During his segment, Herbstreit addressed the question of if Texas would ever truly be “back.” Part of his answer focused on the supposed differences between Texas and Texas A&M fans.
Herbstreit argued that Longhorn fans in Austin aren’t as emotionally invested in their program as Aggie supporters in College Station. The ESPN analyst compared Texas’ fanbase to another storied program struggling to regain elite status: Michigan.
“One thing I’ll add to this as just a little bit of a caveat. They’re not as passionate about sports,” Herbstreit said of Longhorn fans. “You know how with Michigan they have great fans, but compared to Madison or State College or Columbus or Iowa, it’s almost like, ‘We went to the game but we’re running companies and we’re doing other things. We got other things going on besides football. Our lives are bigger than if we win on a Saturday.’
“Well in Madison, Columbus and State College, their lives are predicated upon what happened last Saturday. In Michigan they got more things going on it seems like. That’s what Texas feels like when you go to Austin. They’ll show up and if the team’s winning it’s a fun thing to do and they’ll go to the game. But if you go to A&M, holy cow. Texas A&M, it’s a religion right? I don’t know if the passion and the support is in Austin the way it is in some of these other places.”
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 30, 2021
In terms of attendance, Texas had the seventh-highest home attendance average in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas A&M, meanwhile, was fourth. In 2018, A&M and Texas ranked sixth and seventh in home attendance respectively.
It is tough to argue that UT fans are not passionate, but Herbie thinks they are less rabid than their in-state counterparts. Maybe when the Longhorns are in the SEC alongside the Aggies, we’ll be able to settle this debate once and for all.