Times are changing for Red Raiders as Texas moves to SEC

Sometimes, it’s just better to move on and quit clinging to the past. Saturday, the Texas Tech football team will host the Texas Longhorns in what could be the final ever meeting between these two in-state programs and what will almost certainly be the final edition of this series to be played in Lubbock. But when this series does eventually end, will it really make that big of a difference?

Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to see these long-time conference foes square off.  But the reality is that dealing with all the drama and back-stabbing that comes as part of a relationship with the Longhorns isn’t worth the effort.  Remember, they killed any hopes of a Big 12 network, a move that could have held together the conference as we knew it from its inception so that they could have their own television network.

Now, over the past two weeks, quite a bit has been made about how the Longhorns and specifically their slippery athletic director Chris Del Conte appear to be reneging on a verbal agreement with Tech to keep this series alive on an annual basis for the next 20-25 years.  The reported about-face by the powers that be in burnt orange has caused quite a bit of consternation from the Red Raider side of the equation.

“As I’ve talked to my counterpart at the University of Texas,” Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt told Don Williams of the Avalanche-Journal, “while all the right things have been communicated to me, it’s concerning that in the last couple of weeks I’ve heard from individuals in Dallas, in Fort Worth and in Midland that there’s different things being said from those folks representing the University of Texas and that a scheduling alliance against Texas Tech is not going to happen.”

How is anyone, especially someone as smart as Hocutt, naive enough to take the Texas Longhorns at their word?  How did anyone on the Texas Tech side of this situation ever think that a verbal agreement from the nation’s most arrogant and untrustworthy university would hold up?  That’s like expecting a woman of ill-repute to honor her marriage vows.

The reality is that Texas doesn’t want or need to keep playing Texas Tech.  The matchup is to them nothing more than an inconvenience.  It isn’t considered a rivalry in Austin and with UT’s move to the SEC, Texas will have the Sooners, the Aggies, and the Razorbacks to keep as traditional rivals.

It might not be fun to admit it but the reality is that there is no benefit for the Longhorns in playing Texas Tech.  Win and you’ve only done what the entire nation thinks you should.  Lose and it’s a source of humiliation for your program.

Thus, the only reason Texas would continue playing the Red Raiders would be out of charity.  That’s why Tech should simply let this series die on the vine.  After all, who wants to continue to rely on the table scraps of the Longhorns?  Texas Tech should not relegate itself to the role of the helpless baby bird sitting in the nest chirping and waiting to be fed.

Tech football hasn’t ceased to exist after the end of the rivalry with Texas A&M, a series that was far more fun and lightyears more competitive than the series with UT ever was.  In fact, many, myself included, don’t really miss having to deal with the Aggie fan base on a yearly basis.

What’s more, the absence of Texas from the schedule isn’t going to mean there is no one else for Tech fans to detest.  Rather, it is more likely that the series with Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor, and Houston will grow more intense and will help to give us an outlet for our sports hate.

To put it simply, trying to maintain any semblance of a relationship with the Longhorns is a fool’s errand.  It’s just going to lead to more broken promises and hurt feelings but only on Tech’s side of the bed.

Like the old Bob Dylan song says, “The times, they are a-changin'” and the best course of action for Texas Tech is to change with them.  For decades, Red Raider fans have bemoaned the fact that our university is in Texas’ shadow.  Now, that won’t be the case anymore and Tech will be free to create a new identity with new rivals and new history to be made.

Like the haughty sorority girl who looks down upon every one that isn’t in her parents’ tax bracket, UT isn’t worth the effort of being in any sort of relationship with.  They don’t define Texas Tech athletics and they shouldn’t have the type of power over the leadership of Tech that it appears they do.

Hocutt and Texas Tech University President, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec should stop trying to broker back-room deals.  They must not try to beg politicians at the highest reaches of the state government to try to force the Longhorns into an annual series.  Such moves reek of desperation and make Texas Tech look like some sort of jilted lover.

Rather, they should learn from Dylan’s 1989 classic song:

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times, they are a-changin’

Change in life is inevitable and soon, the end of the Texas Tech football series with Texas will be too.  And that’s OK.  Life in West Texas will go on without the Longhorns and who knows, we might just find that being rid of any connection to the nation’s biggest diva is what Texas Tech has needed all along.

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