SEC Football: The Texas A&M Aggies are Exceeding Expectations in Year One
It may have puzzled some when the Texas A&M Aggies decided to take the road to the Southeastern Conference. While there had been those who said they would get slapped around, the Aggies never bought into the term “big boy” football. They had confidence coming into the season and many thought it was ill-advised, ignorant and pundits even made the argument A&M had no clue what they were in for.
A&M came out in their inaugural SEC game and imposed their will on the Florida Gators taking a 17-10 lead at halftime. The feeling was good at College Station, made even more positive by the fact the Gators were 0-5 when trailing under Will Muschamp. Florida’s defense came out and clamped down on Johnny Manziel and the offense in the second half and managed to pull out a victory over the Aggies. Even though A&M lost, there was plenty of positives to take away and build on through the season. The Aggie defensive unit sacked Jeff Driskel eight times and the team as a whole went toe-to-toe on defense.
It was much of the same story against the LSU Tigers. Texas A&M outplayed the Tigers most of the first half, building a 12-0 lead, but five turnovers forced A&M right into LSU’s strength. The Aggies couldn’t dig themselves out of the turnover hole and lost 24-19, but there was positives once again. The A&M offense was able to rack up 431 total yards on one of the best defenses in the country. The offense put up 26 first downs and put up more yards and points in the first half then the Tigers’ defense allowed combined in their first seven games.
Why does it matter how the Aggies played in their two losses? They went into both games with confidence and showed they can hang with the best in the SEC. Many argue there is no such thing as a moral victory because ultimately all that matters in the end is who won the game. Sure, as a team you can’t focus on moral positives and hope that carries you to greatness, but when analyzing a game, there are certain aspects that can be used to see how future games may turn out.
LSU outplayed the Alabama Crimson Tide until the final drive of the game, A&M lost to LSU by just five points. So, theoretically A&M should be able to hang around with the Tide, but they absolutely can’t turn the ball over against ‘Bama. The Crimson Tide haven’t faced an offense like the Aggie’s and this could make for an interesting match-up.
The Aggies have been the best offense in the conference this season and while their defense ranks eight in the conference in total defense, they Aggies have had a pretty smooth transition into their new conference home. They have a chance this Saturday to cause chaos in the BCS rankings, however, even if they fall in Tuscaloosa, they have risen above expectations and have a great start to their future in the SEC.