COLLEGE STATION The Texas A&M vs. LSU border-state rivalry football game will be played on Thanksgiving Day in 2014 as part of the traditional “rivalry weekend,” the Southeastern Conference announced on Wednesday.
The SEC unveiled the Aggies’ complete 2014 conference slate, which includes cross-division matchups with South Carolina and Missouri, in addition to annual battles with the six other Western Division teams: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
The Aggies will kick off the 2014 college football season on a Thursday night, Aug.28, at SEC East-foe South Carolina in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The matchup between the Aggies and the Gamecocks also will be the first-ever football game on the SEC Network, which officially launches one year from today in conjunction with ESPN.
Texas A&M’s conference schedule also features a neutral site matchup with Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (Sept. 27) and additional road trips to Mississippi State (Oct. 4), Alabama (Oct. 18) and Auburn (Nov. 8). Coming to Kyle Field will be Ole Miss (Oct. 11), Missouri (Nov. 15) and LSU (Nov. 27). Texas A&M is still in the process of completing the Aggies’ non-conference slate for 2014. The full schedule will be released in the near future.
With more than 50 previous meetings, the Texas A&M-LSU border rivalry ranks as one of the nation’s best. The two teams met 50 times as non-conference opponents beginning in 1899, but the rivalry ramped up to the next level in 2012 when Texas A&M joined the SEC and the Aggies-Tigers matchup became an annual affair. LSU holds a 28-20-3 overall advantage in the series, but the two schools have split the last 12 meetings since 1986.
“Texas A&M and LSU has always been one of nation’s best rivalries,” Texas A&M Director of Athletics Eric Hyman said. “It has all the trappings of a great rivalry – passionate fan bases, bordering states, close proximity, unmatched traditions and history. College football’s rivalry weekend is the perfect home for the Aggies and Tigers.”
Nine members of the Aggies’ current roster are from the state of Louisiana, and some of the most notable players in Texas A&M history have hailed from the Pelican State. John David Crow, from Springhill, La., was Texas A&M’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1957, and dynamic quarterbacks Bucky Richardson, from Baton Rouge, La., and David Walker, from Sulphur, La., are two of the winningest signalcallers in school history. LSU legend and 1959 Heisman winner Billy Cannon’s son, Billy Cannon Jr., developed into an NFL first-round draft pick for the Aggies.
The two teams have met 23 times when at least one team was ranked in The Associated Press Top 25, including seven times when both teams were ranked in the top 25. The highest ranked matchup between the two schools was the 1974 slugfest when the No. 12 Aggies beat the No. 7 Tigers, 21-14, in Baton Rouge, La.
One of the greatest upsets in the history of the series came in 1989 when Larry Horton kick-started the R.C. Slocum era of Aggie football with a 92-yard return of the opening kickoff to spur the unranked Aggies to a 28-16 win over the No. 7 ranked Tigers at Kyle Field. Texas A&M and LSU had renewed the rivalry in 1986, but the Tigers won the first three games of the series with hard-fought wins over a trio of top 15-ranked Aggie squads. The Aggies and Tigers met annually as non-conference foes through the 1995 season.
The Texas A&M-LSU matchup in 1955 was one of the most pivotal wins of the Paul “Bear” Bryant era at Texas A&M. Bryant’s opened his Texas A&M career with just one win in his first 11 games and then faced a daunting trip to Baton Rouge to face the No. 16-ranked Bayou Bengals. The Aggies, led by the famed “Junction Boys” and a future Heisman winner in Crow, delivered a shocking 28-0 win on the way at a 7-2-1 record in Bryant’s second season.