giving the cold shoulder a la the third grade. Instead of holding up a hand for the other to talk to it, someone needs to man up, find some humility and shake hands on revitalizing this go-big-or-go-home rivalry.

If that doesn’t happen, the NCAA could become more like the NFL: full of commercialism and consumed by the number of zeroes you can get on your paycheck. When so much is rooted in a rivalry, is it worth it to dig it up and move on? I don’t think so.

A game that holds an unlimited amount of bragging rights must live on. But while hot heads and selfish hunger prevail, this historic rivalry will come to an end.

So what’s more important – driving down the road to face your arch nemesis or watching a new, watered-down rivalry on television because you can’t afford the cost of the road trip to the stadium?

We can distract ourselves, blame the system and beg for playoffs, or we can address this head on.

On the turf, under the lights, surrounded by both fans and agitators, are guys in their early 20s (except Brandon Weeden) who have the opportunity to play the game they love for four more years.

It is passion that fuels this league, not money. So why take the passion away?

The last Texas A&M vs. Texas game was a low-scoring game by Big 12 standards, decided by a field goal. That game was undoubtedly fueled by passion and for the love to play. Don’t take that away from the players.

I am green and gold through and through and would have been perfectly content if both teams could have lost.

But the very nature of college football is displayed on Thanksgiving night in either Austin or College Station with players and fans fixated on beating their rival.

Shouldn’t there be a huge stadium in the state of Texas with a wealthy owner who could afford to write fat checks to both schools to continue this rivalry?

Oh, hi, Jerry Jones.

Krista Pirtle is a junior journalism major from Olney and is a sports writer for the Lariat.