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Joey Condon


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The Spark of Rivalry: Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference Vs LSU Tigers

In January, 2011, Texas A&M faced down the LSU Tigers in the 75th Cotton Bowl Classic. This date sparked an incessant competition between two nationally recognized universities, and likely served as a primary influence for Texas A&M’s decision to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

On June 7th, 2012, Former Coach Jackie Sherrill came forward and announced that Texas A&M and LSU could become a featured Thanksgiving football game. This event would only further in solidifying the recently developed competitive enmity, perhaps eventually filling the hole left by the Texas A&M/Texas rivalry. It would also serve as an opportunity for A&M to assimilate smoothly into the SEC, establishing themselves as a serious competitor within the division capable of bringing in revenue and publicity.

Football within the SEC, while the primary reason for Texas A&M’s transference to the SEC, is hardly the only aspect of comparison between universities and rarely serves as a measure of a University’s repute. So, in the spirit of a potential rivalry, an assessment of Texas A&M and LSU’s university backgrounds is in order.

The history of the University of Texas A&M is most likely familiar with any and all university students or alumni, and probably somewhat familiar with Bryan/College Station locals. But a quick recap might be in order.

Texas A&M opened on October 4th, 1876 as the first public institution of higher education in the state of Texas as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Initially a military university, Texas A&M disintegrated in the 1960s under the leadership of President James Earl Rudder to become a coeducational university, limiting military education to the Corps of Cadets. The main campus of A&M is one of the largest in America.

Louisiana State University was founded in 1853 (almost 25 years before Texas A&M) under the name of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy in Pineville, LA. The current LSU campus, however, was dedicated in 1926 in Baton Rouge, LA consisting of 250 buildings. LSU’s campus is also a university rich in history and tradition, maintaining the position as the largest institution of higher education within the state of Louisiana, with over 24,000 current undergraduates.

LSU’s football team was founded in 1893 (one year before Texas A&M’s team), winning their first national championship in 1958, and then two more in the 2003 and 2007 NCAA football seasons. These statistics seem to overshadow A&M’s national title list, consisting of one national victory in 1939.

However, while the Tigers outrank the Aggies on the football field, the rankings favor the Aggies in the classroom. According to the 2012 US News and World Report rankings of public universities, LSU placed 63rd while Texas A&M ranked 19th. Among all national universities, LSU ranked 128th, while A&M landed at 58th. However, LSU has a glamour appeal: their purple and gold Mardi Gras colors alongside a popularity ranking of 16th in the nation provide a considerable amount of national recognition in areas outside of educational prestige. Texas A&M, in rebuttal, was hailed as the 2nd most likely university to “help students land a job in key careers and professions” according to the Wall Street Journal.

As far as LSU’s traditions are concerned, the university’s unique culture is most richly embedded in their athletics. The Louisiana State University has managed to rack up a list of recognized rivals, ranging from the Arkansas Razorbacks to Alabama’s Crimson Tide, all the way to the Gators in Florida. Surely an additional name to this trophy list won’t faze their aggressive agenda.

Texas A&M, on the other hand, has a long lasting culture of carrying out traditions in a variety of fields. From Elephant Walk to Aggie Muster, Yell Leaders and Chants to the Aggie Ring, Texas A&M is a University tied together by a lasting sense of tradition and family-like unity. Their long-standing rival in NCAA football, the Texas Longhorns, has been the center of Athletic competition for over one hundred years: a convention that has suffered an abrupt conclusion with the departure of Texas A&M from the Big 12 division. However, the higher level of athletic competition in the SEC is a factor that, despite the loss of one long-standing custom, holds the promise of developing new traditions.

Aggie history and tradition have been foundational to the success and character of Texas A&M University as we hold it today. And the transition from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference will be a shift to mark in the history of this immense institution. By understanding Texas A&M’s future competition in conference athletics, there opens up the exciting possibilities of new adventures, understandings, and developments across the Southeastern universities of the United States.

Aggie competition in SEC athletics starts in July, 2012. Let the games begin. Who do YOU think will win?


PS – Susan Hilton is Bryan College Station, Texas’ real estate specialist in foreclosure sales and real estate agent career building so if you need help –

CALL!             979-219-3970

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