COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Farewell Tour begins Saturday against Oklahoma State. No more Aggie games against the Oklahoma schools. No more Aggie games against the Big 12 North schools. Maybe no more Aggie games against Texas.
It's goodbye to A&M this autumn. OSU hopes it's good-bye to A&M's Big 12 title hopes after Kyle Field's first top-10 matchup in 36 years and just the ninth such showdown in OSU history.
A Big 12 in tatters sure could use a Cowboy victory. About the only thing the Big 12 has left is its football reputation. This league at least still plays a mean game of gridiron.
But even that would take a hit if the Aggies win the league championship on their way out the door, as Nebraska darn near did last December.
“I think this A&M team is going to be really jacked up to come in and get a win before they exit the Big 12,” said State linebacker Shaun Lewis.
A few days ago, this looked like a Pac-16/SEC showdown. But now OSU is staying put and only A&M is trying to leave the party by stealing the punch bowl.
The seventh-ranked Cowboys can cripple the eighth-ranked Aggies' championship hopes. A&M still has to go to Norman; OSU gets the top-ranked Sooners in Stillwater.
Nebraska had a target on its back last autumn, navigating through its exodus, though it didn't seem all that personal except with Texas. A&M's departure has gotten personal with Texas and with Baylor.
Not so much with OSU, which is a kind of kindred spirit with the Ags. A&M fans have grown a little melancholy this week, talking with fondness about their trips to Stillwater and how they think it's cool that OSU once was known as Oklahoma A&M.
But the Aggie ballplayers have found motivation for this game, recalling OSU's late touchdown in 2008, capping a 56-28 rout.
A&M tailback Cyrus Gray said that TD irked the Aggies, “especially coach (Mike) Sherman. He's a classy guy, and we try to do things the classy way here, so hopefully this year we can get our revenge.”
You'd think a program that has been beaten 77-0 in the last decade wouldn't get all worked about Zac Robinson's seven-yard touchdown run that made it 56-28 with 1:48 left. But whatever.
Time was, the Cowboys struggled in this series, losing the first six meetings of the Big 12 era. But starting with the 2002 game, OSU has won five of nine, including three straight, and A&M's two victories before that (2006, 2007) were each by one point.
“It's like a fight club,” said OSU offensive tackle Jonathan Rush. “You're bred to not like those people. But I love my conference more than I love any other conference.”
The Aggies aren't claiming much Big 12 ties anymore. They just want the trophy. OSU sure could help Big 12 morale with a victory.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.