Last Modified: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 9:27 PM
College Station, proud home to the Texas A&M Aggies, is kind of like Starkville, Miss., with fewer overalls and a lot more bayonets.
But LSU seems excited about the prospect of visiting the Aggies every other year, anyway.
High khaki culture aside, it is fairly convenient for LSU fans to get there — as long as kickoff is at a decent hour. It’s not this year — it’s a Bloody Mary 11 a.m. kickoff, always a challenge for Tigers and Tiger fans alike.
But there does seem to be a certain buzz in the air about LSU getting to find out what all this SEC expansion talk is about with something different with the newest SEC member.
New? More like something borrowed.
This will be the 51st time LSU and A&M have played (LSU leads 27-20-3). True, it’s the first SEC game.
But, for reference, LSU has played Auburn 47 times, even if you count whatever off-brand game it was the Tigers played there this year.
The Tigers have fought the Aggies more times than they’ve played five of the seven SEC East schools, everybody but Florida (59) and Kentucky (56).
LSU and Georgia are charter members of the SEC, and they’ve only played 29 times, and it would be 26 but for a trio of SEC championship games.
So it would seem the Tigers and Aggies won’t to have to waste much time getting a semi-good rivalry going. Perhaps we will all be spared the embarrassment of another Boot, the silly monstrosity of a trophy that Arkansas (yes, it was the Hogs’ idea) invented to force-feed that game into a rivalry that still hasn’t quite blossomed into any kind of real hatred.
The Tigers in the SEC, like tigers in the jungle, really have no natural rival, just a lot of big games.
But Texas A&M works as good as any, if for no other reason than the two schools often feed in the same fertile recruiting grounds.
LSU has long made talent raids into Texas, particularly the Houston area, and the Aggies are no strangers to Louisiana.
LSU head coach Les Miles somewhat dismissed the effect of the now-SEC Aggies returning the favor when he said, “In this state there’s a great loyalty for these Tigers.”
By that we must presume that the Aggies have a lot of LSU leftovers.
The A&M two-deep chart lists five Louisiana starters and three more backups, including starting safety Deshazor Everett of DeRidder and backup defensive tackle Ivan Robinson of South Beauregard.
But the recruiting battles will be fought mostly in the Internet chat rooms and are really too boring to warrant our attention here.
This could be fun on more tangible levels.
While A&M clings to its canonry and muskets and corps-precision marching band, LSU (the former Ole War Skule) has pretty well outgrown its military roots.
As one LSU official said while watching the khaki band during LSU’s last football visit in 1995:
“That’s the difference in the two schools. They play war hymns. Our band plays the theme from the ‘The Jetsons.’”
But it could still work.
Houston has long been an LSU alumni stronghold — the reservoir for a lot of Louisiana’s brain drain — while there are many, many Aggies living amongst us in relative peace in south Louisiana.
A&M was well down the pecking order when LSU fans wondered who to worry about in those odd moments they weren’t thinking about Alabama this summer.
But with so many natural rivalry pieces already in place, there is potential, however.
They played every year from 1960 to 1975 — every one of those years in Baton Rouge, for some reason, some reason that should have gotten somebody at A&M fired. LSU dominated then, before it was resumed as a fair-fight, home-and-home series in 1986.
That lasted 10 years before LSU (not so gracefully) begged out of the series, blaming it on SEC expansion (and not the fact that the Aggies won the last five after LSU won four of the first five).
Since then there was occasional idle chatter about maybe a neutral-site game, alternating between Houston and the Superdome, but it never really got to the serious dickering. The series festered until the Cotton Bowl got them together in JerryWorld for a 41-24 LSU shellacking that wasn’t really that close.
The Aggies joined the SEC anyway.
So now there’s talk of giving the rivalry another boost when the SEC finally figures out a doable permanent schedule for a 14-team, two-division league (soon, the league says, real soon; they’re working on it).
A&M could replace Arkansas as LSU’s regular-season finale around Thanksgiving.
This would also allow Arkansas, they say, to work out a real rivalry with Missouri that weekend.
(Note to Mizzou: If the Razorbacks mention gold-plated footwear, cut off the discussions).
But maybe it would work.
If nothing else, LSU would avoid Arkansas weather in late November. The last few trips to Little Rock have been dang near tropical — hey, global warming works! — but all too often the state is only accessible by dog sled that weekend.
Still, when old-time LSU fans think of playing A&M, they mostly think of opening the season. That’s the way it was for most of its long history.
Also, the Aggies, as much as they act like they’re in the SEC now just so they can ignore the Texas Longhorns, may one day have a change of heart. They might one day want to play that game again, just as Florida (Florida State), South Carolina (Clemson) and Georgia (Georgia Tech) play big in-state, nonconference rivals on that weekend.
But if they’re going to do something special with LSU-Texas A&M, it needs to either start the season or finish it. It doesn’t need to get lost as a run-up to the Alabama game.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com