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Texas A&M Aggies football

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Texas A&M Aggies
2018 Texas A&M Aggies football team
Texas A&M University logo.svg
First season 1894
Athletic director Scott Woodward
Head coach Jimbo Fisher
1st season, 4–2 (.667)
Stadium Kyle Field
(Capacity: 102,733)
Location College Station, Texas
Conference Southeastern Conference
Division West
All-time record 736–479–48 (.602)
Bowl record 17–22 (.436)
Claimed nat'l titles 3 (1919, 1927, 1939)
Conference titles 18
Division titles 3 (1997, 1998, 2010)
Rivalries LSU (rivalry)
Arkansas (rivalry)
Texas (rivalry)
Baylor (rivalry)
Texas Tech (rivalry)
TCU (rivalry)
Heisman winners 2 (John David Crow, Johnny Manziel)
Consensus All-Americans 28[1]
Current uniform
SEC-Uniform-TAMU.png
Colors Maroon and White[2]
         
Fight song Aggie War Hymn
Mascot Reveille
Marching band Fightin' Texas Aggie Band
Outfitter Adidas
Website www.12thman.com
The Aggies play their home games at Kyle Field.

The Texas A&M Aggies football program represents Texas A&M University in the sport of American football. The Aggies compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).[3] Texas A&M football claims three national titles and eighteen conference titles. The team plays all home games at the newly redeveloped Kyle Field, a 102,733-person capacity outdoor stadium on the university campus. Jimbo Fisher is currently the team's head coach.

History

1901 Aggies players

Early history (1894–1933)

Texas A&M first fielded a football team in 1894, under the direction of head coach F. D. Perkins.[4] The team compiled a 1–1 record.[4] W. A. Murray served as A&M's head coach from 1899-1901, compiling a record of 7–8–1.[5] From 1902-1904, J. E. Platt served as A&M's head coach, his teams compiling a record of 18–5–3.[5] From 1909-1914, A&M compiled a 38–8–4 record under head coach Charley Moran.[6] Moran's 1909 team finished undefeated, and all but one of Moran's other seasons the Aggies only lost one game each year.[5] Under head coach Edwin Harlan, the Aggies compiled a record of 12–5 in two seasons and joined the Southwest Conference.[7][8]

Coach Bible

Dana X. Bible became Texas A&M's head coach in 1919, leaving LSU, and under his tutelage the Aggies compiled a record of 72–19–9 in ten seasons.[9] Bible's 1919 Texas A&M Aggies football team, which was undefeated, untied, and outscored its opposition 275–0, was retroactively named a national champion by the Billingsley Report and the National Championship Foundation. In the 1922 Dixie Classic, Bible made his most visible and lasting impression in his A&M career when he began the Twelfth Man Tradition. Bible had a roster of only eighteen players, who had to play both offense and defense against the heavily favored Centre College. He lost three players to injuries early in the game, but the Aggies took the lead. Fearing more injuries and a possibility of having to forfeit the game for lack of men, Bible called upon a reserve halfback, E. King Gill, who was in the press box running stats for the team, to suit up and be ready if needed. The Aggies wouldn't need Gill's help to win, but since then A&M students stand throughout football games to show their willingness to play if needed.[10] Bible departed the Aggies after the 1928 season to accept the Nebraska head coaching position.[10] After Bible's departure, A&M brought in Matty Bell from TCU to lead the Aggies football program.[11] Under Bell's tutelage, the Aggies compiled a record of 24–21–3.[11] However, the Aggies did not play up to the standards set by Dana Bible's tenure, and Bell had left for SMU after five seasons.[11]

Homer Norton era (1934–1947)

Homer Norton was hired away from Centenary to replace Bell in 1934.[12] A&M enjoyed great successes under Norton. The 1939 Texas A&M team went 11–0, beating Tulane in the Sugar Bowl, and was named a national champion.[13] Norton's record at Texas A&M was 82–53–9, giving him the second most wins of any coach in Texas A&M Aggies football history.[13] Among the many stars that Norton developed were John Kimbrough and Joe Routt.[14] Norton was fired in 1947 when his team went 3–6–1 and lost to archrival University of Texas for the eighth straight year.[15]

Harry Stiteler era (1948–1950)

In December 1947, Harry Stiteler was promoted from running backs coach to head coach for the Texas A&M football team following the firing of Homer Norton.[16] In Stiteler's first season as head coach, the Aggies failed to win a game, accumulating a record of 0–9–1.[17] For the 1949 season, the Aggies won only one game and had a record of 1–8–1.[18] Despite the poor record in his first two seasons, Stiteler developed a reputation as a good recruiter. In 1950, Stiteler turned the program around with a 7–4 record, including impressive wins over Arkansas (42–13) and SMU (25–20) and a 40–20 win over Georgia in the Presidential Cup Bowl at Baltimore.[19] The 1950 team had the best record of any Texas A&M football team in the first decade after World War II (1945–1954).[20]

In December 1950, Stiteler reported that he had been attacked and beaten by a stranger near the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, where Stiteler had been scheduled to address a group of Texas A&M alumni.[21] Stiteler tried to downplay the incident, but the press reported Stiteler declined to provide details to the police and that there were conflicting versions as to what had happened. The San Antonio Light reported the incident under a banner headline, "MYSTERY SHROUDS STITELER BEATING."[22] In March 1951, Stiteler admitted that he had misrepresented the facts concerning the assault. He reported that he had known his attacker and "the affair was a personal one."[21] Embarrassed, Stiteler submitted his letter of resignation to the President of Texas A&M upon revealing the true facts concerning "my affair in Houston."[21] Following the resignation, the members of the football team issued a statement in support of their former coach:

"We believe that whatever happened to Mr. Stiteler was a personal matter and it should have remained that. A lot of us boys came to A. and M. in 1948 not because A. and M. had won games but simply because of Harry Stiteler and his character. He has never ceased to set us that same example in the years we have played and worked for him."[23]

In three years as the head coach at Texas A&M, Stiteler compiled a record of 8–21–2.[24]

Raymond George era (1951–1953)

Raymond George, previously USC's defensive line coach, was hired as the 17th head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies after the Stiteler scandal.[25] He served as head coach for three seasons, from 1951 to 1953, during which time the Aggies produced a total record of 12-14-4.[26][27] Among A&M's notable wins during this time period were victories over Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma Sooners, Henry Russell Sanders' UCLA Bruins and Bear Bryant's Kentucky Wildcats. George resigned as the Aggies head coach following the 1953 season.[25]

Bear Bryant era (1954–1957)

Legendary coach Bear Bryant arrived in College Station after successful head coaching tenures at Maryland and Kentucky, signing a contract worth $15,000 per year.[28]

The Aggies suffered through a grueling 1-9 record in Bryant's first season, which began with the infamous training camp in Junction, Texas, during which time many Aggie football players quit the team.[29] The "survivors" were given the name "Junction Boys."[29] Two years later, Bryant led the team to the Southwest Conference championship with a 34–21 victory over Texas in Austin.[30] The following year, star running back John David Crow won the Heisman Trophy and the Aggies were in title contention until they lost to Rice Owls.[31][32]

Bryant attempted to integrate the all-white Texas A&M squad. "We'll be the last football team in the Southwest Conference to integrate," he was told by a Texas A&M official. "Well," Bryant replied, "then that's where we're going to finish in football."[33] After the 1957 season, having compiled an overall 25–14–2 record at A&M, Bryant left for Alabama, his alma mater, where he would cement his legacy as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, college football coach of all-time.[34]

Jim Myers era (1958–1961)

A&M next turned to Iowa State head coach Jim Myers for its head coaching position.[35] Under Myers, the Aggies struggled mightily, compiling a 12–24–4 record.[36] The Aggies failed to win more than four games in a single season. The fallout that ensued from fans, boosters and the administration led Myers to join Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys staff as an assistant coach.[35]

Hank Foldberg era (1962–1964)

Hank Foldberg was hired as the Aggies head coach after Myers' departure, and brought with him high hopes that Aggie success would return.[37] However, the struggles remained, in the form of a 6-23-1 record in three seasons.[38] Foldberg was replaced after the 1964 season.

Gene Stallings era (1965–1971)

Coach Stallings

Fresh off helping Bear Bryant and Alabama win the 1964 national title as an assistant coach, Gene Stallings, one of the "Junction Boys", was named the head coach of his alma mater at the age of 29.[39]

The Aggies struggles persisted under Stallings. Texas A&M compiled a record of 27–45–1 in Stallings' seven seasons.[40] However, the Aggies won the Southwest Conference in 1967, Stallings' only winning season at A&M.[41] At the end of that season, A&M beat Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.[41] He was fired at A&M following the 1971 season, but, like his mentor Bryant, would go on to become Alabama's head coach in the 1990s and solidify a Hall of Fame career there.[39]

Emory Bellard era (1972–1978)

Texas offensive coordinator Emory Bellard became the Aggies' head coach in 1972 and brought with him the wishbone offense.[42] In his seven years at Texas A&M, he finished with a record of 48–27 and three top-15 finishes.[43]

Acting as his own offensive coordinator, Bellard hired former high school football coaches to assist him as backfield coaches.[43] Bellard's first two seasons at Texas A&M were difficult, as his Aggies finished 3–8 and 5–6, respectively.[43] In 1974, with a pair of his own recruiting classes suited to run the wishbone formation, the Aggies went 8–3,[44] then followed it up with two 10–2 seasons,[45][46] including a pair of wins over Texas and three consecutive bowl game appearances. After starting the 1978 season 4–0, Bellard resigned mid-season after two consecutive losses: 33–0 to Houston and 24–6 to Baylor.[47]

Tom Wilson era (1978–1981)

Tom Wilson was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach of the Aggies following Bellard's resignation.[48] The Aggies enjoyed moderate success under Wilson's tutelage, compiling a record of 21-19 and an Independence Bowl victory in 1981.[49] However, the mediocrity did not sit well with the administration, and Wilson was fired after the 1981 season.[50]

Jackie Sherrill era (1982–1988)

On January 19, 1982, Jackie Sherrill was hired away from Pittsburgh by A&M as the replacement for Tom Wilson, signing a record six-year contract over $1.7 million.[51] Sherrill was the head coach of the Texas Aggies for seven seasons, from 1982 to 1988.[52]

While head coach at A&M, Sherrill started the tradition of the "12th Man Kickoff Team", this tradition is still observed by A&M today only in a significantly scaled back form, including a single walk-on rather than an entire return team unit.[53] In Sherrill's seven seasons, A&M compiled a 52-28-1 record.[52] A&M also won three consecutive Southwest Conference championships during Sherrill's tenure, in 1985, 1986 and 1987.[52] As a result, the Aggies played in the Cotton Bowl Classic at the end of each season, defeating Auburn 36–16 on January 1, 1986[54] and Notre Dame 35–10 on January 1, 1988,[55] and losing to Ohio State 28–12 on January 1, 1987.[56] He is also one of the few coaches to leave Texas A&M with a winning record against the Longhorns, winning his last five against Texas after losing his first two. However, he only won two out of seven games versus Texas A&M's other conference rival, Arkansas, in that same time span.

In 1988, Texas A&M was put under probation by the NCAA for a period of two years. Violations included improper employment, extra benefits, unethical conduct and lack of institutional control.[57][58] Sherrill was not personally found guilty of any infractions. However, in December 1988, Sherrill resigned.[59]

R. C. Slocum era (1989–2002)

Coach Slocum

In December 1988, R.C. Slocum was promoted from defensive coordinator and named head coach of the Aggies.[60]

During Slocum's 14 years as head coach, the Aggies compiled a record of 123–47–2, making Slocum the winningest coach in Texas A&M history.[60] During his career, Slocum never had a losing season and won four conference championships, including the Big 12 (the Southwest Conference was renamed in 1996) title in 1998 and two Big 12 South Championships, 1997 1998.[61] Additionally, he led the Aggies to become the first school in the Southwest Conference history to post three consecutive perfect conference seasons and actually went four consecutive seasons without a conference loss. Slocum reached 100 wins faster than any other active coach.

A&M's Kyle Field become one of the hardest places for opponents to play during Slocum's tenure, losing only 12 games at home in 14 years. For over a year, A&M held the longest home-winning streak in the nation, losing in 1989 and not again until late in 1995. In the 1990s, A&M lost only four times at Kyle Field. Slocum was named SWC Coach of the Year three times during his tenure as head coach. A&M's "Wrecking Crew" defense led the Southwest Conference in four statistical categories from 1991 through 1993 and led the nation in total defense in 1991. Over 50 Texas A&M players were drafted into the NFL during Slocum's career as head coach.[62]

Slocum inherited an Aggie football program that had just finished 7-5 and under severe NCAA sanctions, and cleaned it up quickly. He was quoted in 2002 as saying "I wouldn't trade winning another game or two for my reputation as a person. I've said from day one I'm going to do things the way I think they should be done. There were those who said, `If you don't cheat, you're pretty naive. You can't win that way.' Well, we're going to find out. That's the way we're going to do it. I can walk away and look myself in the mirror and say, 'We did it the right way.'[63]

After fourteen years as head coach of the Aggies, Slocum was asked to resign in 2002 following only the second non-winning season of his career.[60] He immediately assumed a position as special adviser to Texas A&M president Robert Gates.[64]

Dennis Franchione era (2003–2007)

Coach Francione

A&M turned to Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione to replace the ousted Slocum.[65] Franchione brought the majority of his coaching staff from the Crimson Tide for the 2003 season. Franchione signed a contract that was set to pay him a yearly salary of $1.7 million through 2010.[66]

The Aggies finished the 2003 season with a 4–8 record, including a nationally televised 77–0 loss to Oklahoma, the worst loss in A&M's history.[67] The season also marked the first losing season for the Aggies after 21 years. In the 2004 season, Franchione attempted the rebuilding process as the team improved to a 7–5 record, and a 5–3 record in conference play, including a 35–34 overtime loss to unranked Baylor, ending a 13-game winning streak the Aggies had over Baylor and a 32–25 overtime win over the then #25 Texas Tech at Kyle Field, snapping a 3-game skid to the Red Raiders.[68] The Aggies ended up advancing to the Cotton Bowl Classic to play #17 Tennessee, but lost 38–7.[69] Following the bowl game, A&M officials extended Franchione's contract through 2012 and raised his salary to $2 million.[66] In June 2005, prior to the 2005 season, Franchione donated $1 million to the A&M athletic department. The donation went toward the construction of an indoor practice facility, which is now located adjacent to Kyle Field.[70]

In the 2005 season, Franchione's Aggies, who were ranked 17th in the preseason AP Poll, regressed to a 5–6 record.[71] The 2005 Aggie defense ranked 107th nationally (out of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams) and allowed 443.8 yards per game. This prompted Franchione to dismiss defensive coordinator Carl Torbush. Franchione then hired former Western Michigan head coach Gary Darnell to replace Torbush.[72]

In the 2006 season, the Aggies again rebounded under Franchione, posting a 9–3 regular season record that included Franchione's first win over rival Texas.[73] The 9–3 record also marked the most wins for A&M since 1998. However, in that season's Oklahoma game, which ESPN's College GameDay visited, Franchione was criticized by fans for making a field goal call with 3:28 left in the game. The 18th-ranked Sooners ended up defeating the 21st-ranked Aggies, 17-16.[66] In the postseason, the Aggies faced 20th-ranked California in the Holiday Bowl and lost 45-10.[74]

During the 2007 season, Franchione was discovered selling a secret email newsletter, which violated two NCAA rules and one of the Big 12's "Principles and Standards of Sportsmanship".[75] After the Aggies' 34-17 loss to unranked Miami in September 2007, Franchione's coaching abilities were questioned.[76][77][78][79][80][81] Several news outlets reported that Franchione will not return for the 2008 season. After Franchione led the Aggies to a 38-30 victory over 13th-ranked Texas, he announced his resignation.[82] Defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was named the interim head coach. Darnell led the Aggies to a 24-17 defeat at the hands of Penn State in the Alamo Bowl.[83]

Mike Sherman era (2008–2011)

Coach Sherman

Mike Sherman was hired away from his post as offensive coordinator of the NFL's Houston Texans to replace Franchione.[84] Sherman signed a 7-year contract that at the time paid him $1.8 million annually.[85] Sherman abandoned the zone read option offense run by Franchione and his coaching staff, and installed a pro-style system.[86][87] A&M used a balanced offense run primarily out of the pro-style formations.[88][89] Sherman's quarterbacks at A&M were Stephen McGee and Ryan Tannehill, both of whom would go on to be drafted into the NFL.[90]

After two straight losing seasons, the Aggies started the 2010 season 3–3 but won their final six games and earn a share of the Big 12 South Division title.[91] #18 Texas A&M went on to play #11 LSU in the Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M lost 41-24 to end the season at 9-4.[92][93] After the 2010 season, A&M signed Sherman a contract extension through the 2015 season.[94] His salary was raised to $2.2 million.[95]

In 2011, the Aggies began as a top 10 ranked team, but fell out of the polls after losing four games, three of which had double-digit half-time leads.[96] Three of those four losses were to teams later ranked among the top ten in the nation. On November 19, 2011, the Aggies defeated Kansas 61-7 and became bowl-eligible for a third straight season.[97] Five days later, on November 24, 2011, they would lose at home to Texas by a score of 27-25 on a last-second field goal,[98] in what would be the last game of the rivalry for the foreseeable future, as the Aggies were to join the SEC beginning in 2012.[99] It was the Aggies' sixth loss of the season, and the fifth in which they held a second-half lead of two or more scores.[96] Sherman was fired by Texas A&M on December 1, 2011.[100] The Aggies compiled a record of 25–25 during Sherman's four-year tenure.[101]

Kevin Sumlin era (2012–2017)

Coach Sumlin

On December 13, 2011, A&M hired Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin as the program's 28th head football coach.[102] Sumlin was the first African American head coach in Texas A&M football history.[103]

In 2012, Sumlin led the Aggies to an 11–2 record, including victories over then-#1 Alabama, and #11 Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.[104] Starting quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy.[105] The Aggies finished the 2012 season ranked in the top 5 of both the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll.[106] Texas A&M also lead the SEC in total offense, total scoring offense, total rushing yds, and led the nation in third down conversion percentage.[107] Kevin Sumlin and the Texas A&M Aggies became the first SEC team in history to amass over 7,000 yds in total offense.[108] Sumlin's 2013 Aggies, led by Manziel, finished with a 9–4 record, which included a victory over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.[109][110] On November 30, 2013, A&M signed Sumlin to a six-year, $30 million contract extension.[111][112]

For the 2014 season, the Aggies came out strong to begin the season, winning their first 5 games before stumbling mid-season to three top 10-ranked teams, including a 59-0 loss to #7 ranked Alabama.[113] The Aggies finished the season 8–5 overall and 3–5 in SEC play.[114] With the Liberty Bowl victory over West Virginia, the Aggies won four straight bowl games for the first time in program history. After the season, which was marred by defensive struggles,[115] Sumlin dismissed his defensive coordinator, Mark Snyder,[116] and replaced him with John Chavis.[117] In 2015, A&M again finished 8–5.[118] The season was marked by a strong start with struggles to close the season. A&M finished the season with a loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl.[119]

Sumlin led the Aggies to a third consecutive 8–5 mark in 2016.[120] The season was again marked a strong start with another late-season collapse, as A&M began the season 6–0, but losing four of its final five games. Texas A&M finished the 2016 season with a loss to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.[121]

Sumlin started off the 2017 season by surrendering a 34 point lead to UCLA. Sumlin was fired from the position on November 26, 2017 after his team finished 7–5. Sumlin finished 51–26 at A&M and with a 25–23 record in the SEC. Despite A&M football's struggles during the Sumlin era, the program was recognized by Forbes in August 2018 as the most valuable in the country, based on average revenue and profit figures from the 2014–16 seasons.[122]

Jimbo Fisher era (2018–present)

On December 4, 2017, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher was formally introduced as the Aggies head coach.[123] A splashy hire, Fisher arrived in College Station after a very successful eight-year run at FSU, leading the Seminoles to three Atlantic Coast Conference championships, six ten-win seasons, the 2013 national championship and coached Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston.[124] A&M signed Fisher to a 10-year contract worth a total base salary of $75 million, the most lucrative contract in terms of guaranteed money signed by a newly hired head coach in college football history.[125]

Conference affiliations

Championships

National championships

Texas A&M claims three national championships; however, there is no one governing or official body that regulates, recognizes, or awards national championships in college football and many independent selectors of championships exist.

The 1919 team finished 10–0–0 and was not scored upon, earning a retroactive national title by ten selectors, including the Billingsley Report and National Championship Foundation. Other systems retroactively award the 1919 National Championship to either Notre Dame or Harvard.[126][127] The 1927 team finished 8–0–1, with a tie against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, earning a retroactive national title awarded by the Sagarin Rating and the Sagarin ELO-Chess. In 1939, the undefeated Aggies were voted No. 1 by the AP Poll shortly after its inception along with No. 1 in 8 of the 12 other major polls, after the 1939 season. This championship is the Aggies' only consensus national championship.

Season Coach Selectors Record Bowl Opponent Result
1919 Dana X. Bible Billingsley, National Championship Foundation 10–0
1927 Dana X. Bible Sagarin, Sagarin ELO-Chess 8–0–1
1939 Homer H. Norton AP, College Football Researchers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation 11–0 Sugar Bowl Tulane W 14-13

Conference championships

The Aggies have won 18 conference championships;.[citation needed] The first 17 were Southwest Conference championships, and the most recent was the Big 12 Championships won in 1998.

Former head coach R.C. Slocum gives a gig 'em with his Big 12 Championship ring.
Season Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1917 Southwest Conference Dana X. Bible 8–0 2–0
1919 Southwest Conference Dana X. Bible 10–0 4–0
1921 Southwest Conference Dana X. Bible 6–1–2 3–0–2
1925 Southwest Conference Dana X. Bible 7–1–1 4–1
1927 Southwest Conference Dana X. Bible 8–0–1 4–0–1
1939 Southwest Conference Homer H. Norton 11–0 6–0
1940 Southwest Conference Homer Norton 9–1 5–1
1941 Southwest Conference Homer Norton 9–2 5–1
1956 Southwest Conference Paul "Bear" Bryant 9–0–1 6–0
1967 Southwest Conference Gene Stallings 7–4–1 6–1
1975 Southwest Conference Emory Bellard 10–2 6–2
1985 Southwest Conference Jackie Sherrill 10–2 7–1
1986 Southwest Conference Jackie Sherrill 9–3 7–1
1987 Southwest Conference Jackie Sherrill 10–2 7–1
1991 Southwest Conference R. C. Slocum 10–2 8–0
1992 Southwest Conference R. C. Slocum 12–1 7–0
1993 Southwest Conference R. C. Slocum 10–2 7–0
1998 Big 12 R. C. Slocum 11–3 7–1

† Co-champions

Divisional championships

The Aggies were previously members of the Big 12 South between its inception in 1996 and the dissolution of conference divisions within the Big 12 in 2011. The Aggies joined the SEC as members of the SEC West starting in 2012.

Season Division Opponent CG result
1997 Big 12 South Nebraska L 15–54
1998 Big 12 South Kansas State W 36–33
2010 Big 12 South N/A -

† Co-champions – Oklahoma represented the South Division in the 2010 Big 12 Championship Game due to a BCS[citation needed] tiebreaker.

Bowl games

Texas A&M has participated in 39 bowl games. The Aggies have a bowl record of 17–22 (.436). During their 81 years in the Southwest Conference, the Aggies went 12–10 (.545) in bowl games, winning their AP National Championship in 1939. During their 16 years in the Big 12 Conference, the Aggies went 2–9 (.182) in bowl games. Since joining the Southeastern Conference in 2012, the Aggies have gone 3–3 (.500) in bowl games.[128]

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1921 Dana X. Bible Dixie Classic Centre W 22–14
1939 Homer H. Norton Sugar Bowl Tulane W 14–13
1940 Homer H. Norton Cotton Bowl Classic Fordham W 13–12
1941 Homer H. Norton Cotton Bowl Classic Alabama L 21–29
1943 Homer H. Norton Orange Bowl LSU L 14–19
1950 Harry Stiteler Presidential Cup Bowl Georgia W 40–20
1957 Bear Bryant Gator Bowl Tennessee L 0–3
1967 Gene Stallings Cotton Bowl Classic Alabama W 20–16
1975 Emory Bellard Liberty Bowl Southern California L 0–20
1976 Emory Bellard Sun Bowl Florida W 37–14
1977 Emory Bellard Bluebonnet Bowl Southern California L 28–47
1978 Tom Wilson Hall of Fame Classic Iowa State W 28–12
1981 Tom Wilson Independence Bowl Oklahoma State W 33–16
1985 Jackie Sherrill Cotton Bowl Classic Auburn W 36–16
1986 Jackie Sherrill Cotton Bowl Classic Ohio State L 12–28
1987 Jackie Sherrill Cotton Bowl Classic Notre Dame W 35–10
1989 R. C. Slocum John Hancock Bowl Pittsburgh L 28–31
1990 R. C. Slocum Holiday Bowl BYU W 65–14
1991 R. C. Slocum Cotton Bowl Classic Florida State L 2–10
1992 R. C. Slocum Cotton Bowl Classic Notre Dame L 3–28
1993 R. C. Slocum Cotton Bowl Classic Notre Dame L 21–24
1995 R. C. Slocum Alamo Bowl Michigan W 22–20
1997 R. C. Slocum Cotton Bowl Classic UCLA L 23–29
1998 R. C. Slocum Sugar Bowl Ohio State L 14–24
1999 R. C. Slocum Alamo Bowl Penn State L 0–24
2000 R. C. Slocum Independence Bowl Mississippi State L 41–43
2001 R. C. Slocum Galleryfurniture.com Bowl TCU W 28–9
2004 Dennis Franchione Cotton Bowl Classic Tennessee L 7–38
2006 Dennis Franchione Holiday Bowl Cal L 10–45
2007 Gary Darnell (interim) Alamo Bowl Penn State L 17–24
2009 Mike Sherman Independence Bowl Georgia L 20–44
2010 Mike Sherman Cotton Bowl Classic LSU L 24–41
2011 Tim DeRuyter (interim) Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Northwestern W 33–22
2012 Kevin Sumlin Cotton Bowl Classic Oklahoma W 41–13
2013 Kevin Sumlin Chick-fil-A Bowl Duke W 52–48
2014 Kevin Sumlin Liberty Bowl West Virginia W 45–37
2015 Kevin Sumlin Music City Bowl Louisville L 21–27
2016 Kevin Sumlin Texas Bowl Kansas State L 28–33
2017 Kevin Sumlin Belk Bowl Wake Forest L 52–55

Top 25 finishes

The Aggies have finished in the final season rankings of the AP Poll and Coaches Poll 26 times.[citation needed][when?] The AP Poll first appeared in 1934, and has been published continuously since 1936. The Coaches Poll began its ranking with 20 teams in 1950–51 season, but expanded to 25 teams beginning in the 1990–91 season.[129][not in citation given]

Season AP rank Coaches rank
1939 1 N/A
1940 6 N/A
1941 9 N/A
1955 17 14
1956 5 5
1957 9 10
1974 16 15
1975 11 12
1976 7 8
1978 19 18
1985 6 7
1986 13 12
1987 10 9
1989 20 -
1990 15 13
1991 12 13
1992 7 6
1993 9 8
1994 8 -
1995 15 15
1997 20 21
1998 11 13
1999 23 20
2010 19 21
2012 5 5
2013 18 18

Rivalries

LSU Tigers

Texas A&M and LSU were both members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association from 1903–1908 and 1912–1914 and are both currently members of the SEC l. The Aggies first played the Tigers in College Station in 1899, winning 52–0. The Tigers are the Aggies' seventh-oldest collegiate-football rival.

Over the years, the two teams have built good home-field advantages, and the series' record is reflective of these reputations. The Aggies are 7–4–1 in College Station, 10–25–1 in Baton Rouge, and 3–4–1 at neutral sites (including the losses in the 1944 Orange Bowl in Miami and the 2011 Cotton Bowl in Dallas). Through 1923, the Aggies built a 7–3–2 advantage (which included neutral site games in New Orleans in 1908, Houston in 1913, Dallas in 1914, Galveston in 1916, and San Antonio in 1917). The Aggies and Tigers next played every year from 1942 to 1949 during the regular season with all of the games held in Baton Rouge. The Aggies were 2–7 in those match-ups with LSU winning the last five. In addition to the regular season match-up in 1943, the Aggies and Tigers also faced each other in the first bowl match-up of their rivalry. Though the Aggies won the regular season game 28–13, the Tigers won the January 1, 1944, Orange Bowl 19–14.

The Aggies and Tigers met twice more in 1955 and 1956 with the Aggies taking both match-ups (the 1955 game was held at a neutral site in Dallas, and the 1956 game was held in Baton Rouge). From 1960 to 1975, the Aggies and Tigers produced the most consecutive match-ups of the series. The Aggies were 3–12–1 over this span, with all games in Baton Rouge to allow Texas A&M to take home a larger gate than it would have earned playing in College Station.

After an eleven-year absence, the rivalry was renewed in 1986 and continued until their last regular season meeting in 1995, this time with the games alternating between Baton Rouge (even-numbered years) and College Station (odd-numbered years). The Aggies were 6–4 over this span, winning the last five meetings - four of which were against LSU teams coached by former Aggie Curley Hallman - and winning six of the last seven meetings.

From 1996 through 2011, the Aggies and Tigers faced each other only once, in the Cotton Bowl Classic. It was only the second time the teams faced each other in a bowl game. The Tigers won 41–24.

The series resumed in 2012, due to the Aggies joining the SEC. LSU won the first ever SEC matchup 24-19 at College Station. In 2013, #22 LSU won 34–10, Texas A&M's first SEC road loss. In 2014, they played on Thanksgiving night for the first time in the series history. The last time LSU played on the holiday was 1973. LSU beat Texas A&M 23-17 at College Station. The Tigers continued their dominance of A&M in 2015 (19-7 at Baton Rouge), 2016 (54-39 at College Station), and 2017 (45-21 at Baton Rouge). The next meeting is scheduled for November 24, 2018 at College Station.

Starting in 2014, the Aggies became LSU's final regular season opponent. Arkansas, which had been LSU's final regular season opponent from 1992 through 2013 (except in 2001 due to LSU's game vs. Auburn being rescheduled to the end of the regular season in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks) now plays Missouri the same weekend of the A&M-LSU game.

Over the life of the series, the Aggies have claimed the largest margin of victory with a 63–9 final score in 1914 (the Aggies also have the next two largest margins of victory with the 52–0 win in 1899 and 47–0 win in 1922). The Aggies have shut-out the Tigers 7 times (including the Aggies' non-university recognized National Championship Season of 1917 when they did not surrender a point during 8 games, and beat the Tigers 27–0). The Tigers have shut-out the Aggies 9 times (including the Tigers' non-university recognized National Championship season of 1908, when they beat the Aggies 26–0, and the Tigers' non-university recognized National Championship season of 1962, when they beat the Aggies 21–0). Add to those totals the game in which the Aggies and Tigers shut each other out 0–0 in 1920. The Tigers hold the series' longest winning streak of 6 games from 1960 to 1966 and 2011 to present. The 1960 winning streak was part of a 10-game unbeaten streak for the Tigers from 1960 to 1969 which included a 7–7 tie in 1966. From 1945-1973 was the most dominant span by either team in the series history. LSU was 17-3-1 vs Texas A&M during this span.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Aggies first played the Razorbacks in 1903. From 1934–1991, the two teams played annually as Southwest Conference members. In 1991, however, Arkansas left the Southwest Conference to join the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas leads the all-time series 41–30–3.

On March 10, 2008, officials from both schools announced the revival of the series, which recommenced on October 3, 2009. The game is played at Cowboys Stadium, which was initially expected to hold about 80,000 fans. The game is dubbed "The Southwest Classic", which pays homage to both schools' past relationship to the Southwest Conference. The initial agreement between the two schools allows the game to be played for at least 10 years, followed by five consecutive four-year rollover options, allowing the game to be played for a total of 30 consecutive seasons.[130][131][132]

Once the Aggies joined the SEC, the agreement with Cowboys Stadium came to an end because the SEC does not allow its members to entertain potential recruits at neutral-site games. However, the SEC has removed this recruiting rule, and the Aggies and Razorbacks will again move the rivalry to AT&T Stadium in 2014. (cf. Georgia and Florida, which play at a neutral site, do not intend to entertain recruits at that site.) The agreement is expected to last at least 11 seasons, or through the 2024 football season.

Over the life of the series, the Aggies have shut out the Razorbacks 10 times, and been shut out 9 times. The Aggies hold the largest margin of victory with a 58–10 win in College Station on September 29, 2012 (the Aggies also hold the second-largest margin of victory with a 41-0 win in College Station in 1942). The Razorbacks hold the longest winning streak in the series of 9 games from 1958 to 1966.

Texas Longhorns

2006 Lone Star Showdown football game

The Texas-Texas A&M rivalry dates back to 1894. It is the longest-running rivalry for both teams. It ranks as the third most-played rivalry in Division I-A college football,[133] and the most-played intrastate rivalry. However, as rivalries go, it’s not a particularly close one: Texas beats Texas A&M twice for every Aggie win—the all-time record is Texas 75 wins–Texas A&M 37 wins, five ties.[134] Most of these lopsided victories occurred prior A&M's transition from all male military school, and the rivalry has been fairly even since. Until the rivalry ended in 2012, the two teams played each other every year since 1894 with the exception of six seasons [1895 (when the Aggies did not field a team), 1896, 1897, 1913, and 1914]. During some seasons, the Aggies and Longhorns played each other twice.

In an attempt to generate more attention for the rivalry in sports other than football, in 2004 the two schools started the Lone Star Showdown,[135] a trial two-year program. Essentially, each time the two schools meet in a sport, the winner of the matchup gets a point. At the end of the year, the school with the most points wins the series and receives the Lone Star Showdown trophy.

Aspects of the rivalry include:

  • Each school mentions the other in its fight song (Texas with "and it's goodbye to A&M" in Texas Fight,[136] and the Aggies singing "Goodbye to Texas University, so long to the orange and the white" as the opening line of the second verse of the Aggie War Hymn),[137] and "saw Varsity's horns off" about Texas in the chorus.
  • The football series between the two universities is the third longest running rivalry in all of college football.[138] Since 1900, the last regular season football game is usually reserved for their matchup.[139]
  • Each school has elaborate pre-game preparations for the annual football clash, including the Aggie Bonfire[140] and the Hex Rally.[141]
  • Texas has a unique lighting scheme for the UT Tower after wins over Texas A&M.[142]
  • In the past, mischief has preceded the annual game, such as the "kidnapping" of Bevo.[143][144]

Though the Longhorns lead the series overall (76-37-5), the series has been much closer since 1965 (when Texas A&M dropped compulsory participation in the Corps of Cadets). Since that time, the Aggies have accumulated 20 wins to 27 losses. During the last 40 meetings (from 1972—when the NCAA introduced scholarship limitations—to the present), the series is nearly even at 19–21. The Aggies best years in recent times were from 1984 to 1994 when they won 10 out of 11 games, losing only in 1990 by one point.

Over the life of the series the Aggies have shut out the Longhorns 13 times, and have been shut out 27 times (including scoreless ties in 1902, 1907, and 1921). However, since 1961, neither team has been shut out. The Aggies and Longhorns have never had a game decided in overtime. The Longhorns hold the largest margin of victory with a 48–0 win in Austin on October 22, 1898 (the second meeting in the series). The Longhorns also hold the series' longest winning streak of 10 games from 1957 to 1966. In addition, the Longhorns had an 11-game unbeaten streak from 1940 to 1950 that included a 14–14 tie in 1948.

In the 75 meetings since 1936 when the Associated Press College Poll began, the Aggies and Longhorns have faced each other 59 times when one or both teams have been ranked (the Aggies have been ranked 25 times, whereas the Longhorns have been ranked 44 times). In those 59 meetings, the lower-ranked or unranked team has won 11 times (the Aggies did it six times—1951, 1979, 1984, 1999, 2006, and 2007; the Longhorns did it five times—1941, 1955, 1957, 1974, and 1998).

Baylor Bears

The Aggies first played the Baylor Bears in 1899, and competed with them annually since 1945.[145] It is the Aggies' eighth-oldest collegiate-football rivalry, and their third most played behind TCU and Texas. The rivalry is nicknamed the Battle of the Brazos, a term coined after the Brazos River, which flows by the two schools which are only 90 miles (145 km) apart. Texas A&M leads the series 68–31–9.[146] The Aggies' 68 wins against the Bears is the highest number of wins that the Aggies have accumulated against any team. From 1960-1990 the rivalry was very competitive as A&M won 16 times, Baylor won 13 times, and 2 games ended in ties; while many of the games were decided by 7 points or less.

Over the life of the series, the Aggies have shutout the Bears 29 times (including scoreless ties in 1903, 1923, 1932, and 1936). The Bears have shutout the Aggies 11 times (including those same scoreless ties). The Aggies hold the largest margin of victory with a 73–10 win in College Station on October 11, 2003, as well as the second-largest margin of victory with a 53–0 win in College Station in 1912. The Aggies hold the longest winning streak in the series of 13 games from 1991 to 2003. That winning streak is also part of a 18-game unbeaten streak for the Aggies from 1986 to 2003 (the Aggies and Bears played to a 20–20 tie in 1990).

As with the Texas Longhorns rivalry, the Baylor rivalry was put on hold after the 2011 season with the Aggies decision to leave the Big 12 Conference. When A&M announced its decision to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC in 2011, then-Baylor president Kenneth Starr filed suit in federal court in an attempt to block A&M from moving. Eventually the lawsuit was dropped, and soon thereafter, Missouri announced it was joining A&M in departing the Big 12 for the SEC.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Aggies first played the Red Raiders in 1927. The Aggies lead the all-time series 37–32–1.[147]

Over the life of the series, the Aggies have shutout the Red Raiders four times, and the Red Raiders have shutout the Aggies four times. The Aggies hold the largest margin of victory with a 47–6 win in College Station on November 28, 1927. The Aggies and Red Raiders each have win streaks of six games, which are the longest in the series (the Aggies' streak included the 1927 and 1932 games as well as the games from 1942 to 1945; the Red Raiders' streak was uninterrupted from 1968 to 1973).

TCU Horned Frogs

The Texas A&M/TCU rivalry began in 1897 and is the Aggies' third-oldest collegiate-football rivalry (behind the Texas A&M/Texas rivalry which began in 1894, and the Texas A&M/Austin College rivalry which began in 1896). The Aggies have accumulated 56 wins against the Horned Frogs (which is their second-highest total against any collegiate program). Though the Aggies no longer play the Horned Frogs annually since the Southwest Conference disbanded in 1996, this series is still notable because it contains the longest, active winning streak that the Aggies have against any opponent, 24, with the last win coming on December 28, 2001, in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, played in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The Horned Frogs have not beaten the Aggies since October 21, 1972, when they won in College Station with a final score of 13–10. Adding further intrigue to this series is the fact that the Aggies' National Championship Season of 1939 succeeded the Horned Frogs' National Championship Season of 1938.

Over the life of the series, the Aggies have shutout the Horned Frogs 21 times, and been shutout 9 times (including scoreless ties in 1909 and 1927). The Aggies hold the largest margin of victory with a 74–10 win in College Station on November 22, 1986 (the Aggies also hold the next ten-largest margins of victory, with each ranging from 34 to 56 points). The Aggies' current winning streak of 24 games from 1973 to 1995 and including the 2001 galleryfurniture.com Bowl is the longest in the series.

At a yell practice before the 1930 TCU game, A&M Board of Regents member Pinky Downs '06 shouted, "What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?" His muse did not fail him as he improvised, borrowing a term from frog hunting. "Gig 'em, Aggies!" he said as he made a fist with his thumb extended straight up. And with that the first hand sign in the Southwest Conference came into being.[148] The "Hook 'em Horns" cheer was also invented by a UT cheerleader prior to the November 12, 1955 UT-TCU game.[149] TCU wound up winning both of these historic games.

Player accomplishments

Individual awards

Texas A&M Football has eight players who have won a total of eighteen trophies: John David Crow won the Heisman Trophy in 1957; Dat Nguyen won the Lombardi Award and Chuck Bednarik Award in 1998; Von Miller won the Butkus Award in 2010; Randy Bullock won the Lou Groza Award in 2011; redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award, AP College Football Player of the Year, and the Davey O'Brien Award in 2012; Luke Joeckel won the Outland Trophy in 2012; Myles Garrett won the Bill Willis Award in 2015; and Trevor Knight won the Wuerffel Trophy in 2016.

Several other players received recognition from the award organizations, including:

Texas A&M first-team All-Americans

In the years since 1889, several organizations and publications have recognized the top players in the nation by naming them to All-America teams. To be considered an All-American, a player needs to be named to the first-team on at least one of the lists of these organizations. In addition, the NCAA further recognizes certain players by honoring them with the "Consensus" All-American title. At present, the Consensus honor is determined by referencing the first, second, and third teams of five organizations and assigning a varying amount of points for each time a player appears on one of those five lists. The points are totaled and the player with the most points at his position is awarded the Consensus honor. The five organizations whose lists are used for the Consensus determination are the Associated Press (AP),[157] American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).,[158] Football Writers Association of America (FWAA),[159] Sporting News (TSN).,[160] and Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF).[161] Finally, a player can be recognized with the "Unanimous Consensus" honor if all five of the previously listed organizations have recognized that player as a First-Team All-American.

Texas A&M has had 53 players that have been named First-Team All-Americans for a total of 72 seasons (19 players have been honored in two different seasons). 30 of those were Consensus All-Americans. Texas A&M has had 27 All-Americans on Offense, 34 All-Americans on Defense, and 11 All-Americans on Special Teams. The Linebacker position is the most represented position with 14 selections (Offensive Tackle/Offensive Guard is the next highest with 12 selections). Texas A&M has had an All-American selection at every position, and has had at least one All-American in every decade since the 1930s. The highest number of All-Americans during one decade took place from 1990 to 1999 when 16 players were named All-Americans for a total of 18 seasons.

Name Position Years at Texas A&M All-America
AP (Since 1925) AFCA (Since 1945) FWAA (Since 1944) TSN (Since 1934) WCFF (Since 1889) Other Consensus Unanimous Consensus
Sam Adams DE 1991–1993 1993 1993 1993 1993 1993[162] 1993
Antonio Armstrong LB 1991-1994 1994 1994[163]
Mike Arthur C 1987-1990 1990
Patrick Bates FS 1992 1992 1992 1992[164]
Rod Bernstine TE 1983–1986 1986[165]
Joe Boyd (American football) OT 1936-1939 1939[166]
Marcus Buckley LB 1990–1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992[162] 1992 1992
Randy Bullock PK 2008–2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011[167] 2011
Ray Childress DT 1981–1984 1984 1983, 1984[168] 1984
Quentin Coryatt LB 1989-1991 1991[165]
John David Crow RB 1955–1957 1957 1957 1957 1956, 1957 1957 1957[169] 1957 1957
Dave Elmendorf FS 1968–1970 1970 1970 1970
Mike Evans WR 2012-2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013
Tony Franklin PK 1975–1978 1976, 1978 1976[170] 1976
Myles Garrett DE 2014- 2016 2016 2015, 2016 2016 2015, 2016 2016[171] 2016 2016
Aaron Glenn DB 1992–1993 1993 1993 1993 1993 1993 1993[172] 1993 1993
Dennis Goehring OG 1953-1956 1956
Jacob Green DE 1977–1979 1979 1979 1978
Lester Hayes FS 1973–1976 1976
Bill Hobbs LB 1965-1968 1967 1968[168]
Johnny Holland LB 1983–1986 1985 1985 1986[163] 1985
Robert Jackson LB 1973-1976 1976 1976 1976 1976 1976 1976[173] 1976 1976
Luke Joeckel OT 2010-2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012[174] 2012 2012
Drew Kaser P 2012-2015 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013, 2015[175] 2013 2013
John Kimbrough FB 1938–1940 1939, 1940 1939, 1940 1939,[176] 1940[177] 1939, 1940 1940
Christian Kirk PR 2015- 2015[178]
Charlie Krueger OT 1955–1957 1957 1956,[179] 1957[179]
Rolf Krueger OT 1965-1968 1968 1968[180]
Shane Lechler P 1996–1999 1999 1998 1999[181]
Darren Lewis RB 1987–1990 1988, 1990 1990 1988 1990 1990[182] 1990
Jack Little FB 1949-1952 1951 1952
Leeland McElroy AP/KR 1993–1995 1995 1994 1994 1994 1994[183] 1994
Johnny Manziel QB 2012-2013 2012,2013 2012 2012 2012 2012,2013[174][184] 2012
Jake Matthews OT 2010-2013 2013 2013 2012,2013 2013 2013 2013 2013 2013
Tommy Maxwell FS 1965-1968 1968 1968[180]
Ray Mickens DB 1992-1995 1995
Von Miller DE/LB 2007–2010 2010 2009 2010 2009,[185] 2010[186] 2010
Brandon Mitchell DE 1993–1996 1995
Keith Mitchell LB 1993–1996 1996[163]
Damontre Moore DE 2010-2012 2012 2012 2012 2012[184] 2012
Maurice "Mo" Moorman OT 1966-1967 1966 1966 1966[180]
Dat Nguyen LB 1995–1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998[163] 1998 1998
Steve O'Neal P 1965-1968 1968
Jack Pardee FB 1954–1956 1956 1956[187]
Marshall Robnett OG 1938–1940 1940 1940[188] 1940
John Roper LB 1985–1988 1987 1987 1987
Joe Routt OG 1935–1937 1936, 1937 1937[189] 1937
Ed Simonini LB 1972–1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975 1975[182] 1975 1975
Bob Smith RB 1949–1951 1950[190]
Kevin Smith CB 1988–1991 1991 1991 1991 1991 1991[191] 1991
Garth TenNapel LB 1973-1975 1975[165]
Pat Thomas CB 1972–1975 1974, 1975 1975 1974 1975 1974,[165] 1975[192] 1974, 1975
Jason Webster DB 1996–1999 1999[193]

Hall of Fame

College Football Hall of Fame coaches

Coach Years Induction
Madison A. "Matty" Bell 1929–1933 1955
Dana X. Bible 1917, 1919–1928 1951
Paul "Bear" Bryant 1954–1957 1986
Homer H. Norton 1934–1947 1971
Gene Stallings 1965–1971 2010
RC Slocum 1982–2002 2012

College Football Hall of Fame players

Player Position Years Induction
Ray Childress DT 1981–1984 2010
John David Crow HB 1955–1957 1976
Dave Elmendorf S 1968–1970 1997
Joel Hunt HB 1925–1927 1967
John Kimbrough FB 1938–1940 1954
Charlie Krueger T 1955–1957 1983
Jack Pardee FB 1954–1956 1986
Joe Routt G 1935–1937 1962
Gene Stallings DB 1954–1956 2010
Joe Utay HB 1905–1907 1974

Pro Football Hall of Fame players

Player Position Years Induction
Yale Lary S 1948–1951 1979

Traditions

12th Man

Aggie football fans call themselves the 12th Man, meaning they are there to support the 11 players on the field. To further symbolize their "readiness, desire, and enthusiasm," the entire student body stands throughout the game.[194] In a further show of respect, the students step "off the wood" (step off the bleachers onto the concrete) whenever a player is injured or when the band plays the Aggie War Hymn or The Spirit of Aggieland.[195][196]

Seniors wearing either their Senior boots or Aggie Rings are also encouraged to join the "Boot Line." As the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band leaves the field after their half-time performances, seniors line up at the south end of Kyle Field to welcome the team back onto the field for the second half.[197]

The tradition began in Dallas on January 2, 1922, at the Dixie Classic, the forerunner of the Cotton Bowl Classic. A&M played defending national champion Centre College in the first post-season game in the southwest. In this hard fought game, which produced national publicity, an underdog Aggie team was slowly defeating a team which had allowed fewer than 6 points per game. The first half produced so many injuries for A&M that Coach D. X. Bible feared he wouldn’t have enough men to finish the game. At that moment, he called into the Aggie section of the stands for E. King Gill, a student who had left football after the regular season to play basketball. Gill, who was spotting players for a Waco newspaper and was not in football uniform, donned the uniform of injured player Heine Weir and stood on the sidelines to await his turn. Although he did not actually play in the game, his readiness to play symbolized the willingness of all Aggies to support their team to the point of actually entering the game. When the game ended in a 22–14 Aggie victory, Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, "I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me."[198]

In the 1980s, the tradition was expanded as coach Jackie Sherrill created the 12th Man squad led by 12th man standout Dean Berry. Composed solely of walk-on (non-scholarship) players, the squad would take the field for special teams' performances.[198] This squad never allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown.[199] Sherrill's successor, R. C. Slocum, amended the tradition in the 1990s to allow one walk-on player, wearing the No. 12 jersey, to take the field for special teams' plays.[198] The player is chosen based on the level of determination and hard work shown in practices. Coach Dennis Franchione has continued Slocum's model, while also keeping an all-walk-on kickoff team that played three times in the 2006 season.[199]

Bonfire

Aggie Bonfire was a long-standing tradition at Texas A&M University as part of a college rivalry with the University of Texas at Austin, known as t.u. by Texas A&M students. For ninety years, Texas A&M students built and burned a large bonfire on campus each fall. Known within the Aggie community simply as Bonfire, the annual fall event symbolized the students' "burning desire to beat the hell outta t.u."[200] The bonfire was traditionally lit around Thanksgiving in conjunction with the festivities surrounding the annual game between the schools.[201]

The first on-campus Aggie Bonfire was burned in 1909, and the tradition continued for the next 90 years.[201] For almost two decades, Bonfire was constructed from debris and pieces of wood that Aggies "found," including lumber intended for a dormitory that students appropriated in 1912.[202] The event became school-sanctioned in 1936, and, for the first time, students were provided with axes, saws, and trucks and pointed towards a grove of dead trees on the edge of town.[201] In the following years the Bonfire became more elaborate, and in 1967 the flames could be seen 25 miles (40 km) away. In 1969, the stack set the world record at 111 feet (30 m) tall.[201][203]

In 1978, Bonfire shifted to a wedding-cake style, in which upper stacks of logs were wedged on top of lower stacks. The structure was built around a fortified centerpole, made from two telephone poles.[204] Although tradition stated that if Bonfire burned through midnight A&M would win the following day's game, with the introduction of the wedding cake design Bonfire began to fall very quickly, sometimes burning for only 30 or 45 minutes.[205]

At 2:42 am on November 18, 1999, the partially completed Aggie Bonfire, standing 40 feet (10 m) tall and consisting of about 5000 logs, collapsed during construction. Of the 58 students and former students working on the stack, 12 were killed and 27 others were injured.[204] On November 25, 1999, the date that Bonfire would have burned, Aggies instead held a vigil and remembrance ceremony. Over 40,000 people, including former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara and then-Texas governor George W. Bush and his wife Laura, lit candles and observed up to two hours of silence at the site of the Bonfire collapse.[206] The Bonfire Memorial was officially dedicated on November 18, 2004.[207]

Bonfire was postponed until 2002 in order to restructure it to make it safer. Delays in the development of a safety plan and a high estimated cost (mainly due to liability insurance), led A&M president Ray Bowen to postpone Bonfire indefinitely.[208] Despite the university's refusal to allow Bonfire to take place on campus, since 2002 a non-university sanctioned Bonfire has burned annually.[209] Known as Student Bonfire, the off-campus event draws between 8,000 and 15,000 fans.[210] Student Bonfire utilizes many changes for safety purposes, and has only recorded two serious injuries since its inception, neither life-threatening. The newly designed stack was designed by a professional engineer (a former student) and features a center pole with 4 perimeter poles connected via "windle-sticks". In the new design, the height is capped at 45 feet (not including the outhouse), and all the logs touch the ground. Alcohol is strictly prohibited from all student bonfire functions as it was revealed that a number of the students working on the collapsed bonfire in 1999 had BACs higher than the legal driving limit.

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band marches in ATM formation during halftime at Kyle Field.

Fightin' Texas Aggie Band

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band (also known as The Noble Men of Kyle or the Aggie Band) is the official marching band of Texas A&M University. Composed of over 400 men and women from the school's Corps of Cadets,[211] it is the largest military marching band in the world. The complex straight-line maneuvers, performed exclusively to traditional marches, are so complicated and precise that computer marching simulations say they cannot be performed.[212]

Since its inception in 1894, its members eat together, sleep in the same dormitories, and practice up to forty hours per week on top of a full academic schedule. The Aggie Band performs at all home football games, some away games, and university and Corps functions throughout the year. Other events in which the band participated include inauguration parades for many United States Presidents and Texas Governors, major annual parades across the country, and the dedication ceremony for the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library.[213][214][215]

Midnight Yell Practice

Midnight Yell Practice is a pep rally usually held the night before a football game. If the football game is to be held at Kyle Field, midnight yell takes place the day of the football game at 12:00 am If the football game is an away game, a yell is held on the Thursday night before at the Corps Arches on the Texas A&M campus, and Midnight Yell will be held in the city the game is being played.

Wrecking Crew

Hand sign for the Wrecking Crew

The term Wrecking Crew is a name given to defenses of the football team.[216][217] The term, coined by defensive back Chet Brooks, became popular during the coach R. C. Slocum's tenure in 80s and the 90s. After the coach's firing, many fans, coaches, and sports analysts feel that recent Aggie defenses have not "earned" the title.[217][218] Despite this, the university still owns a trademark on the term.[219]

Yell Leaders

Yell Leaders are five students who lead the crowd in yells during the games. The team consists of three seniors and two juniors elected by the student body. The Yell Leaders take the place of traditional "cheerleaders" and perform many of the same functions without the gymnastics and dance routines. They also participate in post-game activities such as being thrown in the Fish Pond if the team wins, or leading the student body in the singing of The Twelfth Man if the team loses.

Future opponents

Non-division opponents

Texas A&M plays South Carolina as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the East division among the other six schools.[220]

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
at South Carolina vs South Carolina at South Carolina vs South Carolina at South Carolina vs South Carolina at South Carolina vs South Carolina
vs Kentucky at Georgia vs Vanderbilt at Missouri vs Florida at Tennessee vs Georgia at Kentucky

Non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of July 9, 2018[221]

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
at Clemson vs North Texas at Colorado vs Miami at Miami vs Notre Dame at Notre Dame vs Arizona State at Arizona State
vs UTSA vs Colorado vs New Mexico vs Appalachian State vs New Mexico
vs Lamar vs Fresno State vs Kent State
vs Texas State vs Abilene Christian

See also

References

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External links