Texas A&M Football: Back on Hallowed Ground?

Patrick HillContributor IJune 27, 2008

On October 29, 2005, Iowa State walked onto Kyle Field and all over Texas A&M, 42-14.  That same day, my old man told me he doesn’t recognize his alma mater.

You see, there was once a time and place—the ‘90s and Kyle Field—where such losses never happened.

During that time, Texas A&M boasted one of the nation's best home records at 55-4-1, including 31 straight wins at Kyle Field from 1990 to 1995 and 22 straight from 1996 to 2000.

Kyle Field was a daunting place to visit.

But that is all according to our fathers, as the A&M we know today is not the same.

When Nike told A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne this month that the Aggies won’t get the same deal as rival Texas because they “aren’t and will never be as good,” he was right.  But he didn’t say never used to.

And while the Aggies have defeated the Longhorns the last two years, you did and will again bet on Texas.  The A&M of today is not the same my father knew.

A 77-0 slaying in Norman, three straight bowl game losses, and a 19-21 conference record cost Dennis Franchione his job (no, it had very little to do with his newsletter controversy) and brought back a familiar face: Mike Sherman.

While my father still wouldn’t recognize the team, the new head coach is identifiable from his assistant coaching days in Aggieland.

At a small dinner outside Houston, Mike Sherman talked Aggie football.  He talked about a powerful offense, a hostile defense—and winning National Championships.

Skip the Big 12 Championship—Mike swung for the fences.  And after four years of nothing close, the inflated optimism was refreshing.

While six students backed out of their “commitment” to play for A&M, Sherman brought in a sharp-looking group.

More importantly, he did something no A&M coach has done in quite some time: He swayed a recruit away from another Big 12 power, Oklahoma.

Jeff Fuller will be in maroon and white for one reason: that confidence shown in Houston of winning National Championships.

With a high octane offense and greater headship on defense, E.J. Kyle may look down and see Iowa State walking off his field disheartened—his renewed, daunting field.