The SEC conference knows football, and Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin knows he has a challenge ahead.
Sumlin spoke at SEC Media Day Tuesday, talking about the season ahead and their first matchup of the season against ASU on Sept. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Tex.
“We start out with Arizona State in Houston,” Sumlin told reporters. “They will be a top-20 football team. We will know where we are at right away.”
The hype of a season opener on a neutral site has motivated Sumlin and the Aggies.
“It’s been great for the offseason,” Sumlin told Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle. “It’s a lot easier getting people’s attention knowing you’re going to have probably a top-20 team.
“To get out on the road and play at NRG (Stadium), where they have the Super Bowl. It’s a great stadium to play in. National TV game. We’ve done pretty well in those situations.”
About four years ago, many thought Sumlin would be the one in the maroon and gold, not current coach Todd Graham.
In 2011, before the Sun Devils hired Graham to be their head coach, multiple reports surfaced saying that the University had offered the position to Sumlin.
Sumlin wound up taking the job at Texas A&M, and the Sun Devils hired then-Pitt coach Graham. Since Graham’s hire, ASU has won 28 games and its first Pac-12 South title in 2013.
Sumlin has also led his team to 28 wins in three seasons in College Station, including an 11-2 mark in 2012, the school’s first season in the SEC. That season, his team was led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.