When Texas A&M made their departure for the SEC, one of the things Aggies felt as if they were losing was their Thanksgiving game every year against the Texas Longhorns. But with the great work of Texas A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman, Aggie fans won’t have to wait long for a new spin on their Thanksgiving game.
Yesterday Texas A&M released the 2014 football schedule with two highly anticipated changes in the Aggies’ schedule. The first is the season opener against soon-to-be rival South Carolina, and the second is an established tradition of the Thanksgiving game against LSU. Both games are phenomenal moves by the Texas A&M Athletic staff that will ultimately grow the program for their own reasons. The Thanksgiving game provides A&M fans with a sense of a new founded rivalry game, replacing the lost annual match up between the Longhorns.
LSU is the only team that could have made this deal worthwhile, simply because LSU provides history (51 meetings thus far, the first dating back to 1899), which ultimately provides the potential of growing into an even greater rival matchup. In making your main rivalry, which you will showcase to the country and your recruits, you don’t want to provide a mediocre game that will only interest the two teams’ fan bases. For a premiere rivalry game, every program wants a matchup on their schedule that will draw in the entire country, regardless of where they went to school. Millions of people tune into the Ohio State/Michigan game every year, simply because it is a great rivalry game filled with a great deal of history and passion.
Texas A&M has already experienced that premiere showcase with Texas, so there is no reason to downgrade its Thanksgiving experience. The only step left for A&M was to either match that game or find one that has the potential of being a greater rivalry than Texas.
Now, that sounds hard to do, just check out the war hymn-it still has UT written all over it, but as of now this rivalry, over time, will be able to match par with the old rivalry against Texas. Can it ever be greater? Time will tell the tale, but it has the potential because of LSU’s great program and an already established historical rivalry with Texas A&M.
Other positive reasons for the deal with LSU remain, such as recruiting and the gain of national attention; there is still the season opener against South Carolina that will impact A&M’s program greatly.
The season opener with the Gamecocks will more than likely be the first game to air on the new SEC Network, which is great publicity for Texas A&M in the country’s eye and the SEC’s view. Hopefully, this season all goes well for both programs, along with recruiting, and we’ll kickoff next season with a top ten matchup.
All in all, A&M seems to be making all the right moves not only to excite A&M and college football fans as a whole, but also ultimately to continue driving this program upward, in hopes of becoming the best in all the country.