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THE TAILGATE: A Graphical Preview of Texas A&M vs New Mexico State

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The Aggies took a tough loss to a fantastic Bama team. Our playoff hopes are still alive, but our path to the National Treasure Championship got a little trickier.


MIDSEASON PRESEASON

Some of you don’t recall the days of the original NES, some of you do. I remember playing Super Mario Brothers. What a fun game. You’re this scrappy little plumber, a 2 star recruit at best, but you've been called up to rescue your love from the assholes from Taken, but in turtle form. Your little Mario has survived every Goomba, Koopa Troopa, and Hammer Bro the universe could throw at you. You’ve run, jumped, fireballed, and swam your way through countless levels and finally, you're there. You’re amped. You’re ready. In the realm of Mario, you’re ranked somewhere in the top 10. You feel… invincible.

For this particular game of Mario Brothers, you've invited friends over for a sleepover. You PROMISED them that you’d beat the game for their amusement. Everyone in the place is hopped up on Jolt Cola, pizza, and an ungodly amount of candy. Shit is hype, y’all. Now you’re at the final castle. You know the one, it’s been promised for all those other levels where “the princess was in another castle.” This is that castle. You did it. Now take that fucker down.

You have one life to go, and you’re so amped you forget to find the 1-Ups in the final level. Your little caffeinated hands are shaking in anticipation, and you’ve unaware that you look like a total dumbass with a half eaten Twizzler dangling out of your mouth. It doesn’t matter, you’re a god. Time to fuck up this spiky humanoid human trafficking little bastard, rescue the princess, and cement your place in grade school lore. Then, it happens. The button jams, you can’t jump, bowser just touches you and you die. Oh, what’s that? The NES has no save feature? That’s right, fuck you. Back to level 1-1 with a goddamn Twizzler now stuck to the front of your shirt. Close your mouth, you'll get flies in it.

Welcome to the Texas Aggies vs. the New Mexico State Aggies the week after the Bama game.

Aggies 56
Other Aggies 17


CAST OF CHARACTERS

Was about to say it's been a quiet year so far for #6, but oh, well...damn. Anyway, he served his half and will need to make a more...positive impact, especially if Watts is dinged up.

The true freshman was pretty productive against Alabama in limited action, so it will be interesting to see if he gets more playing time on Saturday.

Is that right? Did I pronounce that correctly? Anyway, we always see this #86 guy out there on short running TDs, so why not chunk him the rock? There, I said it: a tight end pass play. Try it. It won't burn your arm off, especially not with those guns.

Third-team All-American in 2015 as a sophomore. Sun Belt offensive player of the year. Unfortunate subject of the worst-soundtracked highlight reel in college football. "Hey gurl I'mma put you in the mood with some Larry Rose, III runs."

Third-leading passer in Aggie history. Is an Arizona product who went out of state to play college ball, so hopefully that means he's prone to pick-sixes against SEC defenses at Kyle Field.

This guy is one of the top ten solo tacklers in the country. He racked up two dozen stops in the team's rivalry win over the hated Lobos. If tackles were eccentric, overpriced turquoise jewelry shops, this guy would be Santa Fe.


"Hey Magnum, solve the case yet?"

"Hey, Luigi. Where's my pizza?"

And then the cacophony of laughter and ridicule chasing him down the hall. That was high school, and middle school, and elementary before that. A whole chorus of carnival house derision tearing at his fragile exoskeleton of resolve. Mockery fueled by what he knew deep down to be jealousy of the lustrous full mustache that had adorned his upper lip from birth.

Always the tugging. The curious-minded who would blurt "is that real?" and try to pull it off at the corners. Always the shock in their eyes when they realized that it was in fact real and he stared back at them with a hint of defiance and pride.

He roamed his world alone, the bristly masculine growth above his mouth leading him around like some ancient homing genome in migrating beasts. At sixteen he tried shaving it. It was back in a matter of hours. He embraced it. Waxed and polished it, and curled the corners. He tried different hats: berets, fedoras, he wore aviator glasses and scarves.

Then one day near his high school graduation he found himself in Las Cruces at a football scrimmage. And across the field he locked eyes with Pete and he knew his destiny.

They talked for hours following the game, exchanging grooming tips, trimming techniques, brush styles, all of it. Pete spoke of how he had found his way to Las Cruces four years earlier and how he was glad to now have an understudy of his own. He fastidiously brought forth the chaps and vest from storage and presented them to his successor with a solemn dignity.

"These are yours now. I'll be here to guide you for a couple months, then I'll be gone like a mustang on the prairie wind. This will all be yours for four years until the next one finds you."

"How will I know him?"

"How did you know yourself?"

The nameless boy was now the man known as Pistol Pete, and the mustache finally had purpose.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

WEEN STUMES

Remember last year how the well-heeled brain trusts at adidas and Texas A&M joined together for a revolutionary All Hallow's Eve BRANDING move entitled "Aggie Nights"? Glow-in-the-dark uniforms! Cool! What could go wrong? Well the Ags infamously got the 11 AM slot and no one in the athletic department or at adidas was cool enough to laugh at themselves. This week's game is the Saturday night before Halloween, so expect a lot of people to be dressed up in make-believe costumes beyond the requisite soldiers and overalled farmers. If Trevor Knight goes to Northgate dressed as a 1970's cartoon dog to go dancing (unlikely!) with some scantily clad Aggieland starlets, we might be in for a special season. As for me, I'm putting the final touches on my Sexy Verne Lundquist costume.

graph

JUGADAS GRANDES

Los Aggies de Nuevo Mexico have the fifth worst defense in FBS college football - still better than Texas Tech! Look for massive days from Trevor Knight and his receivers. Expect Trayveon Williams to regain his stride because going from the Alabama D to the New Mexico State D is akin to going from learning organic chemistry in Mandarin to earning a doctorate in paste eating... at Texas Tech. Big plays will abound.

Stafford Sack

SACKS AND FUNDED MENTALS

New Mexico State's offense slings the ball all over the yard to varying degrees of success. While our defense can get exposed by athletic zone read option attacks, they thrive against quarterbacks who try to sit in the pocket and make plays. Look for a lot of screens to be thrown at the A&M D. A re-commitment to sound tackling and pursuit angles are noble goals in a game like this. We're at the end of October and mental and physical exhaustion are starting to show. Fundamental play throughout the two-deep will be important on Saturday night. Make quick work of an inferior opponent, and stomp on the throat. God willing, our offensive line won't have to try to make any tackles.


ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC

Running Man Freeze

It's a light week for the powerhouses in God's conference with a smattering of cupcakes and OPEN dates for Alabama and LSU. During commercials of the Ag-Ag game, you may want to flip over to the Auburn-Ole Miss game on the SEC Network. A&M's win over Auburn is suddenly looking like the most plumed feather in its cap, and an upcoming home date with always-dangerous Ole Miss looms. Auburn is favored by 4.5 on the road - just like everyone expected a month ago. Chaos is fun. Deal with it.


HOTREELZ


LET'S HAVE A STATGASM


PLACE YOUR BETS


BEST CASE / WORST CASE

BEST CASE

Steamroll them. The team was just benching 400, and now they've stripped the bar, hammer out a few thousand reps on NMSU. Everyone plays, everyone pads stats, nobody gets injured, we all drink beer, NMSU is forced to change their name, and I win the Powerball later in the year. You can all visit me on my Yacht. Open bar.

WORST CASE

Wheels off close game off a tough loss. Starters stay in way too long. I rob a 7-11 in a desperate move to feel ANYTHING, land in jail, and have to send my Tailgate columns in via post. Please send cigarettes.