COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M hasn’t football played in Austin in eight years.
The Aggies haven’t met the Longhorns in football since 2011, the season before they left for the Southeastern Conference.
But fans in Austin still are watching A&M, whether it’s out of love or hate.
The Aggies came within a two-point play of possibly knocking off No. 2 Clemson at Kyle Field last Saturday night. It was the second-highest rated ESPN prime-time telecast in two years. The game drew a rating of 3.0, but it peaked at 4 during the window between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.
Here’s where Austin comes in. The city’s rating for the A&M game, which was head-to-head most of the evening with Texas-Tulsa played at Royal-Memorial Stadium, was a 7.0. That was the fourth-highest nationally, but tops in Texas.
ESPN’s top 10 markets for the game:
ESPN broadcast College Football GameDay preview show from outside Kyle Field Saturday morning. The network said it’s rating was up 17 percent from week two last season, when the show was in Columbus before Oklahoma-Ohio State.
A&M plays at home Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. But they’ll get a chance to play in front of a national audience, Sept. 22, when they travel to top-ranked Alabama. CBS announced Monday it had picked up the game for its 2:30 p.m. window.