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Appreciating Sumlin

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Comparing Coach Sumlin's road record against Top 25 teams to past A&M coaches is eye opening.

Kevin C. Cox

Coach Sumlin has been Texas A&M's head coach for 36 games. His record so far is 27-9 (13-9) with bowl wins over two power 5 teams. That's good. But what's more interesting is how his success has not been tied to Kyle Field. Would you believe Kevin Sumlin's record at Kyle Field is actually worse than his road record? It is. Sumlin is 13-5 at home and a solid 14-4 away from the friendly confines of College Station: 10-4 in true road games and 4-0 in neutral site games. An astounding 11 out of Sumlin's 18 games away from Kyle Field have been against Top 25 competition. That's a rough road. It also speaks to the quality of the SEC, particularly the SEC West, whose daunting competition effectively guarantees tough contests on the road every season. Grueling road games are something the SWC and, to a lesser extent the Big 12, did not offer. Sumlin has handled the road admirably, going 7-4 in SEC games, with two wins over Top 5 teams. Last night, it was mentioned that Coach Sumlin already has two road wins over top 5 teams at A&M. In the context of A&M's football history, that's incredible.

So how does Sumlin's performance stack up with past Aggie coaches? How much of their success was tied to playing in front of the 12th Man? First, let's breakdown Coach Sumlin's record:

Kevin Sumlin

True road games against Top 25 teams:  4-4

Kevin Sumlin - road games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2012

Win

Miss State

17

38

13

2012

Win

Alabama

1

29

24

2013

Loss

LSU

18

10

34

2013

Loss

Mizzou

5

21

28

2014

Win

USC

9

52

28

2014

Loss

Miss State

12

31

48

2014

Loss

Bama

7

0

59

2014

Win

Auburn

3

41

38

Neutral site games against Top 25 teams: 3-0

Kevin Sumlin - neutral site games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2012

Win

La Tech

23

59

57

2012

Win

Oklahoma

12

41

13

2013

Win

Duke

22

52

48

Total record in games away from Kyle Field against top  25 competition:  7-4

Best true road win: Beat #1 Alabama 29-24 in 2012.

Best neutral site win: Beat #12 Oklahoma 41-13 in 2012 Cotton Bowl

Now, lets compare that to his predecessors, starting with A&M's all-time winningest coach, R.C. Slocum

R.C. Slocum

Coach Slocum took over for Jackie Sherrill in 1989, below are the games in which A&M left home to face a top 25 opponent in opponent at their house:

R.C. Slocum - road games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

1990

Loss

Houston

12

31

36

1990

Loss

Texas

5

27

28

1991

Win

Baylor

16

34

12

1993

Loss

Okalahoma

16

14

44

1995

Loss

Colorado

7

21

29

1997

Win

Colorado

16

16

10

1997

Loss

Kansas State

20

17

36

1999

Loss

Nebraska

9

0

37

2000

Loss

Texas

12

17

43

2001

Loss

Colorado

20

21

31

2001

Loss

Oklahoma

3

10

31

2002

Loss

Texas

10

20

50

It is amazing, but in 14 seasons as the A&M head coach, Coach Slocum only coached 12 true road games against Top 25 teams. Coach Sumlin has already coached in 8 in 2.5 years. R.C's record against top opponents in their house: two wins, ten losses.  The only wins?  Over #16 Baylor in 1991 and over #16 Colorado in 1997.  That's it. That's right, sportsfans, R.C. Slocum never beat a Top 10 team in their building. Never.  Coach Sumlin has already done it twice.

Ok, but what about 1998 KSU? Well, that wasn't a true road game, but lets look at Coach Slocum's neutral site record against top teams.  In neutral site/bowl games against Top 25 teams, RC was a combined 4-9. The best win was obviously KSU in 1998.  The other wins? #13 BYU in 1991, #20 Stanford in 1992, #14 Michigan in 1995.

R.C. Slocum - neutral site games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

1989

Loss

Pitt

23

28

31

1990

Win

BYU

13

65

14

1991

Loss

Florida State

5

2

10

1992

Win

Stanford

20

10

7

1992

Loss

Notre Dame

5

3

28

1993

Loss

Notre Dame

4

21

24

1995

Win

Michigan

14

22

20

1997

Loss

Nebraska

2

15

54

1997

Loss

UCLA

5

23

29

1998

Loss

Florida State

2

14

23

1998

Win

Kansas State

2

36

33

1998

Loss

Ohio State

3

14

24

1999

Loss

Penn State

13

0

24

Summary:

True road games against Top 25 teams:  2-10

Neutral site games against Top 25 teams: 4-9

Total record in games away from Kyle Field against top  25 competition: 6-19

Best true road win: Beat #16 Colorado 16-10 in 1997.

Best neutral site win: Beat #2 Kansas State 36-33 in 1998 Big 12 Championship.

Ok, enough dancing on R.C.'s coaching grave. Are your prepared for real horror?

Dennis F***chione

True road games against Top 25 teams:  2-8

Dennis Franchione - road games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2003

Loss

Va Tech

8

19

35

2003

Loss

Nebraska

21

12

48

2003

Loss

Oklahoma

1

0

77

2004

Loss

Utah

20

21

41

2004

Win

Ok State

16

36

30

2004

Loss

Texas

6

13

26

2005

Loss

Texas Tech

16

17

56

2006

Win

Texas

11

12

7

2007

Loss

Oklahoma

5

14

42

2007

Loss

Missouri

7

26

40

Neutral site games against Top 25 teams: 0-2

Dennis Franchione - neutral site games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2004

Loss

Tennessee

15

7

38

2006

Loss

Cal

20

10

45

Total record in games away from Kyle Field against top  25 competition: 2-10

Best road win: Beat #11 Texas 12-7 in 2006

Best neutral site win: None.

Summary: About what you would expect.  After all, the cupboard was bare!  The wins? #16 Oklahoma State in 2004 and #11 Texas in 2006. He wasn't any better in neutral site games, with horrific bowl losses to Tennessee and Cal.

Mike Sherman

True road games against Top 25 teams:  1-4

Mike Sherman - road games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2008

Loss

Ok State

22

28

56

2008

Loss

Texas

2

9

49

2009

Win

Texas Tech

24

52

30

2011

Loss

Oklahoma

7

25

41

2011

Loss

Kansas State

17

50

53

Neutral site games against Top 25 teams: 0-3

Mike Sherman - neutral site games against Top 25 teams

Year

Result

Opponent

Opponent Rank

Texas A&M

Opponent

2010

Loss

Arkansas

11

17

24

2010

Loss

LSU

11

24

41

2011

Loss

Arkansas

18

38

42

Total: 1-7

Best road win: Beat #24 Texas Tech 52-30 in 2009.

Summary: More of the same, if not worse.  Mike Sherman's lone top 25 road victory was over #24 Texas Tech in 2009. He was also 0-3 in neutral site games against Top 25 competition, dropping 2 games to Arkansas along with being blown out by LSU in the 2010 Cotton Bowl.

Yesterday's win over Auburn should really wake A&M fans up to what we have in Coach Sumlin.  Not only does he provide brand visibility, #SWAGGER, and a flash that A&M fans could have scarcely dreamed of in November 2011, but he provides results. More importantly, he provides hope for the future by demonstrating that a KDS coached team has a chance against anyone, no matter where they play.

So get your popcorn ready, Aggies.