Bill Byrne
Director of Athletics

What a gut wrenching football loss. Being raised Catholic, I wondered driving home whether I had wanted the victory so much that it was my fault for the loss. Catholics call these lessons Venial Sins, and like many of you, I must have wanted it too much. My Mom used to tell me thinking it was as bad as doing it, and believe me, I really wanted the win so I'm likely off to Purgatory. Judging from some of your mail though, I believe there's an even warmer place some of you prefer to send me, and I don't mean Hawaii. 

I'm hearing the Queen of Hearts solution from Alice in Wonderland from many of you. We need to set aside our disappointment and build from here. We all need to remember our coaches and players put us in position to win all our games this season, and once we take the emotion out of what went wrong, we will find a way to fix it. 

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On behalf of our student-athletes and coaches, I want to say thank you to everyone who came to Kyle Field for a football game this season. We set new attendance records for total fans (610,283), average fans per game (87,183) and six of our seven games now rank in the top 11 all-time at A&M. More importantly, we sold out every game for the first time in our modern history. Thank you!

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I expect to receive our formal bowl invitation sometime after the Big 12 games are completed this weekend. There is no league championship game this year, but there are three league games to be played which could have a bearing on the bowl picking order. Remember the bowls pick in a predetermined order and can choose from any bowl eligible team on the board. Check AggieAthletics.com on Sunday for all the bowl information including ticket sales.

We will conduct our bowl student ticket sale on Thursday, Dec. 8 beginning at 8 a.m. at the Zone Plaza ticket windows.

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I can't tell you how pleased I am to see our volleyball team serve as an NCAA host in College Station this week. We are seeded No. 16 nationally and will face Lipscomb in the first round on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Reed Arena. The early match will feature Kentucky and Dayton at 4:30 p.m. All-tournament tickets are available now by clicking here. Single session tickets will be available only on match day.

Our coaches have done a remarkable job this year, capped by beating the No. 14 Cyclones in Ames on Saturday. I had a chance to visit with senior outside hitter Kelsey Black over the weekend, and she told me she has had a wonderful experience here at A&M and is so proud to be an Aggie. Of course, we're all proud of what Kelsey and her teammates have done, not only on the court, but in every way they have represented the University.

Congratulations to Kelsey, middle blocker Lindsey Miller and right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo for being named to the 2011 All-Big 12 First Team.

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Our women's and men's basketball teams continued their winning ways over the weekend. Our No. 4 women's team had impressive wins over Temple and Iowa in Freeport, Bahamas, while the men beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to keep our top 25 ranking in place. I really like the way some of our newcomers on both teams are starting to contribute. It's a long season, but you have to like where we are right now.

Our No. 25 men host Alcorn State tonight at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena. If you can't make it to the game, it will be televised by FSN Southwest.

Then, on Saturday, we will host SFA at 7 p.m.

Individual game tickets for conference games for men's and women's basketball are on sale now by clicking here.

Don't forget we also have a Saturday 6-Pack and a Pick 7 package available, too. You can get more information about what games are included by clicking here.

It's another big weekend for our defending national champion women's team as we will travel to face No. 13 Purdue on Sunday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network. Then, it's off to Hartford, Conn., to face No. 2 UCONN at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. That game will be televised by ESPN2.

As a reminder, tickets are also on sale for the 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball First and Second Rounds being hosted at Reed Arena on March 17 and 19. Click here for more information.

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It was a terrific season for our young soccer team. We won our 12th and final Big 12 Championship and made the NCAA Championship field for a 17th straight season.

Freshman Kelley Monogue had a breakthrough rookie season and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, the Big 12 Tournament Offensive Most Valuable Player and the No. 1 freshman in the country (TopDrawerSoccer.com). She was also selected to the All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and the Big 12 All-Tournament Team.

We had 10 players named to the Big 12 team, including four first-team selections in Kelley, senior Merritt Mathias, junior Beth West and sophomore Rachel Lenz. Freshman Meghan Streight was named to the second team and joined Monogue and freshman Annie Kunz on the Big 12 All-Newcomer team.

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Our No. 18 men's swimming and diving team will be in the state capital beginning Thursday to compete in the Texas Invitational. Meanwhile, our No. 10 women's swimming and diving team will host Rice on Saturday at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium.

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I'm happy to report the scheduling process for our first season of SEC football is about done. We anticipate seven home games next season and an exciting slate of SEC teams coming to Kyle Field, too. A final announcement of the entire 2012 SEC football schedule should come before the holidays.

We are all looking forward to our first season in the league of champions. We've been welcomed with open arms in every sport, and we are making plans for our transition. As our regular season of play concludes in different sports, we will start the transition by replacing Big 12 logos with SEC logos in our facilities. It will take some time to complete the change, but it's exciting to see the process begin.

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See you at volleyball and basketball this week!

Gig'Em!