Longhorns are lucky they aren’t playing Aggies


Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2) runs around Sam Houston State's Robert Shaw (23) for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in College Station, Texas.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Oklahoma being left out of the BCS was the best thing that could have happened to Texas. Northern Illinois, with a 12-1 record, will head to the Orange Bowl and the Sooners will take on former Big 12 member Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

The Longhorns are lucky they won’t be taking on Johnny Manziel and the Aggies.

It’s a one-two punch for the Longhorns. It was expected the Aggies would struggle in the SEC and instead they are having a far better season than Texas. On top of that, Manziel’s success has caused serious questioning of Texas’ recruiting decisions. He reached out Texas and showed interest in the program but he was recruited only as a defensive back.

Now, he is a Heisman finalist as a redshirt freshman.

All the while, Texas is again immersed in a quarterback struggle with David Ash and Case McCoy competing for the starting spot.

While the Longhorns defeated the Aggies in their last meeting, Kevin Sumlin’s program has taken much larger steps forward than Mack Brown’s. With a new conference, a new coach and a dazzling quarterback, the Aggies have risen above the status of the Longhorns.

In 2011 Texas A&M finished with a 7-6 record and tied for sixth in the Big 12. No matter what happens at the Cotton Bowl, Sumlin has transformed this Aggie squad into a much better team than Texas. While A&M is thriving in the best conference in the country, the Texas football program has become stagnant.

Texas’ losses have come at the hands of Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU and Kansas State. Only the Sooners and Wildcats are ranked. Texas A&M now sits in third in the SEC West with a 10-2 record, defeating then-No. 1 Alabama along the way. The Aggies’ only losses came to Florida and LSU, both were by lost by less than four points and both teams are still ranked.

Yes, rebuilding after a 5-7 season takes time. But Texas’ losses to West Virginia and TCU should not be acceptable at a program with so much money and resources. In addition, getting stomped by Bob Stoops’ squad is a trend that isn’t going to be acceptable for much longer. Texas needs one more win to top last year’s win total. But Oregon State will likely be favored in the Alamo Bowl, potentially concluding this season with the same average record as the last.

Each week on Monday media availability, it is a pretty safe bet that Mack Brown will tell the press that Texas is improving.  Manny Diaz, Brian Harsin and the players echo that same tune.
But, in college football, the win column is all that matters.  

The wins aren’t there this year. They weren’t there the previous two years, either.

During Texas’ loss to Kansas State last Saturday, fans were chanting “We own Texas.” The Wildcats defeated the Longhorns for the fifth straight time and clinched the Big 12 title that night. The last time Texas saw that trophy was in 2009. Since that season, Texas is 21-16. 

If the two former rivals were to play in the Cotton Bowl, the Aggie fans would likely have the right to a similar chant.

“We handled those guys [Texas A&M] already,” said Jeremy Hills before Texas’ loss to TCU. “We won the first, the most and the last. That’s all that matters.”

While a Big 12 rivalry rematch between the Longhorns and Aggies would be exciting, Texas should be glad they aren’t taking on the in-state rival.   

Mack Brown and his staff should be the most relieved of all.

Printed on Friday, December 7, 2012 as: Longhorns lucky to avoid A&M in bowl