Ole Miss may have a fancy new ranking in tow when it comes to College Station on Saturday, but Texas A&M has brand-new turf -- ready for its first game use -- on Kyle Field.
When the third-ranked Rebels challenges the 14th-ranked Aggies, the stadium lights will flood turf that was installed on Sept. 30, a necessary requirement after downpour rains in mid-September damaged a new soil and root system installed before the season.
The rains were so intense on Sept. 12 that Texas A&M did the unprecedented and cancelled “yell practice.” The next day, while hosting Rice, the grounds crew was busy trying to fix divots and dislodged turf caused by the rain.
Steven Moore, A&M’s vice chancellor of marketing and communications, tells SI.com, the new sod comes complete with a fresh nearly two-inch base layer to “promote stability” of the root system.
Texas A&M installed Tifway 419 Bermuda grass, a popular choice for football stadiums in the southern United States and the same variety of sod Kyle Field had before the damage.
The new turf, which will have had about 11 days to get ready for Saturday’s contest, came from North Carolina at a cost of $300,000.
Ample amounts of the 100,000-plus fans yelling in Kyle Field will arrive curious as to how the Aggies hold up under pressure. They’ll have to also see how the brand-new Bermuda grass responds.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.