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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
One Big 12 rival is ready to play A&M again

By David Ubben

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds made headlines this week when he reiterated his stance against playing Texas A&M any time in the near future, though he admitted the game would likely happen at some point. Who gets to decide when?

"They're the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that's fair," he said.

Another old Texas A&M rival from the Big 12 has struck a different tune, though. Texas Tech wants to play Texas A&M, and it doesn't sound like it'll be too long before it happens.

"I would think soon,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal of the renewal's timeline. “(Athletic director) Kirby (Hocutt)’s excited about it. I’m excited about it, so hopefully we can come to an agreement and get that thing rolling. I just think it’s a great thing for the state. It’s a great rivalry, a great football game and it would be great for Texas."

He added that he'd "love to be a part of that again."

At last week's Big 12 basketball tournament, Hocutt expressed a desire to resume the series in a meeting with media.

"We would welcome the opportunity to play Texas A&M in every sport," Hocutt told reporters. "It was a fun rivalry, a good rivalry and one in the future that we can begin again."

Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman doesn't sound like he's standing in the way of the renewal either.

"We would entertain anything," he told the Dallas Morning News.

It's great to hear talk like that, and just like the Texas series, A&M's rivalry with Texas Tech will be a great game to get renewed. It's not the crown jewel like the Thanksgiving tradition between the state's two biggest football rivals, but it's a step in the right direction for sure.

Texas A&M and Missouri's 2011 exit to the SEC, less than a year after the Big 12 momentarily stabilized with 10 teams, inspired plenty of bad blood across the Big 12, but those feelings shouldn't stop rivalry games that helped make college football great from happening again. Texas Tech isn't Texas A&M's chief rival, but both programs love beating the other, and it can only help marquee rivalries like Texas and Texas A&M and Missouri and Kansas to resume before long.

Kingsbury, who took the head coaching job at Texas Tech after just one season as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator, joked that the Red Raiders should wait to schedule the game until Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel packs his bags and leaves A&M's campus.

The Red Raiders open spring practice on Friday, and Kingsbury met with reporters after throwing out the first pitch -- he says it was a strike -- at Texas Tech's baseball game against Arizona State on Tuesday.

The Journal noted that Hocutt spoke last fall of beefing up the nonconference schedule, but that it wouldn't be a possibility until 2015 of 2016, when the schedule was a bit clearer.

That would be fine with me, but the sooner Texas A&M gets to take the field against its old rivals from the Big 12, the better.