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Herbstreit: “I Think A&M Is More Of A Threat To Alabama Than LSU Is”

The sporting nation’s eyes may be focused on this weekend’s Baton Rouge battle between Alabama and LSU, but ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit is looking one week down the road.  In his view, Bama’s greatest challenge will come next Saturday, not this Saturday:

 

“A&M has been a major beneficiary of being in that state of Texas where high school football is king and having a difference maker on that sweater when they walk into Houston or Dallas or Austin or wherever they are.  The fact that they are in the SEC and they can recruit those kind of players I’m telling you it’s a dangerous combination of what they can do in the future…

I’ll say it right now, I think A&M is more of a threat to Alabama than LSU is.  You heard it.  I think A&M is more of a threat next week to Alabama than LSU is.  Even though it’s Tuscaloosa and the reason I say that is because of Johnny Manziel and the style of offense they run…

LSU is going to line up in the i-formation and average 0.3 yards per carry against Alabama.  The only chance you have against Alabama size is to spread them from sideline to sideline and try to make plays in coverage against them.  If things break down and you an athletic mobile quarterback that gives you a fighting chance.

A&M can hold up defensively and can give you some problems with their offense.  I think A&M beats Mississippi State and sets up a big showdown in Tuscaloosa that not a lot of people are thinking about nationally.  A&M could give Alabama their biggest test they will face all year before the SEC Championship in Atlanta.”

 

Herbstreit made his declaration on KESN-FM in Dallas.  As for the first part of his statement, we agree wholeheartedly.  We’ve repeatedly said that A&M is a goldmine in waiting.  It’s LSU pre-Nick Saban.  Once the right coach arrives — and that coach might have already arrived in the person of Kevin Sumlin — Aggie football could really take off with that new SEC brand to sell to recruits.

As for Herbstreit’s second point — that A&M will present a tougher challenge for Alabama than LSU — well, that one’s a bit more iffy.  Whether LSU lines up in the I-formation or not, its defense is strong and steady.  LSU should hang with Bama for four quarters and at that point the magic of a Saturday night game in Death Valley might kick in for the Tigers.  They have won 22 in a row at home after all.

But the analyst is right about the Johnny Manziel factor.  Remember that in last year’s Tide-Tigers game it was Jordan Jefferson who came in, ran some option, and helped lead LSU to it’s 9-6 overtime win in Tuscaloosa.  Against A&M in a week, Bama will also be coming off of its most emotional, most physical game of the year.  There’s a chance they could let down or be beaten up when the Aggies roll into Bryant-Denny Stadium.

So, yes, it’s possible that A&M could be the team to spring an upset of Alabama rather than LSU.  On paper, however, a road trip to Tiger Stadium still looks tougher than a home game against what’s been — on many occasions — a one-man team.  If Manziel sprains an ankle early against Bama, then what?

All that said, you should get ready for the conspiracy theories.  It’s inevitable that someone will say/write that ESPN’s Herbstreit is talking down this week’s Alabama-LSU game because it’s a CBS Saturday night affair that will be opposite whatever ABC/ESPN game the affable analyst will be working.

 


7 comments
dynamitefan2
dynamitefan2

The state of Texas as the best High school football recruiting grounds are a myth. Fact in 30 years the State of Florida high schools had feed 10 National Champions 1/3 (UF, FSU, Miami) in that time frame Texas has produced one. Georgia and Louisiana also rank high in producing players.

ddugat
ddugat

As an Aggie, I love what I'm reading, but our depth, specifically on defense, continues to be the problem against the elite SEC teams. Yet, if we can actually score a couple of TOUCHDOWNS early, limit stupid penalties and turnovers, we have a chance. Whether we are talking Florida, LSU, Miss State, or ALABAMA. Gig'em Aggies!

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

In college ball, the outcome is often decided by which team, on both sides, shows up. Teams are up and down. Florida lost to Georgia, but play that game a week earlier or a week later, and the result might be different. A very good UGA team showed up, and they made UF look less capable than they had all season. Problem for A&M is they have been up and down, and Bama, so far, has been really up for almost every game, with a minor down tick on one.

 

A&M has been getting better on both sides of the ball. Johny Football was much more disciplined last week, but LSU and Florida both showed you can shut him down. Bama will figure that out when the time comes, if all things are equal. The big but is this week. MSU can beat A&M. I don't think they will, but they can. If that happens, one of these points is mute. Been saying for a long time A&M will be a serious contender in the SEC, but right now they are playing as a top 1/3 team, not as a Number 1 team. (UF is in the same boat right now).

 

And this year has been a banner recruiting year for A&M, and it will get better if Bama does not blow them out. Why? The University of Texas has lost a lot of its luster this year, and on the defensive side of the ball. OU's shellacking on Texas has made an impression, just as A&M's much better start against the SEC than expected. A&M's coaches, Sumlin, Kingsberry and Snyder all present a relatively youthfull and dynamic approach to the team. So, if A&M can keep it close against Bama, beat MSU, then A&M will get better next year. This year is Alabama's, unless a non-Saban team shows up in two weeks.

 

 

jcgbmt2012
jcgbmt2012

First, I will say I do not think that A&M will beat Bama. In fact, even though I'm an Aggie, I am also an SEC fan and I think Bama is the SEC's only shot at a 7th title barring Notre Dame/Oregon/K-State upsets. A one loss SEC team will not jump one of those teams if they are undefeated. All that said, what A&M does have going into that game is the experience of playing two top defenses already. They'll have a little bit more knowledge of how to beat those defenses. Besides, if the ball bounces our way a couple more times in the Florida game and there are a few less freshmen mistakes in the LSU game, A&M is 8-0 and ranked #2. HOWEVER, we did have those two teams at home. BDS is going to have a much better/much louder atmosphere than SMU/Ole Miss/LA Tech/Auburn/Miss State. How will this freshmen respond to such an atmosphere? I still think Bama wins but it won't be a 38-7 dismantling.

ddugat
ddugat

 @dynamitefan2

 “A&M has been a major beneficiary of being in that state of Texas where high school football is king and having a difference maker on that sweater when they walk into Houston or Dallas or Austin or wherever they are.  The fact that they are in the SEC and they can recruit those kind of players I’m telling you it’s a dangerous combination of what they can do in the future…"

- Herbstreit is not saying Texas is the best recruiting grounds, he is saying A&M recruiters have a better recruiting tool with "SEC" on their sweater. As far as "Texas where high school football is king", I have been to Florida HS football games, and grew up at Texas HS games, and believe me, the size of the stadiums and crowds are not even close. In Texas, high school football is king. Many Texas HS stadiums out in the middle of nowhere are larger than quite a few college stadiums, and are packed full on friday nights. Look at a map of Texas and tell me what else are you going to do on a friday night without having to drive for three hours?

-You are correct about the number of national championship teams, but I would love to find a breakdown of total college football scholarships by state (not just ESPN 150). I would also venture to say quite a few Texas schools fed Oklahoma, LSU, and even Nebraska Championship teams. 

buddha22
buddha22

@Jamesgoss I will give Coach Sumlin credit, he has done much better than I thought, but I was conditioned by Sherman's apparent ineptness and assumed it would carry over...it hasn't. That said, Herbstreit makes a lot of noise but I question whether he is really saying anything. However, I don't see this game going very well for the Aggies.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @ddugat  @dynamitefan2 Allen High School. $65 million stadium, sells out at 20,000 every game and is rented out for college games.......

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