Kevin Sumlin (Photo: USA Today)

Game Week: Texas A&M Facts and Factors

Aug. 30 -- Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has gone from being an NFL coaching candidate to on the hot seat in College Station in a very shot period...

    • UCLA travels to College Station, Tex., to take on the Texas A&M Aggies, Saturday.  The kick-off is slated for 2:30 CT (12:30 PST), and will be televised by CBS.   Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the game.

    • UCLA is ranked 16th in the AP poll, and 24th in the Coaches Poll, while Texas A&M starts the season unranked.

    • Both the Bruins and Aggies are coming off disappointing seasons in 2015. UCLA went 8-5, ending the season with a loss against USC and one against a 5-7 Nebraska team in the Foster Farms Bowl.  Texas A&M, similarly, went 8-5 and lost in the Music City Bowl to Louisville.

    • UCLA and Texas A&M are 2-2 all-time playing against each other.  The last meeting between the two programs was in the 1998 Cotton Bowl (UCLA winning, 29-23).  The first meeting was in 1940, with UCLA losing, 7-0. UCLA's great head coach, Red Sanders, played A&M twice in the early '50s, splitting with the Aggies.

    • It's the first time Texas A&M will host a ranked non-conference opponent in a season opener since 1989.

    • Texas A&M has won 21 consecutive home games against non-conference foes.

    • First-year Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone spent the last four seasons as UCLA's offensive coordinator.

    • The Aggies' projected starter at right cornerback is UCLA transfer Priest Willis.

        •  Texas A&M is coached by Kevin Sumlin, 52, who is in his fifth year as the head man in College Station. Sumlin is 36-15 in his five years, having started out 11-2 and 9-4 in his first two seasons and then 8-5 in both of the last two seasons. His first two years he ended the season ranked, with his first season punctuated by a win over then-#1-ranked Alabama and helping to make Johnny Manziel into a household name. But the last two seasons under Sumlin the Aggies finished unranked.  Sumlin, known as an architect of a high-octane, pass-oriented offense, got the A&M job after a great run as the head coach at Houston, and then after his first two seasons at A&M there was buzz that Sumlin would make the jump to the NFL. But the last two seasons have been sobering.  On the field, the Aggies have under-achieved, and off the field they've lost over 30 players to transfer, legal issues, etc. In December, it looked like the program was hitting rock bottom when two former five-star quarterback recruits, Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen, both left the program.  Add it all up, and Sumlin has gone from being a potential NFL hire to being on the hot seat at Texas A&M, all in a short span of two years.  Starting off at A&M with such a great year like the one he had in 2014 probably has done worse for Sumlin in the long run by how it raised expectations. 

        • Jim Mora is in his fifth year at UCLA, like Sumlin, and has a very similar overall record, 37-16.  Mora's 37 wins in four years are the most a coach has ever posted in his first four years at UCLA, but also the most over any four-year period in UCLA's history.

      • Texas A&M is making a concerted financial effort to become one of the elite programs in the SEC.  In the last four years, it's poured $530 million into the program (facility upgrades, coaches' salaries, etc.).

Texas A&M's 12th Man

          • Texas A&M's home stadium is Kyle Field, with a listed capacity of 102,577, but in 2015 average attendance was 103,622. So their average attendance surpasses the venue's capacity.  It's the largest stadium in the SEC (and in the state of Texas), and the 103,622 led the SEC in attendance for the second straight year.  In 2014, when the team was better, A&M averaged 105,122.  That year, they set a one-game attendance record in the game against Ole Miss, packing in 110,633.

        • The main calling card of home games at Kyle Field is the "12th Man," a fan tradition that goes back to 1922.  The 12th Man is basically what A&M calls its fan support, and it's massive, with what seems like the entire 103,000 at Kyle Field participating in various well-choreographed cheers.  The name "12th Man," in fact, is such an A&M trademark they actually trademarked it, and any other organization that uses the term "12th Man" has to deal with Texas A&M. The Seattle Seahawks reached a licensing deal with Texas A&M over its use.

            • Under UCLA coach Jim Mora, the Bruins haven't lost a regular-season, non-conference road game.

          • UCLA has 10 players who are from Texas, among them RB Soso Jamabo (Plano), DE Deon Hollins (Houston), and WR Eldridge Massington (Mesquite). 

        • UCLA is 17-14-4 all-time against teams in the current Southeastern Conference.

        •  Texas A&M opened as a 1-point favorite and it has since moved to a 3-point margin. 

      • The weather forecast calls for 90 degrees, 67% humidity, and a 50% chance of rain.

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