State Farm Lone Star Showdown features competition between good neighbors
Through October, the Lone Star Showdown has had exactly that - a lone star.
In this case, the lone star is The University of Texas.
As the second year begins for the Lone Star Showdown - the official moniker for competition between Texas and Texas A&M in varsity athletics - the Longhorns are picking up where they left off during the 2004-05 campaign when they claimed a 14.5 to 4.5 margin against the Aggies in this series sponsored by State Farm Insurance.
After the 2005 Big 12 Men's and Women's Cross Country Championship held Friday, Oct. 28, Texas holds a 3-1 lead over Texas A&M.
"The idea (of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown) really was to extend even further the already intense, but respectful, rivalry between these two flagship institutions," said Chris Plonsky, the women's athletics director and the senior associate athletics director for men's and women's external services. "We play in every sports category, but in the external relations world, you're always seeking extra zip, zing and attention.
"And we truly have to credit our friends at Texas A&M for framing the series concept. Jeff Schmahl, who is the senior associate AD, works in external services at A&M. Jeff came to A&M shortly after Bill Byrne came to A&M from Nebraska as AD. I always have admired Jeff's work.
"Even though Jeff was fairly new to Texas, he understood the sheer power of the two schools, the pride of our alumni and constituencies, and the fact that high school students in the state look to these two schools as premier places."
Plonsky explained that the schools believed a corporate sponsor would bring additional attention to the student-athletes competing in these sports.
"State Farm has been a long-time corporate sponsor for both Texas and Texas A&M, supporting our multimedia platform, radio networks and promotional programs," she continued. "More than that, State Farm believes in what Texas and Texas A&M are doing, which is providing an education and athletic experiences for 700-plus young women and men on each campus.
"Host Communications -- the Longhorn Sports Network -- worked with staff members at Texas and Texas A&M to pitch the Lone Star Showdown series to State Farm, and State Farm felt it was a beautiful fit."
The rivalry series is tracked by a point system during 25 scheduled UT-A&M contests. A total of 19 points can be won.
Winning results from the following regular season head-to-head match-ups accrue one point each: football, soccer, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, baseball (best-of-three series victor), men's tennis and women's tennis.
Winning results from the following regular season head-to-head match-ups accrue one-half point, as home-and-home contests are played: men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball and women's softball.
Higher team place standings from Big 12 Conference Championship events in the following sports accrue one point: men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, men's golf and women's golf.
"It's been exhilarating to watch how the student-athletes have responded to this series," Plonsky said. "The traveling trophy sits at each competition and the teams know they are playing for their piece of the point standings."
To wit: After Texas had defeated A&M in soccer, which was the inaugural State Farm Lone Star Showdown event of the 2005-06 school year, the Longhorns' Karen Haight glanced at Plonsky on the sidelines and said, "One point."