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Columbia Missourian

Texas A&M, Missouri football teams aren't thinking about broken rivalries

By Richard Fernandez
November 21, 2012 | 4:31 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Lately, there hasn't been much talk about Kansas in the Missouri football program.

Unlike previous years, the Tigers and Jayhawks won't face each other on the football field after Thanksgiving. Instead of playing Kansas for the 121st time, Missouri will play Texas A&M.

Saturday's game

Missouri (5-6, 2-5 SEC)
vs. Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2 SEC)

WHEN: 6:10 p.m.
Kyle Field, College Station, Texas

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The two schools are not long-term rivals, though they are scheduled to play again next year on Nov. 30. Arkansas is expected to become Missouri's cross division rival as soon as the Southeastern Conference implements what will be its regular scheduling rotation.

But for now, it's Texas A&M, which is fitting.

Texas A&M broke off its relationship with the University of Texas after 118 games played between the Aggies and Longhorns. And, of course, Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12 Conference to join the SEC this season.

The Aggies left behind a lot of tradition, but according to coach Kevin Sumlin, none of that matters this week. He said his team hasn't thought about the discontinuation of the rivalry with Texas.

For Sumlin, who is in his first year at Texas A&M, the Longhorns haven't crossed his mind.

"We've been talking about it being senior night and playing Missouri, a team we haven't beaten," Sumlin said. "That's what these seniors are talking about. They haven't beat Missouri in their career here. I think that's pretty significant."

Missouri isn't looking back, either. Kansas wasn't even brought up at the team's media day Monday. The team is more focused on what will be at stake stake Saturday in College Station, Texas.

The Tigers are focused on trying to become bowl eligible while the Aggies, No. 9 in the BCS rankings, are looking to get 10 wins in a season for the first time since 1998.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, known as "Johnny Football," is looking to make a statement in a wide-open race for the Heisman Trophy. Manziel, a redshirt freshman, has accounted for 4,161 total yards and 38 touchdowns, but no freshman player has ever won the Heisman. That could change though.

No sophomore had ever won the award until Tim Tebow did in 2007. Sophomores Sam Bradford and Mark Ingram won the Heisman in the following two years.

With an impressive performance against Missouri, Manziel can improve his chances to win the award.

"He can throw off balance; he's creative," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "When you watch film you wonder how he pulls stuff off, but he does. He plays with a lot of confidence."


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Pinkel said in a teleconference Wednesday that the availability of his own quarterback, James Franklin, will likely be a game-day decision. Franklin suffered a concussion in Missouri's loss to Syracuse on Saturday.

If Franklin isn't cleared, the Tigers will go with Corbin Berkstresser as their starting quarterback.