Aggies get last laugh, win show down title

Four years ago, many laughed at the idea of A&M winning the season title. Why on earth did Bill Byrne want to keep score of all the annual sports? But after claiming their first season title, A&M is able to have the last laugh.

When Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne approached the University of Texas with the idea for the State Farm Lone Star Showdown, some members of the media laughed at the notion that A&M would be able to compete with the Longhorns.

Just last week, as the Aggies' first Lone Star Showdown title seemed eminent, one of those pundits wrote a preemptive column, admitting his mistake, but he still took a few shots at A&M's program, including quotes from Texas athletic director Deloss Dodds that implied it wasn't a big deal to Texas.

But make no mistake, it's a big deal to Byrne.

"I am very proud of the way all of our teams have competed all year," A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said. "There is no doubt our rivalry with Texas has pushed us to get better. They've had success for quite some time and we've had to elevate our program in order to compete."

The Aggies racked up four of their 10.5 points from the success of Pat Henry's track and field program, but they also picked up several points from the sports that people care about most as well—including football.

A&M picked up two full points thanks to the 38-30 win at Kyle Field and a season sweep of the women's basketball series. A&M also won a half point with the fourth consecutive win at Reed Arena against Texas in men's basketball, and was favored to pick up the point in baseball heading into this weekend's series against the Horns.

And while winning the season title for the first time is a big deal for Byrne and the A&M athletic program, it will not be the last. The Aggies should continue to be competitive in the sports they won, while they continue to improve in many of the sports that they did not win.

That's the success of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown. It's given A&M a solid benchmark to work towards, and as the Aggies' various programs have risen above the Longhorns, they've also risen in the national rankings.

The Aggies have four teams currently ranked in the top-10 in the nation, three of which—softball and both track and field programs—are in the top five, and they have won a conference-best eight Big 12 championships this year with a possible baseball conference tournament championship still to play for this week in Oklahoma City.

That's why Byrne wanted to turn his idea into reality.

"I think it is good for the entire state of Texas to have two excellent institutions such as Texas A&M and Texas having success in intercollegiate athletics and we appreciate the support of State Farm as a sponsor to help put more of a spotlight on our competitions throughout the year."

How the Aggies did it
10/12/07 Soccer - Texas A&M +1
10/26/07 Big 12 Women's Cross Country Championships - Texas A&M +1
11/23/07 Football - Texas A&M +1
1/30/08 Men's Basketball - Texas A&M +.5
2/2/08 Women's Swimming & Diving - Texas A&M +1
2/9/08 Women's Basketball - Texas A&M +.5
2/24/08 Women's Basketball - Texas A&M +.5
2/29-3/1/08 Big 12 Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships - Texas A&M +1
4/9/08 Softball - Texas A&M +.5
4/25-27/08 Big 12 Women's Golf Championships Stillwater, Okla. Texas A&M +1
4/30/08 Softball - Texas A&M +.5
5/16-18/08 Big 12 Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championships - Texas A&M +1
5/16-18/08 Big 12 Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships - Texas A&M +1
Total Score - Texas A&M, 10.5, Texas 8.5

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