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Goodbye Stranger
10:05 A.M., THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2011

Baylor will reach the halfway point of the football season on Saturday with their first in-state away game. A season that has tantalized BU fans and still promises to be as celebrated as any in recent memory could reach its apex in week six.

The frustration, confusion, bitterness and hostility that have been brewing between Baylor and Texas A&M over conference realignment will finally reach a boiling point this weekend. The two schools, separated by a mere 90 miles and connected by a non-descript Texas highway, have a long-standing football tradition as deep as the state's lineage to the sport itself.

Baylor and A&M have faced off 107 times. That's nearly six generations of fathers, grandaddys and great granpa's donning green and gold or maroon and white and continuing a family legacy that likely splits loyalties across family trees.

Baylor and A&M.

Schools both committed to their conservative upbringings that harness Texas values, tradition and uniqueness.

Baylor and A&M.

Institutions both nationally-recognized that continue to uphold a strong tradition of academic excellence.

Baylor and A&M.

Universities that, despite losing seasons or dark eras and have maintained strong football traditions for over a full century.

Baylor and A&M.

Both schools hate the Longhorns.

Though neither fan base would like to admit, BU and A&M are two schools with a lot in common. True, fans of the two schools may not like each other, heck the schools themselves may not care much for each other now, but we both love our rivalry.

And now, for a variety of reasons I'm limited to discussing on this forum, the rivalry is set to expire.

We won't know if this is the very last time these two teams will lock horns. What we do know is, with the Aggies leaving for the SEC starting next year, this will, without question, be the last meeting between the two schools for a long time.

Coincidentally, the Bears and Aggies will tangle as ranked teams for the first time in 20 years and for only the seventh time in series history. Add this to the school's soon-to-expire basketball rivalry which has recently escalated and been redefined on a national level and we have the perfect formula for a massive letdown for fans in Waco and College Station alike.

80 thousand or so fortunate souls will eyewitness the action from Kyle Field on Saturday. They're likely to see a history-making offensive spectacle that could last into the late afternoon despite the 11 am kickoff.

If Baylor's balanced offense continues the way it's been headed for five straight weeks, the only thing likely to stop the Bears will be penalties and turnovers.

Then again, if A&M proves they can play a full 60 minutes and can impose their will on a susceptible Baylor defense, they're not gonna be kept off the scoreboard much either.

A win for the Aggies would be their first over a ranked team this season and could be a turning point after a tumultuous September. A victory for the Bears would be their first in Kyle Field since 1984, would keep the team ranked for a sixth straight week and would provide Bears fans bragging rights.

Win or lose, with it being the series finale, those bragging rights would last indefinitely.

Saturday at Kyle Field will be a historic day for these two schools. Come Sunday, the 112 year-long football rivalry between Baylor and A&M will be history.

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