Since Texas A&M‘s departure from the Big 12 for the SEC, the Aggies and Texas Longhorns haven’t played. There have been some fleeting rumors, and local politicians and other influential people have called for the rivalry to return, but it has never really gotten off the ground. Throw in the fact that Texas A&M will reportedly be the one school to vote against Texas joining the league, and the bad blood there still clearly remains.
According to college football insider Dennis Dodd, they won’t have a choice moving forward. As Texas and Oklahoma prepare to move to the SEC, as has been reported this week, their new league plans to cash in on those former Big 12 rivalries on an annual basis.
The layout of the new 16-team SEC has been up for debate. The league could go to eight-team divisions, though that would leave little room for crossovers, even if they go to a nine-game league schedule. Instead, many are suggesting the league go to a four-pod format, with four teams in each, which will add to scheduling flexibility and allow each team to face their other conference rivals more often.
However things shake out, Dodd says one thing has been decided: Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma are all going to play each other every year. The days of the Longhorns and Aggies ducking each other appear to be over.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) July 23, 2021
It was widely expected that the Red River Rivalry would be protected in the new SEC layout. While Texas and Oklahoma are fierce rivals, they also executed this wild, impending conference move together.
The relationship between Texas and A&M has been fractured since the last conference switch. The fact that Texas is following suit may alleviate that, but it is still a bit surprising, given how the last decade has gone. And at the same time, it makes perfect sense that the SEC is going to take advantage of the energy around that dormant rivalry.
As of now, Texas and Oklahoma, which have not yet officially announced the move, are in line to make the jump when the Big 12 Grant of Rights expires in 2025. There are plenty of moving parts though, and if the Big 12 effectively implodes before that, we could see the Longhorns and Sooners in the SEC even earlier than that.