Are the Texas A&M Aggies a Contender?

aggies-undefeatedThe Texas A&M Aggies are undefeated for the first time since 1994. Take a moment and let that sink in…

The upset of a top ten Tennessee team has started wheels turning for a Surprising Aggie football team. Which had no expectations coming into 2016.

While the Aggies have been a moderately successful team since entering the Southeastern Conference. They have never been undefeated and a strong-looking team at the same time. Could this really be the year for the hopeless Aggies? Continue reading

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Is Nick Saban one of the greatest coaches ever?

Nick-Saban-TrophyNick Saban just recently won his fourth national championship as a head coach, and the third in four years at Alabama. Which has led me to wonder if Nick Saban will start needing to be named as one of the greatest of all time? I’m not quite ready to call him one of the greatest college coaches but he is slowly making his case with each passing season.

It is funny to think Nick Saban had no dreams or intentions of joining the coaching ranks coming out of College at Kent State. His Coach at Kent State Don James convinced Saban to become a graduate assistant while he waited for his wife to finish her degree.  Saban spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Kent State and got promoted to a defensive assistant in 1975. This was just the beginning of Saban’s coaching career.

Nick Saban spent the better part of the next decade bouncing around jobs between Syracuse, West Virginia, Ohio State, Navy, and Michigan State in the college ranks as well as one stop in the NFL to be an assistant coach on the Houston Oilers. In 1990 Saban got his first opportunity to be a head coach when he accepted the Toledo Rockets job. In his first and only season as head coach he took the Rockets to a 9-2 record and the Rockets were co-champions of the Mid American Conference. Following the season Saban accepted the Defensive Coordinator job with the Cleveland Browns.

This one move has now labeled Saban under the Bill Belichick coaching tree; He stayed with the Browns from 1991-1994 and got another opportunity as a head coach when he took over the struggling Michigan State Spartans in 1995. Beginning with his first season in East Lansing, there was moderate improvement and mild success. It wasn’t until the 1999 season when he led the Spartans to a 9-2 record, which was the best season for the Spartans since 1965. Saban now had some interest from various jobs opening up, and he decided to head down to Baton Rouge to take the LSU head coaching job.

From the time he took over in 1999 it just seemed like it would be a matter of time before he helped get LSU over the top. That first flash of brilliance happened in 2001 when LSU won it’s first outright SEC championship since 1986. While the team took a slight step backwards in 2002, there was something special from the early going of 2003 as LSU went through the season with only one loss and won their 2nd SEC championship in three years and finishing the season at #2 in the BCS and getting a bid to play #1 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers took advantage of playing close to home winning their first national championship since 1958, and capturing Saban’s first title as a head coach.

2004 was a step backwards for the Tigers and after suffering a heartbreaking loss in the Capital One bowl, Nick Saban resigned to take a shot at the NFL and the Miami Dolphins head coaching job. This would be Saban’s third stint in the NFL, but his first opportunity as a head coach. It was short lived, after his first season and some surprising succsess, the team took a huge step backwards in his second season and Saban suffered his first losing season as a head coach. At this time the rumors started swirling around Saban and the newly vacant coaching position at Alabama.Saban

Even though Saban denied the reports repeatedly, he finally met with owner of the Dolphins on January 3rd 2007 and notified the owner of his intentions to take the Alabama job. He was announced on January 4th as the 27th head coach of the Alabama Crimson tide. His first season in Birmingham was a rocky one finishing the season at 6-6.  His second season is when things turned for the best, Saban helped the Crimson tide reach #1 in the polls during the regular season for the first time since 1980, and Nick Saban finally got his first undefeated season as a head coach, but the first loss would come to eventual national champion Florida Gators in the SEC championship game.  Then Saban’s Crimson tide suffered an embarrassing loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. But all of that didn’t stop the excitement for the next season as expectations were high.

2009 is when things really started to take off for Saban at Alabama, he had his second consecutive undefeated system and Alabama’s first back to back undefeated regular seasons since 1973-1974. The Crimson tide beat Florida in an SEC title game rematch against Florida, which now put Saban in rare company with Paul “Bear” Bryant as one of only two coaches to win an SEC championship at two schools. Saban and the Crimson tide carried that momentum into the National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns where Saban was able to capture his 2nd National championship as a head coach.

Saban now had the distinction as being the only coach who won National Championships at two different schools.  Don’t forget the fact he did it at Two SEC Schools. The 2010 season was another strong one for Saban and the Tide, but lost to eventual national champions Auburn in the Iron bowl. The past two seasons Saban was able to get his 3rd and 4th National championship, which now puts him in more rare company as the first coach since Tom Osborne to win three or more national titles and he is the first to do it in the BCS era.

Say what you want about Nick Saban, but he has proven to turn programs into winners. He didn’t win great everywhere, but since he took over Alabama, he has won three championships and will probably have a team that is favored in 2013. Now the question I have, is Nick Saban one of the best coaches of all time? Or is he just the best of recent history? I am figuring he has to be close to being one of the best of all time, but that is my opinion, and I guess you could say “proof is in the pudding”.

Roll Tears Roll; Upset in Tuscaloosa

It is at the point of the season where the games are getting more and more interesting, and it was one game that had everyone’s attention on Saturday. #15 Texas A&M was traveling into Tuscaloosa to play #1 Alabama. Coming in as a 13.5 point underdog, there was not anyone outside of the Aggie fan base that gave them a chance in this game. But from the first possession, it looked like A&M was ready to play, and came to make a statement.

It started fast and furious for the Aggies as they were able to capitalize early and often in this game. Johnny Manzel looked like he was lathered up in Vaseline and was as elusive  as rain during a Texas summer. He found ways to make plays and dumbfound defenders with so much ease, that it looked like it was going to be an ugly day in Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide.

The Aggies started the game off with 20 unanswered points and looked ready to route the top ranked tide in their home. But being the #1 team in the country, the Tide were not going to go quietly as they were able to muster 14 points of their own heading into the half. At this point everyone around the country was ready to give the Crimson Tide the victory because A&M has a history of 2nd half meltdowns. But Johnny Football as Manzel has been dubbed had other ideas on this special night in Alabama.

Manzel found ways to make plays to keep A&M alive throughout the day and he earned his player of the game with a truly special game. But AJ McCarron tried to steal the show and had a perfect chance to do it again on consecutive weeks. But the football gods wouldn’t be on his side this week as he was picked in the end zone, effectively ending the game. The Aggies were the butt of all jokes when they announced the move the SEC, but right now it looks like the Aggies are going to get the last laugh.

They will be laughing all the way back to College Station, while the tears will flow in Tuscaloosa.

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College Football Rant

I want to apologize for the tardiness of this post. I meant to write it after the alleged National Championship game and have it ready to go a few days after the game had been played; but let’s face it…That was the most boring National Championship game ever…it was like reading the same book twice within a month. However we live in a bizarre world where the ending suddenly changed. Yes, I know I once wrote I was okay with the rematch…and I still would be…had LSU actually won.

Don’t get me wrong. LSU didn’t deserve to win that game with the way they played. However, I am left feeling empty and confused as a college football fan. We saw two teams play twice and win on each other’s turf. Are you kidding me BCS?!?!?!? Alabama doesn’t deserve to be a champion, and they didn’t deserve to be in the championship game! If this ending has to be the case then they should have them play a “rubber match” since each team one once. Alabama didn’t even win their division of the SEC. Come on….

Now, before you Alabama homers decide to jump my case, I will be the first to admit they did win the game fair and square. But let’s admit it, even to the most hardcore fan; Alabama didn’t deserve to even be there. They didn’t win their division and they didn’t win their conference. About the only thing they accomplished was beating the team that beat them earlier in the season. I’m sorry but this just makes me sick!

I love college football more than any sport that is played…I write about it to an obsessive point. I shut myself in for 6 months during the year just for college football. I always look forward to the march towards a National Championship and this year I just feel shorted. I enjoy the season, and yes I even enjoy the bowl games. But since the BCS came into existence, nearly every year I feel there were better teams than the ones who played for the mythical “National Championship”.

This year is not any different; in fact it is the worst one yet. There were some really good match ups in the bowl games and I even got to attend two of them. It was exciting seeing teams play who normally don’t get to play each other. But you know the system is severely broken when you have two face each other for a National Championship and they played in a conference earlier in the season. I promise this isn’t going to turn into a playoff rant…but it is just too hard not to lean that way after the anti-climactic ending to what was a stellar season.

Just as a side note, I also got to attend the FCS (Division 1-AA) championship game. They had a 24 team playoff that lasted for 4 weeks (not counting layoff between semi-finals and championship). Gee! What do you know! A playoff system that actually works and doesn’t leave fans hanging at the end of the season…ok, sorry rant over.

I am not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I am really disappointed the way this season ended. I hope the “powers that be” will realize how stupid and insignificant this championship really is. There needs to be major changes, otherwise they might as well just hand the National Championship trophy to the number one team at the end of the regular season. At least then it would produce a meaningful champion. If you will recall, LSU was the only unbeaten team at the end of the year.

It is a shame to see a great regular season flushed down the toilet by this stupid “BCS” rating system.

Hopefully “these powers that be” will realize you don’t need 35 bowl games. Many of the teams in these “nothing bowls” had six and six and some six and seven seasons. Duh? The interest level was made perfectly clear…all you had to do was look at the empty seats in the stadiums and then see what kind of TV ratings they drew. End of story.

Let’s go back to where bowl games mean something. Let’s get a playoff system of some kind to determine a real National Champion. This year was a farce.

 

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A Rematch? I am ok with that!

The worst possible scenario came to reality when the fraud of a system that is the BCS decided to match LSU and Alabama – again. The first game was exciting as it came down to the final play to decide the victor. While the first match up of these two schools was an exciting game you have to be a fan of defensive and low scoring football games, so this one ranked right up there with me.

Most of the country went into melt down mode yesterday when it was announced this was going to be the championship match up. I will admit I was disappointed to see this scenario come to reality, but I am ok with it, especially if this game is anything like the first match up. I know I am in the minority when it comes to this opinion as most fans want high scoring games with potent offenses. I would rather see a battle in the trenches with points being at a premium due to stellar defensive play.

It is this defensive game I am hoping the rematch will provide. I honestly think if Oklahoma State had been put into the championship against LSU, it would have just been sending the lamb to the slaughter.

So perk up America, we have a chance to have another very entertaining game and this time it will decide once and for all who our champion is. Maybe one of them will even score a touchdown.

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