Texas A&M's first football game with Texas will be at Kyle Field

Texas A&M’s first football game with Texas will be at Kyle Field

DESTINY, Fla. — Texas A&M doesn’t know what year it will renew its celebrated football rivalry with Texas. No later than 2025 but perhaps 2024. The Aggies know exactly where the game will be, however.

“I can’t imagine the atmosphere when that game is played,” A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told the Chronicle on Thursday during the SEC spring meetings. “And it will be played at Kyle Field.”

The last meeting between the Aggies and Longhorns also was played at College Station in 2011. Bjork said the old schedule has no bearing on what he dubbed a “new day” — Texas and Oklahoma joining the Southeastern Conference officially by July 1, 2025, but maybe a year sooner.

“It’s a whole new day, it’s a whole new league, and it’s a whole new format,” Bjork said of A&M hosting the first game with its old Southwest Conference and Big 12 rival and therefore playing consecutive games at Kyle Field. “That’s something that’s important to us.”

STORY FIRE: Jimbo Fisher big on renewal of A&M-Texas football rivalry

As a league newbie along with the Sooners, the Longhorns don’t really have a say in the league’s early scheduling anyway, Bjork added.

“They realize they’re going to be very, very happy to be in the SEC, and that’s why they made the move,” Bjork said. “They’ll take whatever (they can get) … and they don’t have a vote in the process. It’s only current membership.”

He added that UT athletic director Chris Del Conte and OU athletic director Joe Castiglione have been a part — from afar — of some of the SEC’s spring meetings taking place this week.

“They know the models being discussed,” Bjork added of whether the SEC chooses a nine-game or eight-game league schedule when it becomes a 16-member conference. (But) they don’t (officially) have a vote until July 1, 2025.”

Unless, of course, they join the SEC a year sooner, but the current 14 members will have voted on the upcoming schedules by then anyway.

So A&M fans can expect a home game in the renewing of the rivalry, and UT fans can expect a short road trip on what’s expected to again be a Thanksgiving weekend wrap-up to the regular season.

“The atmosphere will be indescribable right now in terms of how many people are going to watch, how many people are going to try and get tickets to that game, how many people will have standing-room-only tickets,” Bjork said. “It’s going to be an epic rematch of a great rivalry, and whenever it happens, Kyle Field will be the place.”

UT leads the all-time series 76-37-5. Texas on Thursday declined comment on Bjork’s assertion that A&M will host consecutive games in the series.

Bjork also said A&M since last year has been in favor of a future scheduling model that allows the Aggies and the other 15 members — when UT and OU join — the chance to have more than one annual rival.

Two models are left standing as the SEC spring meetings wind down this week: playing nine league games every year with three permanent rivals — which appears to be the favorite — or sticking with the current eight league games with a lone permanent rival. Neither scenario remaining includes divisions like the current format of West and East.

“We’ve got some questions still to answer,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in making the final call on future scheduling. “We’ve got more work to do.”

In the nine-game format, six foes would rotate in four-year cycles. In the eight-game setup, seven foes would rotate in four-year cycles.

“When the (announcement of) expansion happened last summer, we knew that scheduling formats and the College Football Playoff were swirling around at that time,” Bjork said. “To us, the more SEC content that we can have, the most valuable. We’ve been a proponent of nine games really since the beginning and even actually brought up 10 games last August.”

The Aggies under coach Jimbo Fisher own fond memories of playing more than eight league games in a year, having finished 9-1 in 2020 during the pandemic-tightened season. They played nine SEC games, with their only loss at eventual national champion Alabama, and defeated North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. The Aggies’ No. 4 ranking in the final Associated Press poll marked their highest finish since winning the national title in 1939.

“If you look at TV ratings, fan experience, stadiums, leading the country in attendance, leading in the highest-rated TV games — people crave SEC contests,” Bjork said.

He added that a man from New York in a Hilton Sandestin coffee shop Thursday morning had no idea the SEC spring meetings were being held at the hotel but was thrilled to find out as much.

“There’s nothing like SEC football,” Bjork said the stranger told him. “That’s all I watch.”

Bjork said he anticipates the CFP expanding from its current four teams to eight, 12 or even 16 — perhaps following the 2026 season, also helping the nine-team SEC model moving forward.

He said that under the eight-game format, UT and OU would plan to be permanent rivals, and A&M would be paired with LSU. The nine-game schedule allows the Aggies to play Texas, LSU and perhaps a program like Arkansas, an old SWC foe, every season.

“That way we would ensure that we play Texas every year. So we’re embracing that, and we want to move forward on that,” Bjork said. “The eight-game model does not accomplish all the things I just described.”

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