If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you're a college football fan, so it probably also goes without saying that you remember Texas Tech's wild, come-from-behind win at Texas A&M in 2002, right? Of course you do: That was the one where Texas Tech, trailing 35-17 at the end of the third quarter, rallied for 24 points in the fourth, eventually prevailing 48-47 in overtime. Remember?
And I'm sure you can easily recall the Red Raiders' quarterback that day, Kliff Kingsbury, lighting up the A&M secondary for 474 yards and four touchdowns, then making a point of needling the Aggies for failing to recruit him. ("This is the biggest, definitely," Kingsbury said. "To do it against A&M — a college I wanted to come to out of high school, and they didn't recruit me — I made my point today.") Really, who could forget?
Fine, so you probably don't have instant recall of that afternoon. But Kevin Sumlin does: The Aggies' new head coach in 2012 was the offensive coordinator in 2002 under then-head coach R.C. Slocum, and remembers the loss against Texas Tech as the first of four that season by a touchdown or less, resulting in the sacking of the entire staff when A&M finished the year 6-6. Texas A&M fans do, too – or at least some segment of them did when Kingsbury followed Sumlin from Houston last winter to become A&M's new offensive coordinator. As Sumlin told Fox Sports Houston, it wasn't the most forgiving segment:
"[Kingsbury]'s excited to be there. Fans, you look up and sometimes [they] are holding a guy up in a restaurant trying to fight him because of something that happened 10 years ago.People have got to let that go.
"You've got to remember something. I was a part of that game at Kyle Field, the famous 48-47 game, when he and Wes Welker tried to get coach Sumlin fired. I've let it go, obviously. So you guys need to let that go.
"He's a very, very talented guy. I've watched him four years. His background is more than just [former Texas Tech head coach] Mike Leach. … He's a student of the game and he's one hell of a quarterback coach. We're fortunate to have him. A lot of people don't know his brother went to Texas A&M."
Public Service Bulletin – College Station, Texas: If you encounter our new offensive coordinator, please do not attempt to punch him over a decade-old grudge. His brother was an Aggie! Thank you.
Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that any Texas A&M partisan(s) has actually attempted to fight Kliff Kingsbury for any reason since his arrival on the new coaching staff, although I do imagine such an effort would win the Aggies instant cred among their new kin in the SEC. (I'm reasonably certain Florida fans once attempted to poison Steve Addazio.) There is no substitute for pure, long-simmering passion.
And if A&M's pass-happy spread attack puts up anything like the fire-starting numbers Sumlin and Kingsbury oversaw at Houston, who knows? With any luck, maybe rival fans will want to punch him, too.