Kyle Field is considered by many to be one of the toughest environments in college football if you’re the visiting team. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for conference and ranked opponents.
ESPN’s Chris Fallica said in a tweet Monday morning that while Texas A&M is ranked and facing top-10 opponents in College Station, the Aggies have only posted a 2-9 record since the turn of the millennium.
It’s a fact. Since then, A&M has played more of those games in the SEC than in the Big 12 years, with the wins coming up against No. 9 Nebraska in 2010 and No. 9 Tennessee in 2016.
Although those games were few and far between when A&M competed in the Big 12, they have been more frequent since the Aggies joined the SEC West in 2012.
While A&M has the biggest stadium in the SEC and consistently fills the stands for conference games, the Aggies haven’t been consistent on the field in games that matter.
Since A&M joined the SEC, it’s posted an 11-15 record at home against SEC opponents. In those years, there has only been one where the Aggies finished with an unblemished record. 2018 was also the only year when A&M maintained a winning record at home in SEC matchups.
To make matters worse, the Aggies are 4-10 at home against ranked SEC opponents, with half of those wins coming last season in Kentucky and LSU’s overtime thrillers.
That undefeated streak at home ended against then-No. 8 Auburn earlier this season, but the Aggies will have another chance to beat the odds as they take on No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. As of Monday, A&M is a 17-point underdog, according to Oddshark.com.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher started off his tenure in Aggieland the right way, and it is crucial for his teams not to regress to the mean that emerged during Kevin Sumlin’s time at the helm.
On an Instagram Live video Sunday afternoon, ESPN’s College Gameday host Kirk Herbstreit and Fallica made the argument that while Kyle Field is an exciting and great environment, it isn’t an intimidating one. Fisher did not share the same sentiment.
“I don’t know who would say that or why they would say that,” Fisher said. “I think that this is one of the great places to play in college football. My games since I've been here, it’s been tremendous. ... The atmosphere, the electricity and the fans, I think, are awesome.”
Why would Kyle Field not be an intimidating environment? There isn’t a question that it gets loud (when the Aggies are competitive), and it can be a great atmosphere. The student section is always on its feet. But loud doesn’t necessarily mean its intimidating. It’s the SEC. Every stadium is going to be loud.
Some say it’s because the A&M alumni and fanbase is too classy, and others will say that the only half of the stadium that gets loud is the student section. But consider this: throughout the Sumlin era, A&M fielded few teams that were competitive in the SEC, and there aren’t many fans that want to take time out of their weekend to watch a mediocre team.
Once the program becomes consistent and successful, the fans will eventually follow.
A&M is set to face Alabama Saturday at Kyle Field. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on CBS.