You see, I was born to bleed Aggie maroon. My parents are both graduates of Texas A&M University, and their Aggie passion was passed along to me without them even trying. My dad received his Finance degree from this fine institution in 1969, and my mom received her Accounting degree shortly thereafter in 1970.
It was New Year’s Day in 1988, and I was just 9-years-old at the time. My dad, a Major in the U.S. Army, had been stationed back in the states at Fort Carson. The four of us, including my mom and sister, had just moved back to the Colorado Springs, Colorado area after being overseas in Belgium for four years.
Not long after our arrival back in the great USA, my first real exposure to sports on the television had finally come to fruition. Prior to this one key moment, sports were an afterthought in my young mind. It may have been on a small black and white Zenith television, but that didn’t keep me from watching with absolute and utter awe. The cotton-picking Texas A&M Aggies football program (led by head coach, Jackie Sherrill) had a date with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (under the tutelage of the legendary, Lou Holtz) in the 1988 Cotton Bowl Classic. The Aggies conquered the Irish on that New Year’s Day, 35-10.
Well, you don’t have to watch black and white highlights of the 1988 Cotton Bowl. I found them in color for you.
Watching my parents’ Aggies play along with their screaming and yelling for their alma mater opened a door filled with a love for sports. The next thing I could remember, I was following the program year after year. And Texas A&M football didn’t just spark my interest for the pigskin alone, it penetrated my soul with a love for basketball, baseball, and hockey. I owe this all to my parents and Aggie football.
I’ve been a sports writer since 2013, and my dream of writing about sports wouldn’t have materialized without College Station, Kyle Field and, of course, Reveille. For those of you that are unaware, Reveille is a purebred Rough Collie who serves as the Aggies’ mascot. The most beautiful and well-kept lady you will ever lay eyes upon.
Now that you know the history behind my A&M hysteria, let’s talk a little Aggie football.
With head coach Kevin Sumlin sitting on a seat that’s currently as hot as Hades, things must improve vastly in 2017 for him to keep his job. I honestly have always loved Coach Sumlin and that rare connection he has always had with his players, but with a program like A&M and the higher-tier recruits that come to Aggieland every single year, Sumlin has without a doubt unachieved as the head man. His contract isn’t small change (6-years and $30 million), but the results season after season have to seem to become just that – pennies in a can with the potential for national glory.
What does Coach Sumlin have at his disposal this season that will take the darkness out of the hearts of Aggie football fans everywhere? I’m at a loss for anything other than a fresh start. In Sumlin’s years at the helm in College Station, impressive 5-0 starts have been the norm. But just when you think the Aggies have a chance to pave their way to the College Football Playoff, they seem to always sputter to an 8-5 record by seasons’ end. Playing in the SEC and competing with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole’ Miss in the daunting SEC West hasn’t helped matters any; however, since when did we make excuses for a team playing a tough schedule. Oh yeah, that’s right. . . Never!
I truly miss the 1990s version of Aggie football coached by R. C. Slocum. The “Wrecking Crew” defense, the frequent one or two-loss seasons and the hard-nosed pro-style offense they ran. Now, it’s the fancy spread offense that puts up a bunch of points but surely doesn’t play defense. I can’t complain about Myles Garrett (who became the No. 1-overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 NFL draft) and his unreal effort on every snap, yet I keep having nightmares about the defense’s ability to simply wrap-up and tackle. Please don’t score 50-points on your opponent and give up 51. . . C’mon man! This isn’t Aggie basketball, and it most definitely is not the Arena Football League. Put someone down on the turf for goodness sake.
Quentin Coryatt finishing off a helpless TCU Horned Frog. He ended up breaking the dude’s jaw. Now that’s “Wrecking Crew” defense.
In Part 2, I will preview the upcoming 2017 Texas A&M football season. Will Coach Sumlin make it through the entire season without being fired? What do the Aggies have in store at the quarterback position with three QBs battling it out for the starting gig? Who are their key players on both offense and defense? Do they have a puncher’s chance to pave their way through the brutality that is the SEC West?
These questions and more will be answered in next week’s edition. Until then, stay strong as the 2017 College Football Season is nearly here. All hail the mighty pigskin, and Gig ‘Em Aggies!