- Sam Khan, Texas A&M/SEC reporter
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HOUSTON -- Texas A&M and Arizona State will meet for the first time in the schools' histories on Sept. 5, 2015, when they travel to Reliant Stadium for a nonconference game in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff.
It will be the third edition of the Texas Kickoff, with Oklahoma State beating Mississippi State 21-3 earlier this season and LSU and Wisconsin scheduled to meet Aug. 30, 2014, at Reliant.
Landing the Aggies and Sun Devils for the third version of the game is part of an ongoing effort to establish Reliant Stadium and the city of Houston as a major player in college football.
"The goal is to position Houston as a destination for college football and certainly this game in 2015 with the history, tradition and passionate pageantry of Texas A&M and the excitement of a top-tier Pac-12 school in Arizona State, it helps us to continue to build on that tradition," said Jamey Rootes, president of the NFL's Houston Texans and of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, which organizes events at Reliant.
Texas A&M has seen its national profile raised the past two years after having quick success after moving to the Southeastern Conference, going 11-2 last season. The Aggies are currently No. 12 in the country in the middle of an 8-2 season. The Aggies most recently played in Reliant against Northwestern in the 2011 Texas Bowl, their final game as Big 12 members. The 2015 season is also the year A&M is expected to complete a $450 million renovation of their home stadium, Kyle Field, to turn it into a 102,500-seat palace.
No. 17 Arizona State will get a chance to play in an area coach Todd Graham likes to recruit. A former Texas high school coach, Graham does plenty of recruiting in the Lone Star State and this game gives the Sun Devils a chance to showcase themselves in front of a fertile recruiting ground like Houston. On Oct. 5, the Sun Devils lost 37-34 to Notre Dame in a neutral-site affair at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Rootes said he hopes the addition of these kickoff games and the ongoing Texas Bowl, which will feature a Big 12-SEC matchup starting in 2014, will position Reliant Stadium and the city of Houston to bid for a future national championship game as part of the new College Football Playoff.
"The championship is what, at this point in time, Houston would have an opportunity for in a given year when the stadium is available," Rootes said. "Things like the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl, which Houston will have in 2017, make it challenging, but when the time is right and there's availability, we'll work with the city to hopefully pursue the championship opportunity for Houston."
Texas A&M and Arizona State will meet on Sept. 5, 2015, at Reliant Stadium in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game.