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Texas A&M AD says no to any sponsor’s name being attached to Kyle Field but ‘every penny matters’

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College football stadiums have undergone a ton of transformations over the years but one area where they’ve lagged behind their professional counterparts by a wide margin has been in the naming rights space. After all, there’s a lot of history and tradition attached to the names of stadiums, whether it’s the Big House in Ann Arbor or Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa. 

Though a handful of CFB venues have been sullied by sponsorship jargon in front of their common names in recent years, you can add Texas A&M to the list of schools who won’t consider slapping a well-known (or even less well-known) brand on venerable Kyle Field anytime soon.

“There are some things I learned quickly that are sacred,” athletic director Ross Bjork told the Houston Chronicle. “Kyle Field is one of them.”

In confirming plans for the stadium to remain as is on the name front, Bjork did note that he is still trying to consider some other sponsorship opportunities in and around the football team’s home in order to bring in additional revenue to one of the richest athletic departments in the country. At the heart of the matter, unsurprisingly given how tradition-rich the Aggies are, is doing something tasteful that also provides value to those ponying up big bucks.

“Even though we have great resources here, every penny matters,” he added. “Every dollar matters. Every 100 dollars matter.” 

It’s interesting Bjork would say that given that the most recent financial figures pulled by USA Today show that Texas A&M is the second biggest athletic department in the country last year after taking in over $212 million (against just $165.7 million in expenses too). 

That’s a hefty chunk of change of course, but perhaps sights are set a bit higher in order to topple in-state rival Texas ($219 million) and become No. 1. When it comes to beating the Longhorns, every dollar might indeed matter.  

While we won’t see a big corporate sponsor on Kyle Field’s marquee, it does seem like there are other avenues the Aggies can pursue in order to get top dollar in College Station.

Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma see playoff odds shorten

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As we’re right at the halfway point of the 2019 regular season (already???), the race for the playoffs is beginning to take shape, at least wagering-wise.

In its latest set of odds released this week, one offshore sportsbook continues to have the two combatants for the 2018 title, Alabama and Clemson, as the co-favorites to win the 2019 College Football Playoff championship.  Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers come in at 5/2 after sitting at 11/4 a week ago.

Ohio State is next at 5/1 (11/2 last week at this time), followed by LSU at 11/2 (7/1) and Oklahoma at 6/1 (9/1).

There’s a significant gap between that group and the next one that includes Georgia, which tumbled to 14/1 from 7/1 coming off its loss to unranked South Carolina in Athens.  Also at 14/1 is Wisconsin, which sat at 25/1 this time last week.

The only other team even remotely in that neighborhood is Penn State, which saw their odds shorten from 33/1 to 25/1.

Nick Saban laments Alabama didn’t finish Texas A&M win ‘with class’

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The Process™ never sleeps, even after passing its first significant test of the 2019 campaign with flying colors.

The first five games of the season, Alabama didn’t face a ranked team, outscoring its overmatched opponents 259-74.  Their “closest” game was a 47-23 win over South Carolina in Columbia.  Week 7, however, brought a trip to College Station and No. 24 Texas A&M, which easily qualified as Bama’s toughest test of the year.

Of course, the pregame toughness was measured on paper as the top-ranked Crimson Tide had little problem dispatching the Aggies on the field in a 47-28 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might indicate.  Late in the fourth quarter of the win, though, Devonta Smith, one of the top wide receivers in the country and a player who was added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list earlier last week, was ejected after throwing a punch at A&M defensive back Leon O’Neal.

It appeared that both players threw “football punches,” although Smith was the only one ejected.

In the postgame wrapup, and referring to a Smith ejection that could keep the star receiver from playing the first half of next week’s game against Tennessee, head coach Nick Saban lamented the fact that the Tide failed to finish the game with class.

Tua Tagovailoa sets Alabama all-time pass TD record as No. 1 Crimson Tide handles No. 24 Texas A&M

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Any thought about No. 25 Texas A&M (3-3, 1-2 SEC) scoring a big upset at home against No. 1 Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) was quickly washed away by another dominant effort by the best team in the country. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdowns and rushed for one more in a record-setting day for the Heisman Trophy hopeful as Alabama left Kyle Field in College Station with a 47-28 victory.

Tagovailoa became Alabama’s all-time touchdown pass leader with his first touchdown pass of the day, a 31-yard pass to Jaylen Waddle on Alabama’s first offensive series of the game. That touchdown tied the game, and Tagovailoa’s second touchdown gave Alabama the lead for good. The Crimson Tide never trailed after going up 14-7 and the closest Texas A&M would get the rest fo the game was on the ensuing possession. The Aggies cut the lead to 14-10 with a field goal, and the Crimson Tide scored the next 33 of 43 points to run away with the game.

Next up on Tagovailoa’s list of accomplishments at Alabama? All-time passing yards.

In the box score, Texas A&M actually hung with Alabama in terms of overall offensive yardage, but Tagovailoa had a batch of receivers to help him have a much more efficiently productive output compared to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond. Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III, and Najee Harris all caught touchdown passes for Alabama, in addition to the previously mentioned Waddle. Jalen Wydermyer was the only Aggie to catch a touchdown pass (he actually caught two in the game). Devonta Smith was tossed from the game late in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch at a Texas A&M player at the end of the play. No penalty was assessed to Texas A&M despite Smith’s punch being in retaliation to a punch thrown at him. Expect the SEC office to review that situation.

Harris also rushed for over 100 yards for the Tide. Mond was the leading rusher for Texas A&M. It was another reminder of just how much talent and skill Alabama has accumulated over years of recruiting and a reminder of where Texas A&M hopes to be one day under head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban remains undefeated against his former assistants. Saban improved to 18-0 all-time against head coaches that previously worked on his staff. Fisher is now 0-3 against Saban, including one matchup while Fisher was the head coach at Florida State. Fisher has now lost to Alabama in his first two games as head coach of the Aggies. Since Johnny Manziel stunned the Crimson Tide in the first meeting as SEC West opponents in 2012, the Aggies have lost to the Crimson Tide in seven straight meetings.

Alabama will return home next weekend to face traditional rival Tennessee. The Vols picked up a win in SEC play with a victory over Mississippi State earlier in the day but will be a heavy underdog in Tuscaloosa next week. Alabama has won 12 straight games in the series dating back to 2007. This should be the seventh time in that span Alabama will be the top-ranked team in the matchup, and the 12th time in 13 games Tennessee will not be ranked in the top 25.

Texas A&M, now 1-2 in SEC play with losses at home to Auburn and Alabama, will get a chance to regroup in the next couple of weeks. First up is a road game at Ole Miss next Saturday. The Aggies have won the last two meetings with the Rebels, including last season’s 38-24 victory in Oxford.

Three touchdowns from Tua Tagovailoa have Alabama leading Texas A&M 24-13

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There was no doubt Texas A&M was fired up for their home game against top-ranked Alabama, but an early touchdown by the Aggies was not nearly enough to knock Alabama off its game. Alabama leads the Aggies 24-13 at halftime in Kyle Field.

Kellen Mond punched the ball in from the one-yard line at the end of a 15-play drive to start the game, giving Texas A&M and their fans an early adrenaline run, but it was short-lived. Alabama then did what they do best and that meant making key plays with their superior talent advantage. Alabama was thriving on third-down plays in the first half too.

Alabama’s first three touchdowns of the game all came on third-and-long situations. Jaylen Waddle scored on a 31-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa on 3rd & 7 to the tie game at 7-7. Devonta Smith scored on a  47-yard pass on 3rd & 10 on Alabama’s next drive. Najee Harris did the honors on a 16-yard pass from Tagovailoa on a 3rd & 7 on Alabama’s third possession, putting Alabama up 24-10.

Tagovailoa did make a mistake late in the half with an interception in the endzone (by Demani Richardson). It was the first interception thrown this season by Tagovailoa (after 26 touchdown passes had been thrown).

Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle headed to the locker room shortly before halftime. There was no update on his status.