Rant Sports Top 100 Teams in 100 Days: No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies

Rant Sports 100 Teams in 100 Days: No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

In the history of College Football, it is safe to say there has never been a team quite like the 2013 Texas A&M Aggies.

Never. End of Story.

In just its second year in the SEC and under head coach Kevin Sumlin, A&M has become the most controversial and talked-about team in the entire game. No team can boast they have the returning Heisman Trophy winner as well as the King of Twitter in Johnny Manziel. No other team has trumped all of the SEC and college football in media coverage.

If all goes according to planned, no one will be able to handle the Aggies on the field as they come in at No. 4 in Rant Sports Top 100 Teams in 100 Days. And no one knows this better than Sumlin.

But just how great can Texas A&M be in 2013? What about Manziel’s eligibility, the offensive line and the fact the Aggies cannot sneak up on anyone in the SEC this year? The bottom line is, A&M is loaded, has depth and has a great chance to play for a BCS Title.

Key Players

There is probably no player with as much to prove in all of college football than Manziel. His off- field shenanigans have raised major questions about his leadership and desire in the past few months. But last year was pretty clear in proving the guy on the field is completely different than the guy off the field. The 60 minutes Manziel gets to line it up is when he is at peace because he knows he can control everything on the field.

Defensively, there is no one more important to the Aggies success than senior nose guard Kirby Ennis. Suspended last season, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Ennis must be the anchor in the middle. And like Manziel, he has to keep his actions on the field to outshine any and all off the field.

Offense

Most folks look to some new faces on the offensive line as the biggest concern for Texas A&M. But when you have a proven leader like Jake Matthews to make things gel and crazy great athletes like Mike Evans on the outside to go alongside Manziel, folks in the rest of the SEC should be highly concerned.

Add to the mix junior college transfer Cameron Clear (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) to play the slot (yes, slot) and tight end along with Ben Malena and transfer Brandon Williams, and you have one of the most potent offenses in the SEC.

Keep your eye on freshman wide receiver Ricky Seal-Jones (6-5, 225) to make a major impact, as well as back up quarterback Matt Joeckel. If Manziel goes down, Joeckel will become the most talked-about player in all of college football.

Defense

The Aggies have a solid defense in 2012 that allowed 21.8 points and 390 yards per game. All but two are back led by Ennis, junior linebacker Donnie Baggs and Tyrell Taylor. All three will be have to make the opposing quarterback’s day a long and miserable one for Texas A&M to be successful.

Anchoring the secondary will be junior strong safety Howard Matthews, who had 58 tackles in 2012 and junior Floyd Raven, who moves over from corner to free safety. Both have the ability to make big plays to get the ball back in Manziel’s hands.

Schedule

No one in the SEC has an easier run in the SEC than the Aggies. If Texas A&M can knock off the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 14 in College Station, they can pretty much put things on cruise control until they travel to face the LSU Tigers on November 23.

Now this is not to say games at the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Ole Miss Rebels back-to-back with a bye week inbetween will be easy, but they will not be comparable to the Tide after the fact.

Add to the mix A&M has four pansy out-of-conference games, and 12 wins should not be difficult.

M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Follow him @woodysmalls.

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