Sad to see the old rivalries coming to an end because of greed, but after playing every year since 1909, this Saturday will be the last Longhorns vs. Aggies game for the foreseeable future. I guess that about does her, wraps her all up. I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuating its self, down through the generations, westward the wagons, across the sands a time until -- aw, look at me, I'm ramblin' again.
SI.com has a good history of the rivalry up: Bitter Texas-Texas A&M rivalry prepares for a sudden ending
It has some good bits about Coach Bryant in there. I wish the writer had fleshed out this story below a little better about why Bryant took those unusual steps in '56. Maybe just because it was his first undefeated team there? I dunno, maybe Kleph has some insight?
The Aggies were unbeaten in 1956, but Bryant was wary of playing the 'Horns in Austin. In a departure from his usual tactics, he told the press that he had the better team and if his charges played up to their ability Texas had no chance.
Before the game, the Bear was playing it safe. He refused to bring his team out of the locker room until after the Longhorns had played their alma mater, The Eyes of Texas. He was not going to have his players blasted with it as they hit the field.
The kickoff was delayed five minutes until the Texas band struck up The Eyes, after which the A&M team appeared. The Aggies jumped out to a 13-0 lead and were on their way to a smashing 34-21 win.
And there's this:
This maneuvering sometimes had fascinating back stories. Ed Price resigned as the Longhorns' coach after the 1956 loss, and an early candidate for the job was a young Royal, a onetime Oklahoma quarterback/defensive back, then coaching at Washington. Royal had asked Bud Wilkinson to recommend him, and his former coach said he would. Then Royal called Bryant for an endorsement, and Bear told him, "Hell, no, Darrell. I don't want you coming in here and whipping our ass."
The Longhorns hired Royal. Later, he remembered walking across the campus with Bible, who had become athletic director, and asking how much Wilkinson's support had to do with his getting the job. "What do you mean?" said Bible. "Bud didn't call on your behalf."
Royal did a double-take. "Then who recommended me?"
Bible was surprised he didn't know. "Paul Bryant."
Royal's first team, in 1957, upset the fourth-ranked Aggies in College Station, 9-7.