Best and Worst Times to be a Texas A&M Football Fan

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The times when Kyle Field was especially rowdy

<p> The times when Kyle Field was especially rowdy</p>

Texas A&M fans are an odd bunch, even for college football and even for the SEC.

No female cheerleaders, just Yell Leaders and Yell Practice. And then there’s Reveille, the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. She goes to class, she can decide with a single utterance if class is called off, and if she takes a cadet’s bed, the cadet sleeps on the floor.

Did we mention she’s a border collie?

This is also the home of the 12th Man and one of the best game-day atmospheres in college football. Texas A&M is part of what makes college football unlike any other sport — even in the way A&M’s identity is wrapped up in what rival Texas is up to.

Right now is a great time to be an A&M fan with Johnny Manziel running all over SEC defenses and the Aggies challenging for a conference and national title. Kevin Sumlin and Manziel pulled the Aggies out of mediocrity, but do these current teams already stack up to the Bear? And what of the lows under Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman? Were they really all that low in comparison to seasons past?

Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck! Here are the best and worst times to be a Texas A&M fan.

Other best times/worst times:
Miami
Nebraska

Notre Dame


BEST TIMES TO BE A TEXAS A&M FAN

1955-57
Record: 24-5-2
National championships: 0
Coach: Bear Bryant
Notable players: John David Crow (right), Charlie Kreuger, Gene Stallings, Jack Pardee
The Junction Boys are a part of college football lore, but it hardly started that way. Those brutal practices in 1954 yielded a 1-9 season. By 1956, the Junction Boys led one of A&M’s greatest teams when the Aggies that year went 9-0-1. The following season, Crow became the Aggies’ first Heisman winner and the only one before Manziel. The glory years under Bryant were short-lived when “Momma called” the coach back to Tuscaloosa. “And when Momma calls, you just have to come runnin’,” Bryant said.

Related: Texas A&M ranks eighth in 2013 countdown

2012-present
Record: 11-2
National championships: 0
Coach: Kevin Sumlin
Notable players: Johnny Manziel, Luke Joeckel, Damontre Moore, Jake Matthews, Ryan Swope
Only one year into the SEC era for Texas A&M, and, yep, this is one of the best times to be a Texas A&M fan. The Aggies are peaking just in time to play in the best conference in the country. The Heisman-winning Manziel has reached sports celebrity status, and the top-five finish was the best since 1956. Beyond the numbers, A&M with Sumlin and Manziel is video game-quality entertainment. The Aggies’ rematch with Alabama on Sept. 14 will have College Station at a fever pitch. And beyond that, Texas is struggling. All is well in Aggieland.

Related: Texas, Texas A&M exchange pleasantries in our list of infamous pranks

1985-94
Record: 95-24-2
National championships: 0
Coaches: Jackie Sherrill, R.C. Slocum
Notable players: Darren Lewis, Mike Arthur, Richmond Webb, Jerry Fontenot, Rod Bernstine, Sam Adams, Johnny Holland, Aaron Wallace, Aaron Glenn, Kevin Smith
Texas A&M’s investment in former Pittsburgh coach Jackie Sherrill in 1982 — for a then-outrageous sum of $267,000 — paid off by 1985 when the Aggies won their first of three consecutive Southwest Conference titles. Sherrill’s successor, R.C. Slocum, had similar success by going 42-5-1 over a four-year span. Overall, Texas A&M had the fourth-best win percentage (79.3 percent) in the country from 1985-94 behind only Miami, Florida State and Nebraska. Beyond that, Texas A&M went 10-1 against Texas from 1984-94, the only loss by one point in 1990. The records were great, but Texas A&M flourished only as the Southwest Conference crumbled. Led by the Wrecking Crew defense, the Aggies went 10-0-1 in 1994 despite being ineligible for the SWC title.

Related: Texas A&M has 10 selections on preseason All-SEC team

1939-41
Record: 29-3
National championships: 1
Coach: Homer Norton
Notable players: John Kimbrough, Joe Boyd
This was the first taste of national success for the Aggies as Texas A&M won its only national title in 1939, going 11-0 with a win over Tulane in the Sugar Bowl. The fullback Kimbrough was the runner up for the Heisman the following season.

Related: 2013 SEC predictions

WORST TIMES TO BE A TEXAS A&M FAN

1958-70
Record: 40-86-6
Coaches: Jim Myers, Hank Foldberg, Gene Stallings
The post-Bryant era brought Texas A&M to pre-Bryant depths. Foldberg was especially bad, leading Texas A&M to a 6-23-1 record in three seasons. Not even Stallings — a Junction Boy who eventually won a national title at Alabama — could win in College Station. He went 27-45-1, including 8-23 from 1968-70. Texas A&M defeated rival Texas only once from 1957-74.

1947-49
Record: 4-23-1
Coaches: Homer Norton, Harry Stiteler
Norton led Texas A&M to its only national championship in 1939, but the shine wore off less than a decade later. Norton went 3-6-1 in his final season, but it only got worse from there as A&M went 1-17-2 the following two seasons. Only Bear Bryant could dig A&M out of this hole.

IT WASN’T SO BAD WHEN...

1997-99
Record: 28-11
National championships: 0
Coach: R.C. Slocum (right)
Notable players: Dat Nguyen, Dante Hall, Seth McKinney
Slocum’s entire tenure probably went underappreciated at A&M, especially in light of the the failed tenures of Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman. The Aggies finished in the top 25 all three seasons from ’97-99, including an 11-3 season and the Aggies’ only Big 12 title in 1998. Slocum would be fired by 2002 with a 123-47-2 record in College Station.

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