Having a Hex Rally without playing Texas A&M is going to be like Thanksgiving without the turkey.
You can’t have one without the other.
But Texas will do just that this week, facing TCU on Thursday, three days after Monday night’s Hex Rally. There’s nothing wrong with bringing the Horned Frogs to Austin on Thanksgiving night, but to have a Hex Rally knowing that a game against the Aggies isn’t on the horizon just doesn’t feel right.
“It’s a Texas tradition and TCU will just fill in,” junior guard Mason Walters said. “I really think that the Thanksgiving Day game is what made the game so great. It’s an in-state school with TCU, they’re two different teams. We know that. But it’s great to play in that Thanksgiving Day environment.”
TCU hasn’t played on Thanksgiving Day in more than 80 years. But the Horned Frogs, who have dropped 28 of their last 29 against Texas, spent seven-plus decades in the same conference as the Longhorns. The former Southwest Conference member is a perfect fit to play Texas on Turkey Day.
“Realignment has changed history. It’s changed tradition, which I don’t like,” head coach Mack Brown said. “When A&M left our league and the decision was made that the two teams would not play anymore, I felt like I wanted to still play on Thanksgiving and I’m really excited that we’re playing an old Southwest Conference foe.”
Texas Tech announced Monday that it would be playing Texas in Austin next Thanksgiving, possibly creating a revolving door of in-state rivals to visit Texas every November. But don’t kid yourself. Neither the Horned Frogs nor the Red Raiders will ever replace the Aggies as a Longhorn rival.
“It’ll be a little different than what we’re used to,” senior running back Jeremy Hills said. “But we handled those guys [Texas A&M] already. We won the first, the most and the last. That’s all that matters. We’re ready to handle whoever’s next and right now that’s TCU.”
Texas fans don’t sing “It’s goodbye to TCU,” and the Aggie War Hymn lyrics, despite Texas A&M’s move to the SEC, still stand: “Goodbye to Texas University/So long to the Orange and White.”
That’s one of many reasons why there shouldn’t be a Hex Rally in the absence of a Texas-Texas A&M game on the way.
“We handled business my junior year so that makes it better,” senior safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “I miss it. As I watch [Texas A&M] this year, I miss it. It’s weird not playing them.”
Vaccaro’s right. His Longhorns, with the help of his highlight reel-worthy interception in the third quarter, beat the Aggies, 27-25, on Thanksgiving last year. It was a thrilling end to the storied rivalry, one that will hopefully be revived soon.
Until then, Texas will have to make do with TCU. But Texas A&M is the only school worthy of hexing.