Rivalries are what make sports fun. Nothing is better than beating a team that is the polar opposite of you and rubbing their face in the fact that you beat them, and I mean nothing. Some people believe that smaller schools do not have rivalries but nothing could be further from the truth. In some cases, the rivalries might run deeper and more full of good old fashioned hate and disdain because there is so little commercialization involved. So, who are our rivals? This is just my humble and hate filled option.
5. Tarleton State-We have quite a bit in common with the Texans. First, we are two small college towns located somewhat off the beaten path that are within an hour from major Texas cities. Both of us know what it is like to share our stadiums with the high school teams and watch them have major success. We also compete with them for a President’s Trophy for the annual winner of the football game. Also, TSU has a strong Basketball program as do we. As far as actually hate, they are somewhat hard to hate. They have always been good hosts to us and have always been pretty nice. It is a rivalry, but a very classy one.
4. Texas A&M-Kingsville-Now, if this was 10-20 years ago, I would say this is your top rival no doubt. Call them the Javs, the porkies, the hoggies, or as my friend B.Minor would call them, the “little piggies.” Kingsville has really not given us a good game in Football since the winning streak started back in 2012, with the notable exceptions of Guy Morriss’s last year and in 2016 when they had a strong balanced attack. Other than that, General Chennault’s cup has been safely in Commerce for 6 years now. The rivalry is pretty tame these days as we pretty much beat them most of the time in most of the others sports. Their fanbase is also realistic about how much improvement their football team needs. Like I said, back in the 60’s through the early 2000’s, this would be the most heated, but that has changed for the time being. (Side note: B.Minor stressed during our staff meeting that he was 3-1 against the little piggies.)
3. Angelo State-This where things are starting to get warmed up. Let’s start with Football. Our games from 2013-2015 were won by 1, 3 and 1 points. Their two wins in 2013 and 2014 were decided by 5 and 3 points. 2016 we destroyed them by 48 points, but last year it was a 14 point game, much closer than most people expected. I remember Noel Taylor texting me after the game and said something like “Dang, does not matter what our records are, Angelo makes it tough on us.” No kidding. Two notable ties occurred that could have given the Lions outright conference titles or at least ties. In 1980, the 13-13 tie caused the Rams to have a higher seed in the playoffs and cost the Lions a shot at an outright LSC title. History repeated itself in 1991 when the Lions needed to just beat the Rams to clinch a share of the LSC title and win back to back titles for the first time since the late 1950’s, but a 39-39 tie prevent that. We also got left out of the playoffs in 2013 and 2014 by losing late season games to them. Not to mention we had to play 3 games in 2015 for the LSC Basketball title, and the Soccer team had to play them 3 times for the LSC title in 2014 also. The softball team also has a rivalry with the Rambelles. I really cannot complain too much the ASU fans with a notable exception of a few lunatics (Brock Calloway and I know a guy) but other than that, ASU fans are pretty good people. The rivalry is intense and competitive but overall, not bad.
2. West Texas A&M-Now, we are going to start to get personal. First, let me say this. I feel bad for the WT fans, I really do. Their athletic director is a pencil necked ignoramus who obviously has a problem with coaches that win. What they did to Don Carthel was beyond awful. It was not just getting rid of a good coach, but painting a man as something he was not just because the administration and AD had a personal axe to grind with him. On top of that, they decided to “self report” some violations to implicate (or attempt) to implicate Colby Carthel as essentially a cheater for having the audacity to pay to out his own pocket for a young child to see a doctor and a poor redshirt freshman to have a roof over his head. Thankfully, our administration and AD saw right through that charade because they know the kind of man Colby Carthel is. Now, the hate meter gets turned up. I was in Canyon in 2013 and heard the boos and jeers when we entered the stadium and when Lion fans were trying to get to their seats. It was the last time they beat us, since then we have beaten them by 27, 18, 36, and 22 points. Basketball is also where the rivalry is hot. WT got the better of us this year and they have a great program. Half of WT’s fans hate us and the other half are reasonable, while ALL of them are jealous of the success we have had from Fall to Spring sports and everything in between. They are not helping themselves by thinking that attempting a halfback pass in a game where we are up by only 14 with plenty of time is being a bad sport. Note to the Amarillo Paper: If Colby Carthel wanted to “run it up”, he would have beaten you MUCH worse than only 22. Again, Colby Carthel is not that kind of man and the attempts to smear him as a bad guy are just now getting laughable. Get over it WT.
1.Midwestern State-Was there any doubt? First, their fans are obnoxious, rude, arrogant, and delusional. On the message boards, MSU believed that they were really the best team in Division II Football this year. Call me crazy, but the fact that Minnesota State-Mankto hung almost 70 on them while we beat them by 10 ON THE ROAD should say something. That aside, let me tell you what really gets me about MSU. First, they really think they are just better than Commerce is. Here are some examples: 1: I was standing in line at the concessions in 2016 when I got into a conversation with a lady who was wearing MSU colors and her daughter who seemed very nice until she said: “I would never allow my daughter to go here, she is going to be a teacher and she needs the best education a teacher can get and Midwestern is superior to Commerce.” Fact: TAMUC is the number ONE school for teachers in the entire state and 13th in the entire nation, including EVERY SINGLE IVY LEAGE SCHOOL. MSU is nowhere on the radar. Example 2: Sitting in the stands in the 2016 game: “People go to Commerce to get an MBA because it has to be easy with all the people they graduate.” That is so stupid. That would be like saying because Harvard Business pumps out the best CEO’s and world leaders that the elite send their kids there to get an easy MBA. Note to MSU Stooge number 2: The TAMUC MBA program has been a Top 5 program NATIONALLY 4 of the past 7 years, and the College of Business at TAMUC is accredited by the AACSB, giving it an automatic top 25 percentile in undergraduate business schools. Finally, both last and least, the MSU radio guys. These guys have an unbelievable mixture of arrogance and ignorance is really makes my blood boil. Like when they said the following this year; “Commerce is just recently starting to have success in Football, they have never really had a strong program.” I would say that 1 (and now 2) national titles, 25 LSC titles, 4 Bowl Wins, and multiple players in the NFL over the years say differently. “Another player that transferred from a Division I school for Commerce, they are known as a second chance school.” WHAT?! This is when you drop all notions of being nice and realize you have a bunch of rubes on the radio. Just the utter arrogance of these fans really gets me, and the hate meter runs high with this school, and next year if we lose every game but destroy Midwestern I will be happy for at least one night.