Texas A&M’s Historical 1976 Trifecta

by Travis Normand
June 13, 2017

A friend of mine (David Walker – who played QB at Texas A&M in the 1970s) is always pointing out interesting stats and facts from the years he played football at Texas A&M. The most recent stat that he brought to my attention is that the 1976 Texas Aggie football team is the only one to: (1) defeat the University of Texas in Austin, (2) win a bowl game, and (3) finish the season ranked in the top-10 (AP No. 7 and UPI No. 8).

Three other Aggie teams have come close to accomplishing this particular trifecta, but fell short due to no fault of their own. Those three teams were the 1939 (National Champions), the 1985 SWC Champions, and the 1987 SWC Champions. Each of these three teams (1) defeated the University of Texas at Kyle Field, (2) won their bowl game, and (3) finished the season ranked in the top-10. The only difference being that these three teams played the Longhorns at Kyle Field as opposed to playing them in Austin.

In case you are wondering, or if you find this fact hard to believe, here is a list of Aggie teams that accomplished elements of this trifecta but were unable to complete it due to a number of different reasons (reasons such as no post-season rankings during that time, no bowl games, etc.). I felt it was only fair that the accomplishments of these teams get pointed out here, with a notation on how they differed from the 1976 team’s accomplishment.

  • (1) the 1902 team was the first Aggie team to ever beat the University of Texas and they did it in Austin, however there were no real post season rankings and not many bowl games at that time (1902 was the first year of the “Rose Bowl”);
  • (2) the 1909 team is the first and only team to defeat the Longhorns twice in one season (once in Houston and once in Austin);
  • (3) the 1910 team defeated the Longhorns in Houston;
  • (4) the 1917 and 1919 teams (both SWC Champions, and therefore No. 1 in the conference) defeated the Longhorns in College Station, but were not invited to a bowl game, and there were no real final post-season rankings at that time;
  • (5) the 1921 SWC Champions tied the Longhorns in College Station (0-0) and won the schools first bowl game (Dixie Classic against Centre College);
  • (6) the 1927 SWC Champions defeated the Longhorns in College Station and finished the season as No. 1 in the conference;
  • (7) the 1940 SWC Champions loss to the Longhorns in Austin but finished the season 9-1, won their bowl game, and finished the season ranked in the top-10;
  • (8) the 1956 SWC Champions defeated the Longhorns in Austin, finished the season 9-0-1, finished the season ranked No. 5 in both the AP and UPI polls, but were on probation and thus not invited to a bowl game;
  • (9) the 1967 SWC Champions defeated the Longhorns in College Station, won the Cotton Bowl, but finished the season unranked; and
  • (10) the 1994 team defeated the Longhorns in Austin, finished the season ranked in the top-10, but were ineligible to play in a bowl game and were thus not invited.

See results from every Texas Aggie football season here: 12thMan.com

For more information on David Walker, you can get a copy of his book, “I’ll tell you when you’re good: America’s 12th Man Quarterback” at 12thManQB.com

 

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