If you were to ask every single Texas A&M football fan what one single game they have circled on their calendar as a “can’t-miss” contest—even back to the first year the Aggies entered the league—more often than not, he or she would very quickly answer “Alabama.” Despite the lopsided win-loss record in this matchup since their first meeting as conference foes in 2012, this game has produced some real classics and highlight-reel memories—including the games from the last two years.
That first year, of course, was when Johnny Football really introduced himself to the country, with the Aggies scoring each of their first three times down the field en route to a massive upset over the eventual national champions. In 2013, he legitimated that performance, as he continued to showcase his brilliance even in the 49-42 loss at Kyle Field. 2014’s game is among the most ignominious in Texas A&M football history, and that’s about all I will say about that. 2015 was close until it wasn’t, with Kyle Allen throwing three pick-sixes, but did feature Justin Evans absolutely lighting up Derrick Henry. The 2016 Aggies led just after the half in Bryant Denny 14-13—despite Jonathan Allen going full superman to sack Trevor Knight—but the Aggies wouldn’t score another point while Bama would pile on 20 more. The 2017 matchup is often forgotten, but for as poor as that Texas A&M football team was, this was a one-score game when it was all said and done, and featured both maybe the best catch Christian Kirk ever made and the best throw Kellen Mond ever made.
2018, 2019, and 2020 all had pretty similar scripts, with Alabama pulling away near the end of the first half or beginning of the second half in each one. 2021, of course, will live on forever in the annals of Texas A&M football lore as the game Zach Calzada became superhuman. Or the game Alabama forgot where Jalen Wydermyer was. Or the game they couldn’t cover Ainias Smith. Or the game where Devon Achane blew the roof off Kyle Field.
I could go on.
Then came the 2022 recruiting class, and—once the summer rolled around—a leaked video in which Nick Saban made his emotions regarding getting beat by the Aggies on both the field and the recruiting trail very clear. In response to this—as has become legend by this point—Jimbo all but cut a wrestling promo.
The game that was to follow promised to be an epic showdown.