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A Look Back at the UT-A&M Rivalry: Old Habits Die Hard

The rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M lives on long after the two entered different conferences. This storied history of pranks and nail-biter games, as well as steadfast support in tough times, has produced entertaining tales and lifetimes of memories.
Despite the different paths the two schools have taken, though, the rivalry hasn't gone away. In fact, it shows signs of being stronger than ever, and at least one school has shown its support for bringing back an old institution.
The Pranks
Austin and College Station are geographically close, so you can imagine the opportunities the two communities have had to joke around. Sometimes the pranks got a bit alarming, but other times they were quite funny.
Perhaps the most famous was the theft and branding of a longhorn steer from UT by the A&M gang. UT had won the latest UT-A&M game, and after that trouncing, the A&M people nabbed the steer and branded the score of the game from the previous year, which A&M had won: 13-0. To cover up the score, UT students altered it to read "BEVO," a play on the steer's old name of Bo.
Of course, poor Reveille the collie, A&M's mascot, wasn't safe from pranks either. The dog was the only Texas mascot that hadn't been swiped until 1993, when UT students spirited her away in an unbelievable feat of stealth. It took the Texas Rangers to help find the dog again; Reveille was just fine, by the way, and looking as cute as ever.
The pranks continued even after the schools parted ways in the 2010s. Rumor has it some enterprising A&M students managed to spread maroon bluebonnet seeds around the main tower and administration building at UT.
The flowers, a variety called Alamo Fire, were specially bred from a natural pink bluebonnet located in the wild near San Antonio.
The flowers at UT may not last naturally, though; the seeds often revert to a traditional dark blue, with only a fraction producing maroon flowers. In fact, gardeners who grow the Alamo Fire cultivar are cautioned to pull blue and purple plants quickly before they produce seeds.
To top it all off, someone decide to start a website called UT Rejects. It redirected to the A&M home page. Yep, this rivalry is not going away anytime soon.
The Bonfire Tragedy
Rivalry between the two schools only goes so deep, however. In 1999, A&M suffered a horrible loss when 12 students died after the A&M bonfire collapsed. Both schools had their annual pregame traditions; UT had its Hex Rally to hex A&M, and A&M built a massive bonfire.
At the UT-A&M game that same year, the halftime show was a memorial for those students who died and were injured, with both the UT and A&M bands playing tributes. The two schools may play pranks on each other, but at heart, they are all Texans.
The Southwest Conference Thanksgiving Game
One of the biggest losses for both schools when A&M left for the Southeast Conference and UT for the Big 12 was the end of the Thanksgiving football game. This game was the focal point for the rivalry, and without it, sports at the two schools just haven't been the same.
However, there is hope. UT students, at least, have voted to try to bring the game back even if it's a nonconference version. It may be several years before it happens, but with an approval vote of 97 percent, you can bet you haven't heard the end of the game. If you'd like to show your school spirit and have some branded sports equipment for either team, Mesquite Sports Center can help you out.