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Since we're in a slow period between the NC game and NSD, I thought it would be good to start talking about some of next year's big games. The natural place to start is Texas A&M. They were our only loss last year, we have them very early next year, they return the Heisman winner, etc. Not to overlook Virginia Tech, but I don't see that game being very much of a threat. So we start with them in Atlanta, then a bye, then at College Station. I think that sets up very well, and I'm sure Saban will be working hard this offseason to come up with a gameplan to limit what they do on offense.
If you look at this last year's game, I think several things stick out.
First, we were fatigued after the emotional LSU win. However, A&M had played several consecutive games (with many on the road). The schedule is the schedule, so I'm hesitant to focus too much on the LSU factor.
Second, they had a fast start (regardless of reason). Our defense was off balance, Manziel was able to create and was given an extraordinary amount of time by his offensive line. I think they lose two guys off of that line (one that will be a top 3 pick). Matthews is coming back, though. They do have some depth there, so I don't expect a significant dropoff. Combine a still solid line with Manziel's ability, and we're clearly going to have to be creative. I think that starts with some things that have already been set in motion. Obviously, Kirby said that in hindsight he'd have rushed 5 (as he did against ND). I think that strategy will help contain and put more pressure on Manziel. However, it will also put more pressure on our secondary to keep up with what is a very deep receiving corps. They do lose 3 out their top 4 receivers (including Swope who always stepped up in big spots for them), but they do return Evans, a very talented freshman. Not to mention their incoming receiver class, which is outstanding. As we've seen with Amari Cooper, true freshmen can definitely be a huge threat at that position. Overall, I expect a pretty similar offense in terms of strength. It is certainly much more of a reload scenario than a rebuild. This could be trouble for us, especially losing Dee. If Geno and some of the younger guys poised to take over nickel and dime spots step up, we'll have a good shot. If not, it's going to be very difficult to rush 5 and we'll be in a bad situation again.
Thirdly, our offense looked worse in that game than we did for most of the year. We struggled to convert third downs (especially early). This is the side of the ball where I think the losses will hit A&M much harder. Losing Demontre Moore on the line is crucial. They also lose some very solid LBers. I think we have more success running the ball against them than we did in 2012. I also believe that our depth and talent at WR will play a bigger role this time around. The WRs started to make an impact toward the end of that game, but it was too little too late. Finally, I think the playcalling will be different this time around. I know it's somewhat unfair to single out one possession in a a mediocre performance, but I firmly believe that if Saban and Nuss had another shot at it, they run the ball at least 3 of 4 times at the end. I think that with that in the back of their minds, the staff will adjust the strategy in certain downs and distances.
Obviously there are many more aspects to this game, but those are a few that stand out to me. I think we're in for another back and forth close game. To me, the biggest key is our secondary. I have no doubt our offense vs. their defense will favor us much more than it did this year, and I trust our ability to stop the run. More than anything else, our secondary will win or lose this game for us. I think we can do just enough to win a 31 to 24 type game. What do y'all think about this game?
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by FortWorthTide 15 months ago
Good post! It will be a very tough game. They will be in the Top 5 but we will have the revenge factor. Probably a shootout 34 31.
Good post. Going to be a very interesting early season match-up, especially with Alabama having the bye week to prepare. A&M is losing a franchise left tackle and a 4 year starter at center, so they will be much like Alabama in that they well still be building some chemistry. Alabama's D-Line may lack starting experience, but should be a very athletic group with guys like Stinson and Pagan.
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I'd expect for this to be one of the more hyped games throughout the off season with the back-to-back national champs vs. Heisman storyline. It should be interesting to see if A&M runs the ball with RB's more often as they return Malena and Trey Williams on top of transfers Brandon Williams (Oklahoma) and Tra Carson (Oregon). That's a really good group of backs, so part of me tends to doubt Manziel will rush for as many yards next year with those at his disposal, but you never know I guess. My bigger question with A&M isn't the o-line but how will they replace guys like Damontre Moore and Spencer Nealy. Can't imagine there being a bigger home game in College Station in a long time and the bye week definitely helps UA. Should be interesting.
This post was edited by Charles Power 15 months ago
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That's their azz
They are our new Arkansas
If they score 24 on us I will kiss your ass!
IF IT FEELS GOOD,YOU AIN'T DOING IT RIGHT!
I think we beat them and again represent the West in the SECC, but if they were to beat us I could really see them running the table. They play nobody out of conference and get a lucky draw (much like we do) in only playing Vandy and Mizzou from the east. I definitely think this game decides the west (no disrespect to LSU, but I think all the losses to the draft will be too hard to overcome).
My early feeling is Bama 31-21
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Great post and good topic. CS usually gets the advantage after he gets a look at a team, and their scheme. Tim Tebow and CM come to my mind. In 2009 in the SEC Championship, I think CM saw the future of the SEC, and folded. CS had figured out the code. I may take a beating for this, but I think we may win this game similarly to Florida 2009 Part Two, Bama pulling away at the end. We never got the chance to see Cam Newton a second time, but Johnny Football has at least one more year. Handling failure may be a sign of character, but I think handling success can be just as difficult. As of right now, at least as a Bama Fan, I am pleased to see how Johnny Football has handled his new fame. His second tour of duty in the SEC will be very interesting. He will certainly NOT be catching anyone by surprise that is for sure. RTR!
Texas A&M caught us at a good time last year. We were tired and nicked up. Add to that everything they did seemed to work in the first Qt. Things just fell their way. NO WAY they beat us next year. When CNS circles a date on a game the other team had better watch out. I have no doubt he and the returning players are looking forward to that game. RTR
Manziel isn't perfect guys. Lost in all his accolades. He did lose 2 games on his home turf last year. While Bama was SEC & BCS Champs. He had an outstanding year & won the Heisman. But tell me again? What did his team accomplish?
He only improved as the season went on. You're certainly right that he isn't perfect, but if you watched those two games they lost, I think you'd agree there's no way they lose them later in the season. They barely lost each one and Florida was their first game of the year. By the time they played us they were a different team. They also stomped OU (overrated or not, they barely missed out on a BCS bowl). He's the real deal.
He's beatable, and if any defense can do it, it's ours. You've still got to respect his rapid improvement in the second half of the year. Not to mention he is surrounded by weapons.
This post was edited by FortWorthTide 15 months ago
But u can't flip flop games my friend. He laid eggs early in the year. While Bama was kicking ass. It was those ass kicking's Bama was dealing out. That put us in a position to handle the blow of the loss to A&M. & still get a chance at a repeat when KSU & Oregon lost. Kudos for A&M improving. But regardless of how they finished. They dropped the ball early. Which in turn killed their chances at the bigger hardware.
Imo, what hurt us was allowing them so many opportunities early before the defense could adjust. We only ran 7 offensive plays before they had three TDs. THAT'S HUGE!!
If we execute early offensively we avoid getting in such a large hole....one that we ultimately didn't have time to climb out of.
Hyped game, revenge game, early in the year, on the road... This is generally when we play our best ... First couple and the last couple of games... We make everyone say Bama is not going to have a drop off... May be better... We Roll by 17
They have our attention. Saban will not let the team overlook VA Tech, and we'll be ready. I don't think we'll get behind 28-0 again this year (g). Looking forward to a great game. RTR!
That's a fair point. If I don't allow us a break for playing LSU the week before, I can't give them a break for playing LSU and Florida before they got hot. I guess the main point was that they've continued to improve and I only expect that to continue. However, as I said in my OP and several other posters have said since, I believe that our offense will have a very large advantage over their defense next year. As long as we can hold them below 30, I think there's no question we win. I think our guys get it done, but it's still a compelling matchup.
Great topic. I can't wait for this game next year. Of course I can't wait for the VT game either!
I feel like we were the better team this year (though obviously we didn't win, so my feelings really don't matter). With the sting of that loss, the Johnny Football hype, the guys we have coming back, the game being early in the year, having a bye week before, etc., I will really be surprised if we don't win that game with a little breathing room in the 4th quarter.
But that isn't to take anything away from aTm. They are an elite team and will be again next year. I just think they are going to get a lot of attention this off-season and our best shot in College Station.
IMO, I think the winner of this game goes on to win the national championship. In fact, I think we may get a rematch since the game is so early in the season. The loser could easily work their way back into the Top 2.
I like our chances with 7 months of prep and us being healthy with fresh legs.
AJ, Fowler, Henry, White, TyJones, Bell, Black, OJ Howard, Cooper, Yeldon, etc. and I think we have one too many weapons on offense for them to handle. We win in a shootout, 35-31 with a TD in the final seconds to seal the deal. Should make for an epic game.
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