A glance at Texas A&M's confounding home struggles

Kyle Field has long been considered home to one of college football's best game-day atmospheres.

With 30,000-plus students standing and belting out choreographed "yells" throughout the game, a usually-packed house (80,000-plus before renovation, 100,000-plus now) where fans traditionally stay until the clock hits 00:00 provides for a noisy setting for opponents to enter.

Alabama coach Nick Saban went as far as to say on his weekly local radio show last month that he wants Bryant-Denny Stadium to be more like Kyle Field.

So then why is it that the Aggies struggle to beat ranked teams or conference foes at home?

Last week's loss to Auburn left Texas A&M at 6-9 against SEC teams at Kyle Field since entering the conference in 2012. The Aggies' fate at home against teams ranked in the AP poll is worse: They are 1-6 in the Kevin Sumlin era in those scenarios.

This season, the newly redeveloped Kyle Field capacity is more than 102,000, the field was sunk 10 feet, the sidelines were brought closer to the field and canopies at the top level on the East and West sides of the stadium were installed to keep sound inside. Still, the Aggies were 2-2 vs. SEC teams and 1-2 against ranked teams.

This is in contrast to their road success, which has been significant. Since Sumlin arrived, the Aggies are 8-5 on the road against SEC teams and 5-5 against AP ranked teams on the road.

The results puzzle coach Kevin Sumlin, who has said twice that he's not sure why the Aggies' home success isn't as good as their road success.

"Obviously, the old adage is you want to make your preparation for road games as similar to home games as possible so that there's no break in the routine," Sumlin said. "So that's been the way we've done things. To say that the preparation or routine for home or road games, for us, that hasn't been the case. The results have been different."

In fairness to Sumlin, his A&M teams aren't the only ones who have dealt with this. Since 2000, the Aggies haven't been as successful at home as they once were. There was once a time -- mostly in the 1990s -- when the Aggies did have marked success at Kyle Field. Here's a glance at the contrast between home success in different eras at Texas A&M in the last 30 years:

The Aggies, who are 6-9 at home vs. SEC teams since 2012, can point to one area of struggles: turnovers. Their turnover margin in those 15 games is -13. Similarly, in the seven games vs. ranked teams at home since 2012, they have a -11 turnover margin.

From 1985-1999, the Aggies were 15-6 vs. AP ranked teams at Kyle Field. Against conference teams (Southwest Conference through 1995; Big 12 from 1996 and on) they were an impressive 51-5-1. That record spanned two coaches: Jackie Sherrill and R.C. Slocum.

Since 2000, the Aggies are 8-25 against AP-ranked teams at Kyle Field. Against conference teams (Big 12 through 2011, SEC since 2012) the Aggies are 31-34.

From 2000 to 2011, before Sumlin arrived, the Aggies were 7-19 vs. AP-ranked teams at Kyle Field. Against conference teams, their record was 25-25. Those records span three coaches (Slocum, Dennis Franchione and Mike Sherman).

In the four seasons preceding Slocum's start in 1989, the Aggies were impressive at home under Sherrill: 6-2 vs. ranked teams, 15-0 vs. Southwest Conference teams from 1985 to 1988. From 1989 to 1999, under Slocum, the Aggies were 9-4 vs. ranked teams and 36-5-1 vs conference teams.