When Texas A&M bolted the Big 12 for the SEC, a scorned University of Texas made it clear it'd make no room on its schedule to continue one of the best rivalries in college football.
So a more than 100-year rivalry is dead — perhaps forever.
Thankfully, the University of Houston and Rice University are showing that such pettiness doesn't have to be standard operating procedure. For the Cougars and the Owls will continue their city rivalry after UH leaves Conference USA for the Big East in 2013.
The University of Houston and Rice University are showing that pettiness doesn't have to be standard operating procedure in college football.
The two schools have come to an agreement to play their annual Bayou Bucket game in 2013 at Reliant Stadium even though they'll be in different conferences with the Cougars electing to move on up to a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference. Imagine that.
"It has always been our goal to do everything that we can to maintain the Bayou Bucket series,” Rice athletic director Rick Greenspan said in a statement. “It’s obvious how much this game means to the players on both teams and we need to continue to make sure that future generations of Owls and Cougars will have the same opportunity to win the Bucket."
While Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and A&M athletic director Bill Byrne seemed to do everything they could to butt heads (with Dodds being particularly stubborn on no chance of a Longhorns-Aggies game), Greenspan and his University of Houston counterpart Mack Rhoades worked together to keep their schools' rivalry alive.
Rice even agreed to move an already-scheduled game with Louisiana Tech in order to keep playing the Cougars in 2013.
Before it's move to the Big East was official, UH and Rice officials agreed to move their annual game to Reliant Stadium in 2012 in an attempt to better promote the rivalry in the city (UH holds an all-time 27-11 edge in a series that dates back to 1971). The Cougars and Owls will play Sept. 29 at Reliant this year. The 2013 Reliant date has not been set yet.
But there will be a game. Despite the University of Houston leaving the conference. Because some grown men worked it out. Who knew that needn't be a foreign concept in college football?
"(We) appreciate the efforts of everyone involved," Rhoades said.