September 9th, 2013 10:40 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Texas A&M
Tags: Alabama, BYU, College Station, SEC
On Saturday, the eyes of the college football world will turn to Kyle Field and College Station. ESPN’s “College GameDay” crew will be on hand for pre- and postgame coverage of #1 Alabama’s visit to #6 Texas A&M. It’ll be America’s best coach (Nick Saban) against college football’s best and most controversial player (Johnny Manziel). A Dynasty versus a Heisman-winner.
Meanwhile, Texas will be breaking in just-promoted defensive coordinator Greg Robinson as the Longhorns attempt to lick their wounds following a 40-21 loss to BYU in which they gave up 550 yards rushing to the unranked Cougars. Giving up 679 yards overall cost Manny Diaz his job as he was reassigned on Sunday.
Could Texas A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference have gone any more smoothly?
When the Aggies and the SEC ambled up to the altar together, we wrote — heck, we wrote it long before — that the school and the conference would be a perfect match for one another; each providing what the other desires. The SEC would help A&M to climb out of Texas’ long shadow in the Lone Star State. The school’s new league would also provide a massive chunk of cash to help get the Ags out of the red and into the stadium-upgrade club. Meanwhile, A&M would provide the SEC a recruiting foothold in Texas as well as several million cable households, enough to launch its own ambitious plan for a profitable-at-start-up television channel.
But who would’ve thought the power shift Deep-In-The-Hearta would’ve been so sudden and so obvious?
While many A&M fans defend him and many fans from across the country loathe him, Manziel has been the accelerant no one saw coming. His dynamic play — coupled with the flashy offense of second-year coach Kevin Sumlin — catapulted the Aggies to an 11-win season and into the national top 10 last season. Now he’s got the 12th Man geared up for a showcase battle on Saturday.
If everything’s great in College Station, it’s worst of everything in Austin. Longhorn coach Mack Brown’s precipitous decline has seen him go from hero to hot seat in less than a decade.
In 2005, Texas won the national championship with a perfect 13-0 record and a superstar quarterback of its own in Vince Young. As recently as 2009, the Horns played in the BCS national title game (eventually falling to Alabama of the SEC). Since then, it’s been a downhill slide. A seven-loss season in 2010. Nine losses in 2011 and 2012 combined (which isn’t good enough for a program that had been so close to the mountain top just a few years prior).
Now Texas sits at 1-1. After a horrific performance from his troops last season, D-coordinator Diaz (hired from Mississippi State of the SEC) has been 86′d. Now his replacement will be charged with making enough improvements over the squad’s BYU performance to stave off an attack from 25th-ranked Ole Miss and its up-tempo offense.
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