Texas A&M Aggies
The 11-2 (6-2) Texas A&M Aggies will look to continue their success in their second season in the SEC. A surprising season last season propelled them to #5 in the country last year, and they will have a huge target on their back this year. Led by Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the Aggies have a shot to overcome Alabama and win the SEC West.
Texas A&M’s explosive offense played an immense role in the success of the team. The offense averaged 44.5 points per game, which is an incredible amount of points. Most of these points were a result of quarterback Johnny Manziel. “Johnny Football” threw for 3706 yards and ran for 1410 yards, and he scored a total of 47 touchdowns the whole year. Now in his sophomore season, all eyes around the country will be on him to see if he can continue this success in the air and on the ground. Defenses will definitely be better prepared for him, and I think Manziel will be successful, but not as successful as last season. At running back, the Aggies will have Oklahoma transfer sophomore Brandon Williams, sophomore Trey Williams, and senior Ben Malena. It is not certain which of the three will be the feature back this year for Texas A&M, but they all have the ability to run for close to 1000 yards. Manziel will lose three out of his top four receivers from last season, with sophomore Mike Evans returning this year. Evans was the leading receiver, with 1105 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, the Aggies will lose Texas A&M career receiving leader Ryan Swope. Not only was Swope a great receiver, but also a leader on this football team. Besides Evans, the other receivers will include junior Malcome Kennedy, senior Derel Walker, freshman Ricky Seals-Jones, and other highly touted recruits. Finally, the offensive line will lose LT Luke Joeckel, but they still should be a dominant line with a combined total of 73 games started.
The Texas A&M defense must play big this season in order for the whole team to be successful. There will be a lot of pressure on the Aggie defense to shut down offenses, and give the ball to their own high-powered offense. On the defensive line, the Aggies are returning two starters in sophomore Julien Obioha and senior Kirby Ennis. The defensive line was the main reason that Texas A&M beat Alabama, and their success will be crucial this year. At linebacker, the Aggies will be much less experienced, as only one starter is returning, senior Steven Jenkins. I expect the production of the linebacker core to go down, but Steven Jenkins will have a monster season. The Texas A&M secondary will be a strength in 2013. Juniors Howard Matthews and Deshazor Everett are the leaders of the secondary, and the two returning starters. However, the other two players in the secondary this season, junior Floyd Raven and sophomore De’Vante Harris, are both experienced and talented, which is great news for Aggie fans.
Sophomore Taylor Bertolet will be the kicker for the Aggies this season, and sophomore Drew Kaser will replace Ryan Epperson as the Texas A&M punter. Running back Trey Williams will return kicks this season, and the punt returner has yet to be determined.
The Aggies once again have an easy non-conference schedule, which should warm them up for their game against Alabama in week three. This will be an extremely anticipated game, as the Tide look for revenge. Texas A&M have a favorable schedule this year to take over the SEC West, as long as they can beat Alabama (home) and LSU (away). I predict that the Aggies will have trouble in their games against Alabama and LSU, but win at least one of the games, if not both. Certainly, the BCS National Championship is not out of the question at all.