Family, turkey and too many desserts to count are a few things we look forward to each Thanksgiving. For Longhorn fans across the country, Thanksgiving has also been associated with a chance to re-establish their dominance against in-state rival Texas A&M. One of the most heated rivalries in college football, the game that first started in 1894 has brought the state of Texas some of its most precious memories on the gridiron.
The stories are passed down from generation to generation like old fables we all grew up on. Each university mentions the other in its fight song, and traditions were born a century ago that can be attributed to the rivalry. The Lone Star Showdown has been sewn into the fabric of each university and its alumni base, bringing with it a searing hatred for one another.
And while this all still holds true today, for the first time since 1915 the game will not be played. Texas A&M’s move to the SEC, along with other factors, are causing college football’s third-most played rivalry to take a break, forcing new opponents onto each other during Thanksgiving. While it is a crime against anyone who enjoys good football on the holidays to have the game suspended, each university will carry on until the rivalry is renewed one day in the future.
For Texas, the end of the Lone Star Showdown means a few things. For instance, the Hex Rally, which came alive in 1941, won’t carry near the weight it has the past 71 years. The tradition began when a few students sought the advice of a local fortune teller on how to beat the Aggies, who held an 18-year win streak at home against the Longhorns. She advised the students to burn red candles all week before the game to put a hex on the Aggies, and it worked. The Longhorns won the game 23-0, and a tradition was born.
Now steps in TCU. The rally will still take place, and it will still be special, but it almost certainly won’t carry the same vibe it has for decades prior. The tradition was born to beat the Aggies, and the Horned Frogs of TCU don’t invoke near the level of repulsion that requires a hex to be put on them to help ensure victory.
Another tradition that will change on Thursday is the school that Texas historically owns will be different. Texas held a 76-37-5 series advantage over the Aggies, good for a 69.6 winning percentage. Now, Texas will have a chance to improve on its win percentage over TCU. The schools have met 82 times over the course of their history, the last being in 2007 when the Longhorns won 34-13. Texas holds a 61-20-1 record over TCU, equaling out to a win percentage of 75 percent. Since the Lone Star Showdown began annually in 1915, the Longhorns have had a pretty rich tradition of winning football games against the Aggies on Thanksgiving. Now the Longhorn faithful will have to hope the winning part of that tradition sticks, even if it is another Texas school on the football field.
It will be a weird experience come Thursday night when the Longhorns line up to face TCU. There will be no horns to be “sawed off”, there will be no Reveille and there will be no “goodbye to Texas University” booming throughout the stadium. Instead, another rivalry will be revived, even if it is on a much different scale. The show will go on despite the irregularities in the week leading up to the game and the atmosphere pre-kickoff. Texas will get the chance to flex its muscles on someone else, a new Big 12 member anxious to show the world they can hang with the big boys of the state. It will be exhilarating and bizarre all at the same time.