Tom Herman was hired to replace Charlie Strong and bring Texas back to national prominence. If he had it his way, he'd also have a chance to establish prominence within the state.
The last time Texas and Texas A&M were on the football field together, Justin Tucker hit a field goal as time expired to send the Longhorns to a 27-25 win over the Aggies in what was the final regular season game of the rivalry and A&M's tenure in the Big 12.
Herman wants to bring the matchup back, according to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.
Tom Herman on scheduling: "We don't play a rival at home ever. I don't know why we can't play A&M as our marquee non-conference opponent."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) July 18, 2017
Welcome the party, Mr. Herman. Nobody understands why the two sides can't get back together.
For Herman, there's no better time to hop up on the soapbox and championing a renewed rivalry. The spotlight is on the conference due to the Big 12 Media Days, which concluded Tuesday in Frisco, Texas. Herman has a rather powerful microphone after bursting onto the coaching scene as Ohio State's offensive coordinator during the 2014 national title run and Houston's head coach for the last two years. That three-year run elevated him to the top of nearly everybody's offseason coaching wish list prior to Texas inking him to a deal.
Now's the time when asking for the sun, moon and stars might actually pay off. Or at the very least, kick some tires and light some fires.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is in Herman's corner. The Aggies' coach said last month in Austin (of all places) that he thinks the rivalry will be back on the books at some point. "Me, personally? I think over the course of time that's going to happen," Sumlin said according to Suzanne Halliburton of the Austin American-Statesman. "With our move to the SEC, scheduling has become a real issue."
Time heals all wounds. According to Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News, former Longhorn athletics director DeLoss Dodds "wanted to punish" Texas A&M for leaving for greener pastures in the SEC. Now's the time for cooler heads to prevail and get the two major college programs in Texas together on an annual basis.
For Texas, it'd be a chance to remind high school prospects in the state that, even though Texas A&M has that SEC patch on its jersey and has become more of a "little cousin" than a "little brother," the Longhorns still run the state and that the Big 12 might not be that bad.
For Texas A&M, it'd be a chance to further step out of Texas' shadow in years in which the Aggies win and own the identity they started to develop when they moved to the SEC in 2012.
For you, the college football fan, it'd be a chance to regain a game that was taken from you during the realignment bonanza earlier this decade.
What's the problem?
Sumlin's point about scheduling is a minor issue but not something that should stall talks.
The SEC has a mandate that requires one Power Five opponent outside of the eight-game conference schedule per year. That mandate doesn't prevent South Carolina from playing Clemson, Georgia from squaring off against Georgia Tech, Kentucky from taking on Louisville or Florida from facing Florida State every year. What's more, Florida and South Carolina both have neutral-site Power Five matchups to open the 2017 season on top of their respective intrastate rivalries.
With Herman on board with Sumlin, there's no reason why the two can't work together to give college football back a rivalry that it needs.