Count Texas governor Greg Abbott in the camp of many who want to see Texas and Texas A&M rekindle their rivalry on the gridiron.
Speaking at a charity basketball game benefitting Hurricane Harvey relief efforts between the two schools on the campus of Rice, Abbott -- a Texas fan -- fired up the crowd with a statement that will resonate in both fan bases.
"My next goal as governor is to reunite the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry," Abbott told the crowd at halftime, according to the Austin American-Statesman. "Hook 'em Horns!"
While Harvey relief efforts obviously take precedent for Abbott right now, using the event to reaffirm his desire to get the Longhorns together on the football field for the first time since 2011 will hopefully get the ball rolling.
The last time the two rivals got together was on Thanksgiving night in 2011 when Justin Tucker hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Longhorns a 27-25 win over the Aggies in College Station. Texas A&M hired Kevin Sumlin and moved to the SEC that offseason, Texas regressed and made two coaching changes, and the rivalry has turned into the college football equivalent of two high-schoolers trying to work their way through a long distance relationship.
That needs to change -- and it's Texas that needs Texas A&M more than the other way around.
Instead of being the Longhorns' little brother, the Aggies have evolved more into their cousin since they moved to the SEC. They've been ranked in the top 10 at some point every year until this year, produced a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Johnny Manziel, followed through with a renovation and expansion of Kyle Field that cost nearly a half-billion dollars and firmly established their presence as more than just a "small sliver down the east side of Texas" -- as former Longhorn athletics director DeLoss Dodds said in May 2012.
By not settling it on the field, Texas is allowing Texas A&M to further cement itself with its own identity in a new neighborhood with new friends and a new structure.
Regardless of any hypothetical outcome in future matchups, that identity would further solidify itself. But at least a heads up win would be something to slow that down to an extent and create a real data point to sell to donors, fans and prospects.
Plus, the absence of the rivalry is bad for the game. Whether it's played on Thanksgiving night, rivalry weekend, Week 1 or whenever, the realignment bonanza earlier this decade robbed us of many rivalry games, including the Border War between Missouri and Kansas, the Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt (which will be resumed for four years starting in 2022) and the Lone Star Showdown -- the biggest and best of the bunch -- between the Aggies and Longhorns.
Why can't sanity prevail?
Why can't tradition be upheld?
After all, this is the College Football Playoff era when conferences have either mandated a ninth conference game or at least one Power Five out-of-conference game every single season. Playing highly visible rivalry games -- even if your rivals aren't exactly football powers every single year -- will at least give these programs the eyes of the nation for at least one week.
You never know when that might come in handy.