Furious about Texas’ Longhorn Network, the Aggies went to the SEC, and the conference is all the better for it, people. And while Texas’ coaching staff – and defense – was getting shredded during 2012, Texas A&M were making the biggest waves it has done since Bear Bryant was coaching back in the day of the Junction Boys. Kevin Sumlin arrived at a press conference almost upon arrival, and said: “I want to be around people who want to play at the highest level in the best conference in America. If you’re scared of that, get a dog.”
Well, the Aggies were the dog in 2012, chomping on their new SEC West rivals. They are the most celebrated side of the 2012 off-season, thanks to the activities of quarterback Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman last year and spent a lot of it in the little world known as ‘controversy’.
Last season was a hell of a coming out party for Texas A&M. There was an unknown quarterback called Johnny Manziel, who arrived, beat Alabama, invigorated America, and won the Heisman. The Aggies finished the season with a terrific 10-2 record, with losses to LSU and Florida. Oh, and in true irony, the Aggies annihilated former Big XII rival Oklahoma in their bowl game 41-13. And in truth, the Aggies could well have gone to the SEC Championship Game ahead of Alabama, if they hadn’t been stifled in the second half against Florida and given up FIVE turnovers against LSU. That’s how good this team was. Thanks to Manziel’s brilliance and some fantastic receiving work from frosh Mike Evans and experienced WR Ryan Swope – who we still credit for getting Ryan Tannehill in the NFL – scored over 45 points seven times.The offense ended up fourth in the country in scoring and put up a terrific 558.5 yards per game, good for third.
But in the off-season, Texas A&M season hasn’t been the best. Johnny Manziel can’t seem to go anywhere without courting a news report, either from TMZ or ESPN. Sumlin had to suspend two players – both from the team’s secondary – for their involvement in a fight in April. They’ll be gone for the Rice game.
Listen, we all know about the off-season that Johnny Football has had, but really, it should be no surprise that the Heisman Trophy winner that – if you believe the highlight film – beat Alabama single-handed and took Texas A&M to the promised land of a New Year’s Day Bowl win against Oklahoma (where they destroyed the Sooners), has been named No.1 on the SEC Football Blog’s 2013 list. Frankly, if he wasn’t, we’d be a bit shocked with ourselves. The guy can brutalise defences with his arm AND his feet.
In terms of weapons, Johnny Football’s going to miss his excellent left tackle (now right tackle) in Luke Joeckel and center Patrick Lewis, who have both gone to the NFL , and he’s sure as hell going to miss wide receivers Ryan Swope, Thomas Johnson and Uzoma Nwachukanu. Can Mike Evans – who had over 1,100 yards receiving in 2012 – continue his god-like qualities in 2013. If not, Manziel could probably do it all himself anyway, while saving Metropolis and getting together with Louis Lane .
Now, there is some worry coming out of Kyle Field that Manziel may miss a game or two or four for his role in an autographs scandal, but right now, he’s the best quarterback in college football, let alone the SEC. Oh, and his back-up – who we feel should be redshirt Kenny Hill – is pretty great, too.
A lot of people who cover up for Texas A&M’s dreadful defense will be the people who say “Well, they didn’t need a defense, because the offense was great”. And they might be right.
But imagine a day when Johnny Manziel and the offense DOES get closed down. You know, we can imagine one on September 14th when a certain Nick Saban team comes to town. If your offense gets stopped once but you can’t stop the pass (they couldn’t last year) or the run (they weren’t great against either), then you’re in trouble. The team’s turnover margin was a distinctly unhealthy -5, and although there were some great turnover days last year (Alabama, which they had a fumble and an INT), but there were also some terrible ones (LSU, where they lost 2 fumbles and 3 INTs).
And the Aggies defense is going to be all the poorer without Damontre Moore and Jonathan Stewart, who nearly had 170 tackles between them. They bring back LB Steven Jenkins, who’ll be relied upon to do some tackling.
As for the secondary, something’s got to be an improvement to the horror of 2012, which gave up 250.7 yards of passing. We won’t see how they’ve improved much in the first game of 2013, what with Deshazor Everett getting suspended for half a game and Floyd Raven suspended for a whole one for their part in an April 13 fracas. They’d better improve for Alabama, or they are in trouble.
Aug 31 Rice
Sept 7 Sam Houston State
Sept 14 Alabama
Sept 21 SMU
Sept 28 at Arkansas
Oct 12 at Ole Miss
Oct 19 Auburn
Oct 26 Vanderbilt
Nov 9 Mississippi State
Nov 16 New Mexico
Nov 23 at LSU
Nov 30 at Missouri
Three things on this schedule stand out: The Alabama game on September 14th, the fact that there’s no Texas game on Thanksgiving, and the visit to Death Valley on November 23rd. Otherwise, this is a great schedule for any Aggies fan who wants his team beating all and sundry into a cocked hat. Heck, this team could even win convincingly WITHOUT Johnny Football.
THE BOTTOM LINE The season depends on the September 14th game against Alabama. If A&M wins, then they will be favourites to go to the SEC Championship Game. If they lose, then they will be fighting for second with the aforementioned Tigers, albeit with an easier SEC schedule. We think that they LOSE against Alabama in a tight, tight game, but the season finishes 11-1.
Tagged with: Alabama • Arkansas • Auburn • Florida • Georgia • Johnny Manziel • Kentucky • Kevin Sumlin • LSU • Mississippi State • Missouri • Ole Miss • Predictions • preview • SEC • SEC East • SEC West • South Carolina • TAMU • Tennessee • Texas A&M • Vanderbilt
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