Bill filed to revive college football rivalry lost to conference hopping

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29 2013 10:00 a.m. MST

Utah Utes wide receiver Dres Anderson (6) celebrates his touchdown as Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Preston Hadley (7) walks away as the University of Utah and BYU play football Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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The changing landscape of college football has led to many teams forgoing longstanding rivalries in order to join new conferences — much to the disappointment of fans.

Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC last season, which led to the end of its annual football game against rival Texas. The two schools have faced each other 118 times since 1894. A&M grad and Texas state Rep. Ryan Guillen introduced legislation earlier this week that would require the two teams to play an annual nonconference, regular-season game.

"This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbecue," Guillen said in a statement to ESPN. "The purpose of this bill is to put the 'eyes of Texas upon' our two greatest state universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition."

If the bill passes it could set a precedent for similar legislation in other states that have lost rivalry games due to conference-hopping, including in Utah. In the wake of the University of Utah joining the Pac-12 and BYU going independent starting in 2011, the annual rivalry game between those schools will go on a two-year hiatus during the 2014 and 2015 seasons before returning for the 2016 season.

"BYU not playing Utah, to me that's a major mistake," the Deseret News reported former Ute coach Urban Meyer as saying said in 2012. "You have a lot of former players, student bodies, alumni, that's part of their heritage."

Read more about House Bill 788 on ESPN.

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