Horns Vs. Aggies: Feel The Love

It’s been called everything from a ‘backyard brawl’ to a ‘clash of cultures‘. And supporters of both schools have called each other things that cannot be repeated here.

But, as to be expected on the cusp of Friday’s nationally-televised game of college football’s third oldest rivalry (109th meeting), Texas head coach Mack Brown and Texas A&M head coach R. C. Slocum are whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears.

Texas is No. 10 in both polls and 9-2 in a season where national title expectations for the program were at a three-decade high. The Aggies are 6-5 in a season where its supporters expected anything but that.

Gentlemen, start your coach-speak.

"R.C. is doing a great job," Brown said. "They’ve had some fourth quarter losses, but that’s what more teams are coming down to these days. Nine of the 12 teams in the Big 12 are bowl eligible. They’ve had a lot of injuries, and we’ve had a lot of injuries. Hopefully, everybody will be well and we’ll have a great game on Friday."

The Aggies suffered an overtime loss to Texas Tech after missing two PATS, fell to Nebraska after building a 17-point second-half lead, dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass in the end zone against Oklahoma State, and, most recently, lost in double-over to Missouri on November 16. Four of five A&M losses have been at home.

"They are a much better team than their 6-5 record indicates," Brown said. "Their offense is playing so much better than it did early in the year. Their season has come down to two or three plays at end of the game. But those guys keep coming back and they did a great job of beating OU. You can have a 6-5 record and still be a good team."

Not to be snide, but one almost needs a shot of insulin after all the sugar Slocum poured onto Brown’s bunch.

"There’s no question they have an outstanding football team," Slocum said. "They’re a very talented team in every phase of the game. They are well coached, they have a good scheme offensively and defensively, and they have played well this year. They’ve played 11 games and have won nine. In college football, that’s a heckuva record. They have an experienced quarterback, an array of excellent receivers, and a good offensive line. I see their defense as a very athletic team with a lot of speed. I know this will be a challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to that challenge."

Both schools are coming off a bye week following stunning losses.

"Our guys haven’t lost much so they take it hard when they lose," Brown said. "Usually they play really well after a loss when they bounce back. Both teams have something to prove on Friday. That’s why I think it will be such a great game."

Although overshadowed by the Oklahoma series as of late, the outcome of Friday’s game remains pivotal for recruiting purposes.

"With the media as visible as it is in programs like ours, and with the Internet as visible as it is to our prospects, and with all these Internet services having the opportunity to call recruits, it’s important that we keep our momentum," Brown said. "We lost some at Tech last week, and we’ve got to try get it back."

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