Aggies thinking Championship or Bust in 2013

Last year was a magical season for the Texas A&M Aggies, they had a Heisman trophy winning quarterback and shocked the world by going 6-2(11-2 overall) in the very tough SEC Conference. But the story for the Aggies this offseason hasn’t been about expectations or even what they have done in preparation for the season, it has been all headlines for their Heisman quarterback Johnny Manziel. I won’t get into that now; I have some thoughts on him to post later. But don’t get me wrong, the national media is now paying attention to A&M, every team in the SEC is paying attention and a lot of people are saying it is an SEC championship and National championship or bust for the Aggies this year. But are they really ready to make that next step?

Johnny Manziel returns for an encore to his successful Heisman campaign from last year, but this year will prove to be a lot tougher on him than last year. He was an unknown, surprising everybody week after week and improving. This year he will have a target on his back and defenses chomping at the bit to knock him down. I think he will be okay and can turn this year into a success for the Aggies, but be will be ducking and dodging a lot more this year than last. Obviously there isn’t a quarterback who can do it alone, but as a Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel will have some lofty expectations to make big plays on his own.

Luckily for Manziel the Aggies have Oklahoma transfer and sophomore running back Brandon Williams to pick up some of the slack in the running game. Between him and Manziel, there should be plenty of explosive plays coming out of the A&M backfield. But a running game alone can’t help an offense; you have to have some down field weapons, which will be one of the bigger questions for the Aggies offense. Led by senior Derel Walker and junior Malcome Kennedy, they hope to give “Johnny Football” lots of opportunities to make plays down field. If all three units can mesh together, then that will make the offensive lines job so much easier. Some experts are saying this is still one of the top offensive line units in the country, and with someone who is elusive as Manziel; their job will be easy and focusing on picking up the blitz, or creating holes for the running game.

Last season everybody made fun of the Aggies moving into the SEC and said the Aggies couldn’t hang with the SEC offenses. They quickly proved that wrong by holding their opponents in the SEC under 30 points in conference play. The Aggies defense had one game where they allowed 57 points, but that was in a non-conference game against Louisiana Tech. This year looks to be just as good for the Aggies on the defensive side of the ball; they are returning five starters from last year and will be anchored by experience with two seniors and six juniors on the defense. Also in their favor is the fact they have most of their toughest games at home this year. Their biggest test could be a potential night game near the end of the season at LSU. If the Aggies defense can match the same type of intensity from last year, then the Aggies will be a team who could win the Conference.

The Aggies have a favorable schedule this season with most of their toughest games being at Kyle Field and returning 11 starters from last year. Aggie faithful will have higher expectations, but the biggest question mark will be how Johnny Manziel is able to handle the pressure of being a returning Heisman winner. If he can just be half as good as last year and the rest of the team picks up that slack, then the Aggies may be National Championship contenders, and if he doesn’t, then they could just be pretenders. The Aggies are no longer an unknown; they will have a target on their back this season.

8/31 – Rice- W

9/7 – Sam Houston St. – W

9/14- Alabama- W

9/21- SMU- W

9/28- At Arkansas- W

10/12- At Mississippi- W

10/19- Auburn- W

10/26- Vanderbilt- W

11/2- UTEP- W

11/9- Miss. St. – W

11/23- At LSU- L

11/30- At Missouri- W

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2013 Record: 11-1