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2017 Aggie Football: A Virtual Season In Review

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How will this season play out, you ask? My PS3 holds all the answers.

This is our third annual attempt to predict the upcoming season using NCAA ‘14, and the first two... haven’t gone well. The original edition glitched and refused to accept a bowl invite, while last year’s attempt refused to accept a bowl invite for a more traditional reason (we sucked).

Surely the third time is the charm, right?

The Preamble

First of all, this year’s conference slate was impossible to replicate in Dynasty mode. Believe me, I tried... but I couldn’t make it stick. So we have to roll with 12 independent ‘Play Now’ games, which kills game-to-game injuries and story lines from across the country.

A few additional notes:

  • Every game was played on "coach mode." I can call plays, manage the clock, and audible... but every single play is executed by the CPU against the CPU. No tampering.
  • All settings were set to "Heisman," the hardest difficulty. This ain’t the Big XII.
  • We used UCLA's playbook and LSU's defensive settings, as a nod to our OC/DC locations in 2014.
  • Nicholls State isn’t an option in ‘Play Now’ mode, so I replaced that game with Texas State. Close enough. They both have the word state.

Before we begin, we had to take care of one more piece of business...

Let’s get to work.

Week One (0-0; 0-0): @ UCLA (Rose Bowl)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: We surprised an early non-conference opponent. We sprinted ahead to a 24-9 lead, and then Daylon Mack scooped up a strip-sack and TOOK IT TO THE HOUSE FOR THE GREATEST 55 YARD FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN OF ALL TIME!!!!!

I literally jumped out of my seat. It was amazing.

Of course, UCLA scored twice to extinguish our short-lived happiness, and the Aggie offense complied with an immediate three-and-out up 31-24... but a UCLA fumble on the ensuing punt return calmed our nerves. From there, we held on.

Final Score: Texas A&M 34, UCLA 31

Week Two (1-0; 0-0): Texas State (Kyle Field) (Nicholls not an available opponent)

The gameplay was boring, so I’ll keep it quick: Trayveon ran for three TD’s, the team didn’t do anything stupid, and Texas State failed to offer much of a threat.

Happy tailgating, friends.

Final Score: Texas A&M 27, Texas State 6

Week Three (2-0; 0-0): UL-Lafayette (Kyle Field)

This game kicked off at 11:00am, so the crowd was hot and pissed off when ULL turned an early A&M pick into a FG, hit a bomb on their next possession, and ended the first quarter with a 10-0 lead.

We responded with 23 unanswered to push the lead to 23-10 in the 3rd quarter, but ULL hit back early in the 4th to cut our lead to six. Then, on a late 3rd and long, ULL returned a pick to our 20. And punched it home three plays later.

The Rajun’ Cajuns led 24-23 at Kyle Field with a minute remaining.

We burned our remaining timeouts to get the ball to midfield, giving us one last shot from the fifty. Christian Kirk, who was suspiciously wide open, catches a bomb on the last play of the game to avoid the upset. I’m not trying to say that ULL was on the take... but I’ll yet y’all decide.

Final Score: Texas A&M 30, UL-Lafayette 24

Week Four (3-0; 0-0): Arkansas (JerryWorld)

We own Arkansas. In real football, and in virtual CPU vs. CPU football... it doesn’t matter. We own them in all realities.

Two sustained TD drives and two LaCamera bombs from 49 and 51 had us up 20-0 before the Hogs could even blink. They cut it to 20-7... but never really threatened afterwards. The second half was a field goal game, and Arky could never cut the lead to single digits.

Final Score: Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 13

Week Five (4-0; 1-0): South Carolina (Kyle Field)

For the second consecutive week, the game was never in doubt. The lead was 21-0 after one quarter and 42-0 at halftime. We pulled the starters early in the third to prep for the upcoming massive showdown against Bama.

Stress-free football is fun.

Final Score: Texas A&M 49, South Carolina 7

Week Six (5-0; 2-0): Alabama (Kyle Field)

The first three quarters were pretty boring. Let’s get straight to the good stuff.

  • Trayveon scores early in the 4th on his 27th carry (#RTDB) to push our lead to 14-6
  • Alabama fumbles in their own territory, but we miss a 47 yard FG
  • The Tide march down the field and setup 1st and goal. On 3rd down, they punch it in. Or do they?
  • We throw the red flag... and the TD is upheld. Danielson is at full mast. We stop them on the two point conversion and lead 14-12. A first down wins the game.
  • Everyone reading this knows we don’t get the first down.
  • Hurts leads the Bammers to our 15, but they are out of timeouts. Instead of spiking the ball, they run a busted play... and take a sack
  • There’s no time for their FG unit to run onto the field. I’m freaking out.
  • On the last play of the game, Hurts fires a virtual TD pass that breaks my heart into a million virtual pieces. Alabama 18, Texas A&M 14.
  • Only, that’s not the final score. CPU Nick Saban goes for two on the untimed down, just to twist the knife. Because he’s an asshole.

Final Score: Alabama 20, Texas A&M 14

Week Seven (5-1; 2-1): @ Florida (The Swamp)

Florida opens with an immediate TD, followed by an A&M three and out. All in the pouring rain. Not ideal. But we settle down with a TD... then we turn two consecutive turnovers into TD’s. It’s 21-7 before the Gator crowd could blink. Then my controller runs out of battery, and I realize (no joke) that my USB charger has finally bit the dust.

It’s pouring rain, and the game malfunctioned before halftime... we gotta call this one a rainout. We’ll play it after LSU.

Final Score: [rainout]

Week Eight (5-1; 2-1): Mississippi State (Kyle Field)

After a rainout and a bye, we came out and kicked some ass. 28-10 at the end of the first quarter, and we never looked back. This life is chill.

Final Score: Texas A&M 44, Mississippi State 24

Week Nine (6-1; 3-1): @ Auburn (Jordan-Hare)

Auburn rides an early pick six to a 13-3 lead, and they nab another interception right before halftime to make it 20-3. Starkel is officially placed on notice... and responds with 21 straight points, which is followed by a 4th quarter Auburn TD, giving Auburn a 27-24 lead.

Starkel has three minutes to become a hero.

He marches down the field and sets up 1st and goal with :32 on the clock... leading to a QB sneak on third and inches. He crosses the plane, and the Aggies win.

15 plays, 69 yards. Nicest drive you ever saw.

Final Score: Texas A&M 31, Auburn 27

Week Ten (7-1; 4-1): New Mexico (Kyle Field)

Ugh, this game was boring. 7-7 at halftime, leading to a 21-7 final for the good guys. The game didn't even give me a final montage of highlights. It deemed the game unworthy.

Final Score: Texas A&M 21, New Mexico 7

Week Eleven (8-1; 4-1): @ Ole Miss (Oxford, MS)

After an uuuuugly first quarter, we moved ahead 7-3 on an overturned reviewed play (karma!)... but then things got dark. We couldn’t muster any offense aside from an end-of-half two minute drill, and the deficit was 27-14 after three. We scored to keep things close, but the Rebels killed the game off late.

There was no miracle in the cards, this week.

Final Score: Ole Miss 27, Texas A&M 24

Week Twelve (8-2; 4-2): @ LSU (Death Valley)

When we scored an early TD, I didn’t get excited. When we turned an end-of-half INT into a last-second FG to push the lead to 13-7, I didn’t get excited. When we engineered two straight 4th down stops at midfield, I didn’t get excited. When we killed most of the 4th quarter clock for another field goal, I didn’t get excited. But when we forced an INT to end the Tigers final hopes, I finally allowed myself to get excited.

We're gonna do it. We’re gonna win in Death Valley.

Final Score: Texas A&M 16, LSU 7

Week Thirteen (9-2; 5-2): @ Florida (Makeup game)

We’re tired. The season is supposed to be over, but weather (and an ill-timed mechanical failure) have conspired to put us here.

Florida takes a methodical 10-0 halftime lead. Then it’s 17-9 after 3, all in extremely boring fashion. No one can move the ball.

But our D gives us a short field for a quick TD drive, and we stick the 2-pt conversion. Then Daylon Mack forces of a fumble on the next defensive snap, and we punch it in with :15 remaining.

Suck it, Florida. Your loss cost us the national title in 2012.

Final Score: Texas A&M 24, Florida 17

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That puts us at 10-2; 6-2 for the season. Enjoy the images from what will surely be a 100% accurate prediction of the wars to come.

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We couldn’t make the bowl games work due to the issues at the top. So tell me, friends... where are we going with a 10-2 record? Who do we play? How does it play out.

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