July 17, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Texas A&M Aggies helmet sits in front of an SEC backdrop during the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE
Louisiana Tech University officials announced Tuesday afternoon that Texas A&M’s season opening contest against the Bulldogs had been postponed until October 13 due to the approach of Hurricane Issac. Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van de Velde cited safety concerns for the athletes and fans as the primary reason for the postponement. As it turned out, these fears were unfounded. However, at the time of the announcement Hurricane Isaac's projected path placed it in the Shreveport area around gametime so the cancellation was a necessary precaution. Some Aggie fans were dubious as to the real reason for the cancellation, claiming that the real reason for the postponement was tepid ticket sales and/or Tech not having any game film of the Aggies. (Note: These rumors founded on comments allegedly made by Tech coach Sonny Dykes and were denied by A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman) Regardless of the reason, the game is now set for October 13. So what does this mean for the Aggies?
The obvious disadvantage is the lack of a midseason bye week. Bye weeks in the middle of the season provide players and coaches a few days of much needed rest and recovery, and A&M’s bye week was particularly well placed prior to the team's much anticipated clash with LSU. Prior to the postponement, Kevin Sumlin & Co. had an extra week to devise and implement a means to attack the vaunted LSU defense. They no longer enjoy that luxury.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and the clouds of Hurricane Isaac are no exception. The Aggies now have an extra week to prepare for one of the most important games in school history. On September 8, college football fans across the nation will tune in to see how A&M performs in its first SEC test. There is a good chance that ESPN’s College Gameday will be in attendance, which will bring the anticipation and hype to unprecedented levels. Years from now Aggie trivia will contain the question "Who did the Aggies play in their first SEC game?", followed closely by another question: "Did they win?". More importantly, how the Aggies perform in this game will go a long way towards setting the tone for the season and sustaining the staff's current recruiting success. Thus, a strong argument can be made the having an extra week is put to better use by preparing for Florida than LSU.
Also not to be overlooked is that the Tech matchup was an obvious trap game for the Aggies. The Aggies might have looked past the Bulldogs to Florida, and this Tech team is far more dangerous than those of recent memory (Nobody was ever afraid of a Derek Dooley coached team, not even Kentucky). Coach Dykes cut his coaching teeth under the Dread Pirate Mike Leach, and the Bulldogs won the now defunct WAC last year and gave TCU all they could handle in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Bulldogs can move the football and this game was to be their Super Bowl, a chance to shock an SEC team on national television. Tech's Air Raid scheme would have been a difficult first matchup for Mark Snyder's unproven defensive backfield, which currently lists true freshman De'Vante Harris and sophomore Deshazor Everett as the starting cornerbacks. It's easy to imagine a worst case scenario unfolding where the Bulldogs jump out to a quick lead and the Aggies, running a new system with a redshirt freshman quarterback, cannot respond. The last thing Sumlin needs is a repeat of Sherman's folly against Arkansas State. Such a loss would absolutely kill any and all SEC buzz and recruiting momentum the Aggies currently enjoy.
The college football world will forgive a loss against the Gators, but they would not forgive a loss to the Bulldogs. So while there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the lack of Aggie football this week, Aggies can find comfort in knowing that maybe a potential disaster was averted. Sumlin and Co. now get another week to prepare for their nationally televised entrance onto the SEC stage, while avoiding a potential misstep that would be nigh impossible to recover from.