For Brown, A&M Is All That Matters

For Texas coach Mack Brown, the initials that matter most this week are not BCS but A&M.

While the Horns still have an outside shot as a BCS at-large team, Brown wants the eyes of his Texas team focused entirely on in-state foe Texas A&M. The ancient rivals kickoff for the 111th time, 2:30 p.m., Friday, at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

"Our game with A&M is more important than the BCS for us right now," Brown said. "If we lose the game, the BCS isn't an issue. There's still plenty of time after our game for BCS talk. Our team needs to be excited about our rival game with A&M. They're very improved and we need to play well to win. So, we're not going to talk about BCS; we're going to talk about A&M."

At No. 22 in both polls, the Aggies take a national ranking into the Texas game for the first time since 2001. Surprisingly, Friday's game marks just the 10th time in series history that both squads enter the contest with a national ranking.

"A lot of guys came to Texas to play in this game. It's the only national TV game of the year for us, for sure, with ABC. It's a game where (players) have to live with fans of both schools because they live in their neighborhoods. They've played with most of the kids at A&M, so they know them."

The Horns have posted a 7-3 mark in the series since 1994, have won four straight, and rolled last year in College Station, 46-15.

"(Texas players) understand that A&M is much improved," Brown added. "A&M is coming in here with a lot to gain if they win so this game is more important than the BCS is for us."

Should Texas fall to the Aggies, the Horns will likely play in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Brown speculated. The Big 10 opponent is projected as Ohio State following the Buckeyes upset over Michigan this past Saturday. Brown's biggest task this week, however, may be to keep his team's attention on the improved Aggies and not be as concerned with BCS talk. Despite his efforts, it's something he admits he failed to do not only last season but also leading up to the near disastrous win at Kansas on November 13.

"I thought there were some distractions around the Kansas game and my job is to make sure there aren't," Brown said. "Last year we were fifth in the country and didn't get in the BCS. I want us to be the best team we can be, and I don't want what might happen out there because of the system to hurt our football team. Last year, we allowed it to, me included, after the A&M game. We're not going to do that this year. We're just going to keep playing."

Brown has previously said that university presidents are adamant against using BCS ratings to seed teams for a three-week playoff. They won't listen to head coaches, Brown said, so it may be time for fans to become more vocal if they are dissatisfied with the current system.

"What college fans should do is continue to assess the BCS," Brown said. "They pay for college football. If it's not best then I think they should be heard from. That's what I really believe."

Brown has also referenced the brawl that erupted this past weekend at both the Clemson-South Carolina and Indiana-Detroit games when preparing his squad for the Aggies.

"There's no place for that. It's dangerous, it looks bad, and I don't think coach (Lou) Holtz or Tommy Bowden could have done anything different than what they did. If a fight does break out, all you can do is try to separate them. But there's no place for it. (A&M) is disciplined and they do a good job with their program. I'm sure he (Coach Dennis Franchione) is talking about it with his (team) about it today, too. As bad as it is for sports, it's good for us to be able to use it and to teach because it's all on TV. There will be some assault charges to possibly come out of it, too, so they need to understand this is bigger than some kids pushing and shoving. Normally, football players aren't going to hurt each other when they push and shove because they've got their helmets and uniforms on. But they also need to understand that we can not ever get to a point where fans and athletes start mixing it up because that's really dangerous. We've gone over the line when that happens."

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