The plucky, gritty, gutty UTSA Roadrunners head to College Station to play in front of 90+ thousand Aggie fans and against one of the Texas Power 5 programs for the first time. It's a pretty big deal for the Roadrunners.
Have the Roadrunners played Power 5's before? Sure, we hate the term "Power 5" by the way, we prefer to call the Power 5 "The Syndicate." Gives a much more ominous and foreboding tone. More accurate in our estimation. It also gives a mental image of something that needs to be broken up, like dirty cops getting taken down by Frank Serpico. That's another story for another time.
UTSA's played Syndicate members before, Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State. Most of those teams have even ventured down to the Dome for a Home and Home. Saturday is different. UTSA is playing one of the two flagship schools in the state, yes Texas Tech, Baylor, and TCU will disagree, great. Hell, Texas might disagree because they'd say that there's only one flagship university in the State. They're all wrong. This state ebbs and flows with Texas and Texas A&M, the shame of course being that they don't play each other. But that's another story for another time.
A&M has fully invested in the college football arms races, they've expanded, torn down, and rebuilt Kyle Field so that it's unrecognizable and massive. A&M's facilities, complete with water features and laser lights are the envy of the college football universe. The Aggies made a bold move and stepped away from the Big 12 and into a more lucrative monetary situation in the SEC. It's paid off. A&M's football program made $192.6 Million in 2014-2015. That's good for the 3rd highest revenue generated since USA Today started following the money 11 years ago. The only bigger revenue years came when Oklahoma State received $165 million from T. Boone Pickens in addition to the Pokes' usual revenue for a total of over $200 million and Phil Knight's philanthropic $95 million dollar gift to Oregon a few years back which brought Oregon up to $196 million.
And now UTSA, the 2011 startup, perceived commuter school, gets to run out of the tunnel at Kyle Field and compete with the Aggies. That's seems like a pretty cool moment for Roadrunner fans. I grew up 30 miles south of San Antonio in a little town on I-35. I remember riding my bike home as fast as I could from junior high to see the Roadrunners play in the 1988 NCAA tournament against Illinois. That was a pretty big deal. Back then the thought of UTSA and a football program were as foreign as a guy who ran the New Jersey Generals getting elected president. It's a mad, mad, world. They oughta sell tickets.
Full disclosure, I went to A&M. Sat there when A&M transitioned into the Big 12. Had seasons tickets for a few years. Also full disclosure, I'm what Aggie fans consider a "2 percenter." A&M football doesn't move the needle for me the way it used to. The big business of college athletics, the Syndicate if you will, run by TV executives, contributed to that. But that's another story for another time.
There's renewed energy in San Antonio, Frank Wilson has given every indication that he's doing things the right way. They've been competitive almost every week, just ask Arizona State. Now they've got a nationally televised game on the evil four letter against a team that just a few weeks ago was wrongly judged to be among the top four in the nation. That's great for exposure. UTSA will be beamed into the homes of recruits around the state. And if UTSA can compete against a banged up Aggie team that's a pretty big deal.