In the past decade, Texas hasn’t been the powerhouse it once was.
But that hasn’t stopped the Longhorns from scheduling some of the nation’s most prominent football programs.
That was apparent a week ago, when Texas announcing a scheduled home-and-home series with Alabama set for 2022-23. Those two don’t fit quite as well in the same sentence as they did when the Longhorns and Crimson Tide met for the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. But they are still the kind of marquee matchups that Texas desires.
First-year Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte detailed as much on Tuesday in a conversation with Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls.
“On the flight back from the Rio Grande Valley last night, Tom [Herman] and I talked about scheduling more iconic brands home and home. There are only about six or seven truly iconic brands,” Del Conte said, naming Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Florida and Penn State.
“We want to play an iconic team every year,” Del Conte said. “The fans want to see games like that. Those are the games Tom and I are committed to.”
To this point, Texas is well on its way to doing just that.
In 2016, Texas and Notre Dame capped a home-and-home series that the two blueblood programs split, with each winning on its home field.
In 2017, the first game of a much-anticipated home-and-home series between Texas and USC was played at Los Angeles. The Trojans prevailed in double overtime, 27-24.
The Longhorns get their chance for revenge Sept. 15 in Austin.
In 2019, Texas and LSU will begin a home-and-home series that ends in 2020. The home-and-home series with the Crimson Tide will be in 2022-23.
In 2024, Texas will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to begin a home-and-home series with Michigan, which won’t return to Austin until 2027. Those two iconic powers have met once before, with Texas claiming a 38-37 victory in the 2005 Rose Bowl.
And sandwiched in the middle to take place during the 2025 and 2026 seasons is a home-and-home series with Ohio State.
Considering Del Conte’s list of iconic programs, this leaves just Florida and Penn State for the Longhorns to schedule, potentially beginning as soon as 2028. Not to mention, recently risen powers such as Clemson, Georgia, and former powers in Florida State and Nebraska could be must-see TV, as well.
Texas’ interest isn’t limited to to just iconic programs, though. Del Conte told Bohls that months ago, he reached out to Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward to discuss a potential matchup.
“As our schedules permit, we should consider scheduling a game.” Was Woodward interested? “I didn’t get that. We never got to that point.”