New Rivalry? Texas A&M vs Mississippi State


With the addition of Texas A&M to the SEC it brings the question of who will be their new big rival? Their 118 year rivalry with the University of Texas is over at least until 2019 when Texas’ non-conference schedule has its first vacancy. Can Mississippi State have a new rival with Texas A&M? Lets first look at who may be some of their other rivals.

Some may think the next closest rival would be Missouri since they’re a former Big XII brother but this would seem unlikely. Missouri and Texas A&M have only played each other 11 times because the two were in separate divisions of the Big XII. Texas A&M leads the series 7-4. If anything the rivalry has been created because of their addition to the SEC, but this is still more of a made for TV match-up rather than a legit rivalry. Missouri beat A&M in overtime this past year and Texas A&M will end the season with Missouri in 2012, but this is still not a big rivalry or even a rivalry at all if you ask me.

The first team that has real rivalry with Texas A&M from the SEC West is LSU. A&M has a 20-27-3 record vs LSU. The last time the two met was in the 2010 Cotton Bowl where LSU destroyed the Aggies 41-21. Texas A&M did win five consecutive annual games in the 1990s, capped by a 33-17 win in 1995 which was last time they beat a team from the SEC. That was 16 years ago and most of the players on both teams were still in diapers.

Arkansas is without a doubt the team that has the truest rivalry with Texas A&M. Both schools were founding members of the Southwest Conference that was formed on Dec 8, 1914. The first ever game between the two was 1903. The two schools played every year from 1934 to 1991 when Arkansas left for the SEC. Like most true rivalries, the match-up has a name: the Southwestern Classic. Also like the LSU rivalry, Texas A&M has a losing record vs Arkansas with a 24-41-3 record.

Which leads us to the question: Could Mississippi State vs Texas A&M be considered a rivalry? The two schools have only played five times with Mississippi State holding a 3-2 edge. The last game was the 2001 Independence Bowl, a.k.a. the snow bowl, where MSU won 43-41 in overtime thanks to a blocked extra point by Willie Blade. Eugene Clinton grabbed the ball and lateraled to Julius Griffith who went the distance to cut the deficit to 41-37. Wayne Madkin scored the winning touchdown with a 7-yard run to give the Bulldogs the victory. Scott Stricklin has already marketed the game next year as a Snow Bowl reunion where Mississippi State will wear white as they did back in 2001.

Besides the game the two schools are very similar in many ways. Both schools were founded with Agriculture and Engineering as the prominent focus as well as the use of Military training. Many of you may know that Mississippi State’s original name was The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi. This is the same A&M that is used by Texas A&M today in their name. Texas A&M is also very well known for its Corps of Cadets which is the oldest student-run program of its kind that dates back to 1876. Both schools also use dogs for their mascots, but in different ways. More importantly, we have the same team colors: Maroon and White.

With all this info and the similarities, what possible ways could we come up with a rivalry between MSU and A&M? We can’t keep calling the game the Snow Bowl reunion based on one game from 2001, so what other ways could we make the game interesting?

Given the nature of both schools, we thought of an idea that has a shared sense of pride that uses our history and can be displayed every year. Its actually a pretty simple idea. The winning team of the previous year should be rewarded for the victory by wearing Maroon-colored jerseys the following year and so on until they lose; at which time the right to the Maroon jersey would be turned over to the new victor. It’s simple idea that uses school pride to promote a friendly but passionate rivalry. As far as calling the rivalry a name it really isn’t needed. You could call it the ‘battle for the colors’ but I’m not sure how I feel about that. This would allow both schools to market the game in a way that benefits each school. It would create a new tradition in the SEC and college football in a time where traditions are slowly dying due to conference realignments.

After all, Texas A&M is more like a brother than fierce rival but that doesn’t mean brothers always get along!