NORMAN — Bob Stoops doesn't get emotional about the rising number of familiar foes headed out the Big 12 door. Nebraska last year, Missouri in September, Texas A&M on Saturday at Owen Field. Stoops gets no lump in his throat, no moisture in his eye, talking about the dearly departing.
“Have a good go at it next year, wherever you're at,” Stoops said about the final OU-A&M game for the foreseeable future. “We'll play somebody else.”
No holes in that theory. No telling who the Sooners will play in 2012, but it won't be the Aggies, that mystical corps from College Station that is SEC-bound. If it's OK with Stoops, I'll get a little emotional for the both of us.
Nebraska, A&M, probably Missouri. The Sooners and Cowboys keep losing opponents that made our lives interesting. The neighborhood keeps changing, and not always for the better.
I love TCU, and I think West Virginia is going to be interesting in a Daniel Boone-does-Dodge City sort of way.
But there are danged few good things about losing Texas A&M. I won't miss the drive to College Station, and I won't miss all those student soldiers running around that are more militia than military, and I won't miss the swaying upper deck at Kyle Field. If I wanted an amusement park ride, I'd stop off at Six Flags.
Everything else about the Aggies, I'll miss.
It's a shame, really, Aggie football making what could be their final trip onto Oklahoma soil. A&M has been a regular on our schedules only since 1996. I don't know why they didn't play much before that — OU 14 times, OSU 11; lack of vision, I suppose — but the Aggies quickly became a familiar foe.
Here's what I'll miss:
* The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band. I don't really want to start any more debates about the musical quality of the Aggie band. I'm not a contest judge. I'm just Joe Consumer.
But every band except maybe those from the historically black colleges could learn a lesson from the Aggies. Play music everyone can cheer, and don't step sideways. March straight ahead.
Autumns won't be the same without hearing the Ags play “Ballad of the Green Berets.”
* I will miss the A&M-Texas Thanksgiving game. Maybe Tech can be an adequate replacement. We'll see.
* I will miss the Aggie War Hymn. The coolest sound in college football is that trumpet intro, signaling the fight song is nigh.
Navy has the nation's best fight song. Alabama is No. 2. Michigan No. 3. I'd put the Aggie War Hymn next.
* I will miss the names of A&M tailbacks. From John David Crow to Bubba Bean to Sirr Parker to Jorvorskie Lane to Mister Jones to Cyrus Gray, the Aggies always seem to have a tailback with a totally cool name.
* I will miss A&M's coaching tradition. Mike Sherman has a lot to live up to; so did Dennis Franchione, who failed. But the Aggies aren't in the habit of hiring mediocre coaches, even if they don't always win big.
Dana X. Bible, who won big at Nebraska and Texas. Matty Bell, who won big at TCU and SMU. Bear Bryant. Gene Stallings. Wishbone inventor Emory Bellard. Jackie Sherrill. R.C. Slocum. The Aggies have hired themselves some football coaches.
* I will miss A&M's upset capability. The Aggies knocked Kansas State out of the 1998 national title game. OU out of the No. 1 ranking in 2002. Texas out of the 2006 Big 12 title game. The Aggies made this conference much more interesting.
* I will miss A&M's capability to be upset. The Aggies lost to Arkansas State in 2008. Lost to Baylor 35-34 in 2004, when the Bears had just four Big 12 wins in the conference's eight-year history. Lost to Louisiana-Lafayette in 1996. With the Aggies, you never know what you'll get.
* I will miss the Wrecking Crew nickname. The Aggies don't necessarily play that kind of defense anymore (Von Miller a notable exception), but what a great nickname and tradition.
* I miss the 12th Man tradition. I like history and the preservation thereof. Not all tradition is worth preserving, and certainly some of A&M's falls into that category. But connections to the past are a priceless possession, and the Aggies certainly value theirs.
* I will miss the tradition of kissing your date after an A&M score. Sort of silly, but relatively harmless, and completely understandable when you remember that A&M didn't go coed until 1963.
* I will miss OSU-A&M games, which provided some of the Big 12's best drama. Five of the last six Cowboy-Aggie games were decided by five points or less. Three of the five were one-point affairs.
* I will miss the Stoops blowouts. Stoops' teams have scored at least 50 points on A&M four times. Stoops' teams have scored at least 60 on the Ags three times. No other foe has been so victimized by the Sooners. Baylor and Iowa State never have allowed OU to reach 60.
So long, Aggies. You were good neighbors. You made our football lives better. Knock 'em dead in the SEC.
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.