The long-anticiapted move of this year's Texas-Texas A&M football game to Thanksgiving night became offical today, when representatives from the competing schools and ESPN announced the move.
The move is part of a two-year agreement with ESPN that includes the teams' 2009 game, which also will be played on Thanksgiving night. This year's game is in Austin. The 2009 game is in College Station.
It marks the first time since 1993 that the Longhorns and Aggies have played on Thanksgiving, their traditional date for a season-ending showdown. During the first 12 years of the Big 12 era, the teams have played on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In announcing the move, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said he was "thrilled" by the decision and praised officials at ESPN and within the Big 12 conference for allowing it to happen. Texas officials also praised the move, with coach Mack Brown noting that the move to Thursday would allow an extra day for either of the teams to prepare for a berth in the Big 12 championship game, played the week after the A&M-Texas rivalry, should either school qualify.
From a Big 12 standpoint, the move adds another national telecast to its Thanksgiving weekend series of contests.
Under the existing TV agreements with the Big 12, the ESPN networks (ESPN and ESPN2) can televise seven Big 12-controlled contests each year, with games to be played on Thursday or Saturday. The Texas-Texas A&M game is one of two contests announced for the 2008 season. The other is the West Virginia-Colorado game, to be played on Thursday, Sept. 18 in Boulder, Colo.
_ Jimmy Burch