All good things must come to an end. For the moment, at least, that certainly seems to be the case for football fans across the Lone Star State. With Texas A&M set to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012, it looks as if the November 24, 2011 showdown between the Longhorns and the Aggies at Kyle Field in College Station will be the last meeting between the two biggest football programs in Texas.
For football fans, the annual UT/A&M tilt was one of the year's most anticipated events. Having been played in at least a portion of three centuries, the Longhorn-Aggie rivalry had become one of the most intense college football rivalries in the nation. The game, which has been played on Thanksgiving or during Thanksgiving weekend since 1918, drew thousands of fans from across Texas and throughout the United States. Millions more watched the game on television every year. Undoubtedly, this year's Thanksgiving Day face-off will be one of the highest viewed games of the year. For one, both teams are having a resurgent season, having been ranked in the top 25 at some point in the season. But, far beyond the quality of this year's squads, the added intrigue to this year's game is certainly the fact this may be the last game in this storied rivalry. At the moment, no other UT-A&M football games are scheduled. Until Texas A&M settles in to its new SEC home, it is unlikely agreements for future games can be reached. Hopefully, the rivalry will be continued. After all, UT-A&M playing on Thanksgiving is the essence of Texas football.
The rivalry - at least in the sense of the annual football game - began on October 19, 1894. That first game, which was held in Austin, was won by the Longhorns by a score of 38-0. In fact, Texas won the first seven meetings, none of which were held in College Station. In fact, the Aggies didn't host UT in College Station until the 1915 game. Until then, the game moved between Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. It was in San Antonio in October of 1902 that Texas' seven game winning streak versus A&M came to an end. That year's game ended in a 0-0 tie. A month later (yes, they played twice in 1902) A&M won for the first time in this rivalry (in fact, this game, which was the ninth in the series, was also the first time the Aggies scored against the Longhorns). However, the Aggies wouldn't get another win until 1909 - when they beat UT twice. The Aggies won again in 1910 to bring their record in the rivalry to 4-14-2.
After the 1911 game (which Texas won, 6-0) the rivalry took a three season break. To date, this remains the only gap in the rivalry since its inception in 1894. Unless an accord can be reached before the 2012 season, it appears there will be a second disruption in the rivalry. When the rivalry resumed following the first gap, it did so in College Station. That game, played in 1915, was the first time the game was played in College Station. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, in what may be the rivalry's final game, the teams will meet in College Station once again, 96 years after the first time they met in the Aggies home town. So, for now it appears an unbroken string of nearly 100 seasons will begin and end in College Station.
As far as the series record, the teams have met 117 times (Thanksgiving Day 2011 will be the 118th meeting). Texas has won 75 times, A&M 37. The game has ended in a tie five times. But, regardless of the record, fans of both schools as well as football fans in general have counted on the UT-A&M game to be the highlight of football action over Thanksgiving Weekend since the game was moved to that time frame in 1918. So, with the future of the rivalry uncertain, football fans will be well-served to watch every minute of this year's game, as it may be the last time these two teams meet.