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With Texas A&M, LSU Finally Has a Conference Rival // SEC 2012: The New SEC

If familiarity breeds contempt, then LSU and A&M already have a rivalry.
If familiarity breeds contempt, then LSU and A&M already have a rivalry.

Looking at how well each team knows the conference's newest members

LSU History vs. New SEC Teams

First Meeting Last Meeting Record vs.
Missouri 1978 1978 0-1
Texas A&M 1899
2011 ('10 bowl)

We've talked before about the curious case of LSU when it comes to identifying a conference rival. Ole Miss is about as close as you can come to picking a team that is both a major focus of LSU's hatred and has LSU as a major focus of its hatred. But when one of the teams has become a perennial title contender and the other is struggling to get out of the basement -- well, it loses something.

Enter Texas A&M. The Aggies have played LSU 50 times, the teams do not like each other, and there's even been some talk about moving A&M into the Thanksgiving weekend slot usually reserved for Arkansas on LSU's schedule. (And Texas on A&M's schedule, until DeLoss Dodds started acting like a petulant and/or scared child.) That's about as clear a sign as any that the SEC, LSU and A&M would like to set the annual tilt between the Tigers and the Aggies as a yearly grudge match.

LSU first played A&M in 1899, its seventh season as a program (and only the second season of more than three games). The only remaining FBS teams that LSU played earlier were Tulane, Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi State.

Not that 1899 was a banner year for the Tigers. Their only wins were in an exhibition game against Lake Charles High School and Tulane. (Some things never change.) The Aggies dropped a 52-0 shutout on the Tigers, which was not all that unusual -- all four of LSU's losses were double-digit, shutout defeats, although both of its wins were also double-digit, shutout victories.

That 52-point waxing, by the way, is the second largest margin of defeat in LSU history. The largest came in 1914 against -- wait for it -- Texas A&M, which annihilated the Tigers by a 63-9 score. The two teams also played to a 0-0 in a 1920 game in College Station. The Game of Last Century?

Only twice have the two teams met in a bowl, and LSU won both of those games -- a 19-14 victory in the 1944 Orange Bowl and a 41-24 clobbering in the 2011 Cotton Bowl. The Tigers won that Orange Bowl despite turning the ball over eight times, throwing five interceptions and losing three fumbles in the course of the game.

Add in the fact that Texas A&M is losing its traditional conference rivalry, and you've got a ready-made formula for a bitter clash every year based on a series that's always seen some bad blood. If conference realignment is mostly about blowing up old traditions, this is one of the few cases where it's actually reinvigorating one.