Last year, after the Mississippi State debacle, I wrote an article with a simple title:
With a world of opportunity in front of them and and a chance to reach the College Football Playoff, Texas A&M football went to Starkville and got humiliated. A program long on hype and hollow bravado and short on grit and discipline got their asses kicked up and down the field.
The Aggies got obliterated in the trenches. They were out-rushed 365 yards to 117.
Call it scheme or preparation or whatever, but the point remains - an entitled, coddled football team thought they could go on the road in the SEC and sleepwalk to an easy win.
One of my favorite aspects of football is watching players and teams with limited talent compete - and win - above their punching weight. Recruiting rankings, draft stock, facilities, revenue, and all that other horseshit gets thrown out when Iowa State rolls into Norman and out-wills the Sooners on their own field. Grit. Discipline. Give-a-damn.
Conversely, one of the more frustrating things in football is watching talented players and teams play without fire and pride. The types of teams that can out-talent many opponents with flash, but who totally crumble when they get punched in the mouth.
Saturday night Dan Mullen will bring a prepared, focused, physical football team to Kyle Field. Any Ags who made that trip to Starkville last year should have steam pouring out of their ears. They should be wanting to knock their man into the third row. If I were Sumlin, I’d have that game playing on loop in the weight room.
So here’s your opportunity, Ags. Many in the national media are still waiting to see if you’re tough enough and man enough for a full SEC schedule. This is not an issue of talent or size. This is about showing some damn heart and protecting your home field. Make the Hate Barn a miserable place to play. Make the opponent earn every single inch. MAUL in the trenches.
Punch Clanga in the mouth and don’t stop until the clock shows zeroes around 10 PM.
Prove to the league and the nation that you are no longer soft. Most importantly, prove it to yourselves.
Beat the hell outta Mississippi State.