Rivalries. They are as essential to college football as tailgating and body paint in your team’s colors. Each season we see animosity between teams renewed when two schools collide for conference supremacy, a trophy, or just plain ol’ bragging rights.
Ancient rivalry game such as Michigan vs. Ohio State and Harvard vs. Princeton are some of the classic examples of rivalries while new ones such as Houston vs. Memphis and South Florida vs. Central Florida are developing their own place in college football lore.
These rivalry games split families, communities, areas and states and rile up fans, providing the charm of college football.
With Texas State transitioning from FCS to FBS play in 2012 we left behind familiar conference foes in favor of greener pa$tures. Now as a Texas State alum I’ve always felt like we were always missing a proper rival. That being said I’m going to take a look at who can be the Moriarty to our Holmes, the Jay-Z to our Nas or the Jerry to our Tom.
Series Record: 1-0 UTSA
First Meeting: 2012
Last Meeting: 2012
The only active rivalry that Texas State has lies 50 miles south of San Marcos in the form of the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners. Since 1991 Texas State and UTSA have had an intercollegiate series known as the I-35 Maroon/Orange Rivalry. Since 1991 both schools battled annually starting with just men’s basketball before expanding to every sport in 2007 (sans football) to determine the winner of the trophy.
Naturally when UTSA fielded a team and joined the WAC in 2012 along with Texas State a new gridiron tradition was born and a new sport added to the trophy. They played their only meeting in front of the WAC’s biggest attended game in 2012 with UTSA pulling out a 38-31 victory in front of a packed Alamodome. After that the WAC disbanded and like the band Journey went their separate ways. But wait, there is hope for this heated rivalry. UTSA and State agreed to an eight-game series starting in 2017.
Series Record: 2-1 Georgia Southern
First Meeting: 2005
Last Meeting: 2015
A Sun Belt foe Texas State first met in a 50-35 win during the 2005 I-AA playoffs, the Eagles have notched two wins over the Bobcats since both schools joined the Sun Belt conference. I honestly always felt in my gut since that 2005 game that Georgia Southern could be a distant cousin of a rival. For me it was that triple-option offense and archaic numbers-on-the-helmet uniforms that bothered me during that playoff game. No team outside of Sam Houston State had irked me as a Texas State fan like that before. But now in 2017 Texas State is a conference foe of Georgia Southern and in a 0-2 series hole.
Gone is my disgust for an option offense and plain uniforms and more of an appreciation of a rivalry with a team trying to find footing just like Texas State in the same potentially volatile conference where anything can happen. After a 2016 hiatus the two teams meet again in 2017.
Series Record: 29-7-2 North Texas
First Meeting: 1915
Last Meeting: 1994
An old foe of the Lone Star and Southland conference these two met off and on for about 80 years. But of course conference realignments and I-A promotions and then demotions and then promotions again derailed any meetings between the two. But besides residing in the same state, why would this be a good rivalry? As the two schools have a connection to the 1991 movie Necessary Roughness they could play for an armadillo trophy.
In the film the fictional Texas State Armadillos utilized the North Texas facilities and colors and even played the Bobcats in a game in the movie when the ‘Cats were known as Southwest Texas State. Those intertwined interactions should warrant a rivalry series alone.
Series record: 9-4 ULM
First Meeting: 1986
Last Meeting: 2016
The Bobcats and Warhawks have a few things in common. Both former Southland Conference foes were once known as different schools as Northeast Louisiana and Southwest Texas State. Both schools changed their names to their current labels in 1999 and 2003, respectively. Maroon and gold, albeit different shades, are both of the schools’ colors. Lastly the football programs have second year coaches looking to raise the prestige of each of their programs. The 2016 match up was Texas State’s second most exciting game of the year as they fell short in a near comeback loss 40-34.
Texas State had three Southland conference rivals in Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State. The Colonels of Nicholls State had a rivalry game with Texas State known as the “Battle for the Paddle”, which later ended when the Bobcats left for the FBS. A hotly contested trophy match with a Louisiana foe, especially a familiar one, would be a highlight in any season.
Any number of opponents could be a good rival for Texas State. Old conference rivals from the Lone Star or Southland just for the sheer nostalgic feel, Tulane because they upset Texas State’s bid for 2017’s #1 party school, or even Texas Tech because after their multiple blow outs of Texas State, Bobcat fans are due for some sweet revenge.
Of all the match ups I’m a big fan of the UTSA rivalry. While the unnecessary roughness previously displayed in physical confrontations between fans in the Alamodome bathrooms is downright childish, the aggressive shouting matches encompass the passion that Texas State needs to find in a potential rival.