I’m going to get some flak from Christmas folks, but I’m firm in my stance when I say that Thanksgiving is by far the best holiday on the calendar.
You get a little bit of everything: a day full of football, plus great time with the family, and an amazing meal.
If you know the family I come from, it makes sense why I have this opinion. Most of us have been Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns fans for the majority of our lives, and schedule our holiday dinner around our favorite football teams’ games. The main exception is my sister, who is a proud Texas Aggie and graduate of Texas A&M.
When it’s time for the first kickoff, we scurry to find a seat in front of the TV for the annual Dallas Cowboys’ afternoon game. It arrives at the perfect time because we always have to battle windy and rainy conditions during the preceding hours of meal prep.
For years, we ate dinner at halftime, and changed the channel to the historic Texas vs. Texas A&M rivalry renewal after the Cowboys’ game. That was until a decade ago.
Our tradition was first altered by A&M’s move from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference after the 2011-2012 school year. That caused the rivalry’s indefinite hiatus.
Then, in 2012 and 2013, we ate an early feast, so I could attend the first two games of the Longhorns’ temporary and rotating Thanksgiving series with TCU and Texas Tech as a UT student.
In 2014 and 2015, I returned home and watched the Horns’ final two holiday games against the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders.
Not long after I graduated from Texas, the Longhorns took a break from Thanksgiving competition, and there has been no Cowboy/Longhorn football double-header since.
Yes, the Cowboys still play on Thanksgiving, and we continue to tune in to their holiday contests. But, the Longhorns are nowhere to be found on our Thanksgiving TV guide. Unless, you count the rebroadcasts of the 2011 game on Longhorn Network.
We’ve tuned in to a couple of the replays over the years. But, as much as we enjoy reliving the memorable night when Texas earned a win in the 118th edition of the Lone Star Showdown, and as exciting as Justin Tucker’s game-winning kick was in wrapping up the first iteration of the football series, we can all agree it’s not the same as a live meeting.
That all changed this summer. We started to see some light at the end of the tunnel as the search continued for the next chapter of the series.
That brings us to today. The in-state rivalry won’t feature a football game for a 10th straight season, but this Thanksgiving feels different than the previous nine. We now know that the rivalry will return some time in the next four years.
We don’t have the uncertainty about whether the schools’ football teams would ever face off again because the world found out in July that The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma would join the SEC by 2025, and reunite with former conference foe Texas A&M.
While we’re still waiting to hear the official restart date of the rivalry, I’d rather be in the position we are today because we definitely have something to look forward.
Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!