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Texas Tech will host the Texas Longhorns on Sept. 24th to kick off their Big 12 conference schedule. The Red Raiders have a long storied rivalry with the Longhorns dating back to 1928 and have played annually since 1960, but that 'Lone Star State' tradition may be coming to an abrupt end. 

When Texas accepted the SEC's invitation to join their conference, their entire schedule of Big 12 competition essentially went out the window. The Longhorns will likely play eight or nine conference games within the SEC once they become official participating members in 2025, leaving very little room for non-conference opponents. 

That's why Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt met with UT officials immediately to ensure the rivalry would continue, but now he says the Longhorns may be bailing out of the commitment. 

"I've talked to my counterpart (Chris Del Conte) at the University of Texas," Hocutt told reporters at the Lubbock 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 are 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."

It would be a shocking and detrimental turn of events for both the Red Raiders and the state of Texas. The longstanding rivalry between two of the state's largest public institutions provides economic opportunity and local excitement every year. In fact, in 29 of the last 30 seasons in which the Longhorns have come to Lubbock, it's been Tech's highest-selling game.

While Hocutt says that he and Del Conte discussed a 20 to 25-year ongoing series between the schools, in multiple sports but centering around football, the Longhorns AD has a different take on their discussions.

"I wouldn't say it was anything more than the idea of playing each other, the Texas schools," Del Conte said. "That's all way premature, to me. The issues were really just about playing Texas schools is the way I looked at it, and Texas Tech is part of that. I mean, I get it."

When Del Conte was AD at TCU, he lobbied vehemently for large schools like Texas and Texas A&M to play other in-state schools, calling it "great for the state of Texas." Will that same sense of state pride carry over now that he's wearing burnt orange and controlling the big bucks?

Tech seems to be determined to ensure the rivalry lasts, and despite UT's best efforts, the Red Raiders may just get their wish. Hocutt says he and his staff have had two positive meetings with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to plead their case.

"We had a chance on two occasions to share with him the importance of the competition," said Hocutt. "[Abbott] gave his full assurance that we had his support for that to continue for a 20-, 25-year period. He pledged that he would be our champion and gave assurances that that was going to happen."

It will be interesting to see exactly what happens to this in-state rivalry and what role the governor may play in the process. For now, the Red Raiders will get at least a couple more cracks at the Longhorns and you can bet they're going to try and make them count. 

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