Just when everyone thought playing at Kyle Field wasn't what it used to be, the Texas A&M student body is aiming to break the Guiness World Record for most students at a collegiate sporting event.
So far, 29,520 students have pulled tickets for Saturday night's ABC bout with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, which is an A&M record already.
The number of students attending the game is more than five schools' in the Big 12 total enrollment.
On top of allowing students with football and all sports passes to grab their usual tickets, athletic director Bill Byrne has allowed any student without those passes to purchase a ticket for $20. Needless to say, Kyle Field is going to be echoing through the night—the 12th Man will be ready.
The capacity of the stadium is 83,002—A&M's athletic department is expecting between 90-92,000.
The Aggies and Nebraska come in to the game sporting the league's two best win streaks. After losing in embarrassing fashion to the Missouri Tigers at home, the Aggies have ripped off four straight, including knocking off No. 8 Oklahoma at Kyle Field.
Nebraska, after an inexplicable loss to the Texas Longhorns, have won four straight as well, including at Oklahoma State and over No. 6 Missouri.
The Cornhuskers will be looking to get back into National Title contention, and the Aggies will be out to prove that they are finally back to being a threat in the Big 12 South.
Texas A&M has gone through an unexpected decade of mediocrity, never living up to early season hype in several of their last few seasons. It all seemed to go downhill after winning the Big 12 Championship in 1998.
Until this season, it was almost as if they had been under a curse since firing R.C. Slocum after he went 6-6 in 2002, only his second non-winning season since 1989. Unfortunately for A&M coaches, your win-loss record is not the only measure of success, it also includes how you play against Texas.
In his last season, despite a win over No. 1 ranked Oklahoma, he lost to UT by 30 points. That, and his poor record in major bowl games, was enough for the Aggie boosters to influence a change.
Slocum is the most successful coach in Texas A&M's history, mainly because he instilled his morals into a program that values them above everything else. He was criticized for not wanting to bend the rules, but that was what made him such a great coach. He also always put the team before any one man.
Which brings me to Mike Sherman and why this season is different. Slocum took the Ags through possibly their best decade ever in the 90s, winning the conference championship four times in 10 years.
On the flip side, Sherman inherited a team treading through unfamiliar waters of failure and instilled the same morals Slocum did 20 years ago.
This season was supposed to be a turnaround season for Texas A&M, and it has. However, they've been here before.
In 2006 they were 8-1 with three games left against Nebraska, OU and Texas. But that team was full of flashy skill players who did not have the will to win and lost to Nebraska and OU by a combined two points.
Amidst athletic booster scandals and questionable decisions on the field, Dennis Franchione was mainly not the right coach for A&M because he did not command the respect and accountability from his players. Where he failed, Sherman has flourished.
This team is different. They embody what it means to be a part of A&M's storied tradition. It took two years to get here, but the talent has finally caught up with the team-first mentality, and anyone from the Coach Fran years not willing to go along has been weeded out.
The best example of the team-first mentality is to look at Jerrod Johnson and how he has handled being benched midway through the season in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Johnson understands he was not playing well, and admitted Monday that his shoulder has not been 100 percent.
What is refreshing to see is that he has not pouted, complained, or even looked unhappy at any point since Tannehill took over. Obviously, it helps that the teams is 3-0 with Tannehill as the starter, but Johnson has been his biggest supporter and has helped him in any way that he can.
"To see the smiles on (teammates) faces, to finally win and understand I was definitely a part of that... when I came here I wanted to be a part of something special... to put this program where it should be" said Johnson, the Aggies All-Time leader in yardage, "Of course, it's not a storybook ending for me. But... I don't think you can look at this as a sour situation."
Talk about handling a situation with class and dignity.
Sherman obviously learned a great deal about what it means to coach the Aggies when he was the offensive line coach under Slocum. Students are obviously showing they appreciate it—expect records to be broken Saturday Night on ABC.
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