Due Respect


bluesRespect. Aretha Franklin’s a big fan of it. So am I.

Respect gives you a lot of leeway. For instance, utter the words, “With all due respect,” prior to a statement, and you can say just about anything to someone and get away with it.

Respect gives you clout, even when you’re disliked. The Red Sox and Yankees hate each other with a passion. But there is a respect factor that overrides all of it, and it is a big part of being one of the best rivalries in sports.

Speaking of rivalries, I think most of us are still disappointed that the Texas-Texas A&M football game no longer is played. I say “most of us” because I, honestly, am not. Not anymore, anyway.

Let me explain.

Everyone knows I’m an Aggie. When the possibility first came up a few years ago that Texas A&M could move from the Big 12 to the SEC, I had visions of bringing back an old A&M tradition in playing the LSU Tigers in the first game of the season, while maintaining an old one by continuing to play Texas on Thanksgiving. It made sense to me since Florida plays Florida State, Georgia plays Georgia Tech and South Carolina plays Clemson in a non-conference rivalry to end each year in the SEC.

In fact, A&M offered to continue playing Texas, but then-AD DeLoss Dodds would have none of it, claiming that the Horns’ non-conference slate was already put to bed for years and there was no room.

Fine, whatever reason you wish to cite. That’s OK, DeLoss. You have that right. We’ve got plenty of pretty darn good opponents in the SEC anyway.

I was somewhat disappointed at the time, but once I thought about it a bit, one truth came to the surface for me that trumped all other opinions on the rivalry. And I’ve never looked back.

Texas has never respected Texas A&M. Ever.

texas-longhorns-texas-AM-2013-rivalry-570x379Going back as far as 1890 when the state senate tried to shut down the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas and build a new state school in Austin, mainly because of some “chicken ranch” in La Grange, leading to an actual fist -fight on the senate floor (true story).

Texas has always looked down its nose towards A&M. Texas might hate OU, but the respect is there. I’ve never felt that same sentiment coming from Austin towards College Station. That was never more clear than when Texas leadership tried to manipulate a six-team migration west to the PAC-10 in 2010 and kept A&M in the dark along the way, only saying, “Don’t worry; we’ll take care of you.” When A&M balked and the deal cratered, Texas took credit for saving the Big 12 (another true story).

bigbookThose that haven’t bought and read “The 100-Year Decision” by R. Bowen Loftin with Rusty Burson should add this to their reading list to learn more about that.

The Horns have never respected the Aggies. That alone gives me enough reason to say, unequivocally, I never want to play them again.

Remember, A&M is the “little brother.” Never mind that we’ve been around longer. Never mind that we have a larger undergraduate population. But we’re not the “flagship,” so of course there’s no way we can stand on our own and forge our own identity. Wrong.

Many scoffed at the mere idea that A&M could be successful playing in the SEC. My response then to the doubters (and now, even): those who cannot see the potential have very limited vision in what Texas A&M is and can be as a football program.

One of those doubters back in 2011 was Texas writer Chip Brown, who claimed at the time that the Aggies’ move to the SEC was “not happening.” Now he claims that “sources” tell him that A&M and/or the SEC is “ducking Texas” in a possible matchup in the Texas Bowl, played in Houston.

Brown, unfortunately, doesn’t have the best track record for sources.

Of course the media jumped all over this latest report, both here in Texas and nationally. Here we go again.

Look, there is no question that the Texas Bowl would love to have the Horns and Ags so they can sell tickets and have more eyeballs on their game for their sponsors. I get it and I don’t blame them for wanting it.

Events_2013-Texas-Bowl_may2013_142710The SEC made it clear prior to the new bowl system that the conference will be protecting slots for its teams so that they get placed in the correct level of bowls. Favors and the political game take a back seat to league standings.

Somehow that translated into “the SEC will block any Aggies-Horns matchup in the Texas Bowl.” The LSU-A&M game will have a larger factor in the chances of what SEC team goes where than a bowl committee lobbying for a certain match-up. Hey, if LSU beats the Aggies on Thanksgiving at Kyle Field and sends them to a 7-5 record, the Texas Bowl might be an appropriate spot.

But, for me, the next time Texas and Texas A&M meet on the football field, it needs to actually mean something. Don’t line them up as a bit just so you can put butts in seats. If we’re doing that, then simply schedule them during the season.

I’m not sure if current Texas AD Steve Patterson still has a full non-conference slate. I don’t know if A&M AD Eric Hyman has any interest in scheduling Texas in the future.

For me, it’s pretty simple and clear cut. So, with all due respect, I have two words for the fine people who run the state institution for higher learning in our state capital. And since I can’t really say the two words I want to say, I’ll give you these instead: No, thanks.

Click here and vote in our ScoreBoard Poll: Should Texas and Texas A&M ever schedule each other again?

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.


  1. Gig’em Scichili and I couldn’t agree with you more! But, if they do end up playing…I hope my butt is in one of those seats.

  2. Excellent statement. Accurate and I agree. the horns offer A&M NOTHING right now. They are begging to get A&M into a game and they had best be careful about what they wish. This is NOT Iowa State or Kansas. Ask Auburn and USC.

    • Oh yes, that’s it. We’re scared of Texas when we have the SEC West on our schedule every year. Please.

      • You can afford to lose all those games you are losing in the SEC (at about the same rate you were losing them in the Big 12), but you can’t continue your “WRTS” BS if you get taken to the woodshed by Texas. And it’s not just Chip Brown reporting it. Tim Brando (an SEC mouthpiece, no less) admitted having firsthand knowledge that the SEC is not going to allow a Texas v A&M matchup this bowl season on the radio yesterday.

        • Thanks for your comments. I still don’t have any desire to schedule Texas (and it ain’t from fear). I enjoy playing in a conference where all member teams support each other as one. Believe what you want to believe. And maybe worry about TCU since they are on your schedule. I’m focused on LSU. Good luck vs. the Frogs.

  3. The truth is, as one that is not an alumni of any of the big Texas schools, but grew up there and lived there until I was 51 years old…A&M causes their own issues. I lived in Dallas for 30 years…the Aggies played North Texas some years back and so I got my husband to go, because I had heard of all these great A&M traditions and I wanted to see them. I came away with a distinct dislike for my Aggie brethren. The crowd was rude, the Aggie band played over the attempt by North Texas to crown their homecoming queen, and the few fans I ran into were arrogant and ugly to try to communicate to. I then went back to my office where there was a guy I worked with…an Aggie friend…and I tried to make my points about the game and he said ‘EVERYBODY KNOWS that the Aggie band performs at such and such a time in the game…’ which happened to be when the homecoming festivities were going on. How RUDE! I then was at lunch with several A&M coworkers at lunch at the same company in Dallas, and I mentioned that TTU had beaten them, and one of the guys said to me ‘Yes! And it was humiliating. I mean EVERYBODY KNOWS that Texas Tech never has been and NEVER WILL BE worth anything!’ I got so incensed by these people’s attitudes as Aggies that I have rooted for Texas and Tech and every Southeast Conference team that is playing against them since that time. I am relieved that they don’t play the Big 12 teams anymore, because I got so tired of the Aggie BS. I don’t like Oklahoma at all, but if they are playing A&M, you can bet I am rooting for Oklahoma! Maybe, if your fans toned down the arrogance and rudeness just a bit it would help the cause of getting respect from others in the state.
    Just my opinion…and it is a strong one…


    • Thanks Linda. I respect your take on things. There surely are bad apples in every bunch, but I can tell you I love being an Aggie because of the people (arrogant and rude has never been my impression). I’ve had nothing but great experiences my entire life. I am sorry you had some bad ones. Again, thanks for your viewpoint and best wishes to you.

    • TAMU is considered one of the most fan friendly places in the country to play. I’ve been on the sidelines of BIG 12 and SEC games for decades and other than Nebraska can’t think of a better or respected fan base than Kyle field. The two schools Linda cites on the other hand have displayed some of the nastiest environments including bottles thrown onto and at people on the sidelines of opposition. LSU doesn’t do that.

  4. As a Longhorn fan, this is a really well thought out article.

    Do I think Texas would beat A&M this year? Yes. Soundly too.

    That being said, it is almost insulting to both programs to play this game. If/when we do play, it better be either every year, or in the playoffs.

    • Thanks for your take and the kind words. Yes, you and I could certainly log up a couple hundred yards of rushing the way our D is playing these days! Who knows who would win the game. I do think that this game will be regularly scheduled again in 5-10 years, simply because $ rules all, and it will come calling. Good luck vs. the Frogs.

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