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THE TAILGATE: A Graphical Preview of Texas A&M at South Carolina

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Which came first: the chicken, or the egg they’re about to lay? Let’s TAILGATE.


HOW I PREPARE FOR A RIVAL

Get pumped for rivalry week, y’all. Since becoming the cross-divisional rival for the Aggies, these Cocks haven’t managed to put up a W. To be fair, the Aggies aren’t listed as a rival on their Wikipedia page. Yet. I know rivalries take time to build, and be sure this flock is going to be frothing over for a win against Jimbo and the Aggies. I just long for a time when there’s some true hate built up against an opponent, and believe me, there’s nothing better after a long drought than beating… y’all get it.

Personally, I’ve been using different techniques to help me build rivalry-level hate for SC in the weeks leading up to the game. I spend the first 3 hours of every day (4 AM - 7 AM) locked in a dark sauna while a strobe light flashes at an uncomfortable pulse. During this time, a specialty remix of “Sandstorm” cut by Cuppy plays at a volume my doctor calls “fucking irresponsible. What in the hell are you doing, asshole?” He had to write it down for me.

I also bought a mannequin that I’ve expertly painted to look like Will Muschamp. At various intervals during the day, the mannequin (powered by Alexa) will insult me, Aggie Twitter, and Texas A&M University by saying such things as “I’m not programmed to do that.” and “Please ask me another question.” After each insult, I put on my overalls, whoop real good, and throw that son of a bitch out of the window. It’s the piecing it back together that really gets me good and steamed.

Finally, once per week as a cheat meal, I go HAM at a Popeye’s. While only wearing a jock, painted in maroon, I proceed to eat the entire establishment out of chicken while yelling “TAKE THAT YOU COCK!” Sure, I’ve been banned from multiple franchises in North Texas, but I own a car. And if you’re committed to a bit, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Aggies - 31
Cocks - 17


CAST OF CHARACTERS

Number 8 has four sacks in the last two games against some fairly sound SEC offensive lines. If he's building up for a surge in his last games as a senior, this defense could really continue to impress.

Last week saw a good bit of shotgun and spread sets, so look for the offense to return to a beefier package against the Gamecocks in Columbia to try to establish the run game early.

His colleague Mr. Wilson stole the show last week with a dozen tackles. #4 is primed for a big game after a fairly quiet start to the year. This team is well past due for some turnovers.

Wouldn't be a true rivalry without a clutch kicker in the mix. Perfect on extra points on the year and he's hitting field goals at an 89% clip (8 for 9) including the game-winner against Mizzou last week with 2 seconds remaining.

SEC co-leader in interceptions. Come to think of it he was in the lead before Mond threw one to Kentucky's safety last week. Such drama and backstory!

The senior leader of the 'Cock receivers has three career kick return touchdowns, so he's dangerous when he can find a crease in special teams coverage as well.


MILLERTIME

Hey folks, hope we're all sitting down: I'm here to talk about punting. I know. Fan yourselves. Listen: Braden Mann's been more surprisingly and viciously assertive this year than Gordon Ramsey writing a Yelp review of a Kyle Field Concession kiosk, mmkay? This guy's got more yards punting on the season than LSU has passing yards, for Coach O's sake. He puts more air under his balls than any other man in America short of Chuck Yeager.

Mann's making punting sexy, OK, and that ain't easy to do. He's got Kirk Ferentz sending him unsolicited DMs begging for practice drill pics. And it's been vital to the gameplan, too. He's flipped more Texas real estate this year than the Snow Sisters, babe. Jimbo's going to take this squad into Columbia and grind out boring yards and use Mega Mann to dictate field position. You wanna see someone grow slowly apoplectic over the course of 60 minutes as he slowly gets beat at his own game? Keep an eye on ol' Muschamp on the sideline as his forehead veins slowly distend and sweat starts pouring out of every cowlick. You might just get a kick out of it, we know Braden will.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

OFFENSIVE WOAHS

The Aggies managed what felt like a paltry, throwback-appropriate 14 points in regulation last week, prompting many jabbering automatons to declare that A&M has a struggling offense. That's right, the Fightin' Texas Aggies who have played the top two teams in the country and whose schedule so far has had 50% of opponents in the top 15 are apparently struggling on offense. That's why we have the #4 passer in the SEC and the #1 rusher in the SEC - it's the struggles, you see. Don't let journos do your thinking for you, just sit back and enjoy a flawed but exciting offense do their thing.

GUY MANN

Welcome to Punter U. The best punters in the country wouldn't be a third-string holder at Punter U. Here at Punter U we don't rebuild, we reload. At Punter U every punter is battling for the starting job every week. Every day is leg day at Punter U. Your team throws boneheaded arm-punts, but here at Punter U we boom beautiful leg-picks. Rugby style quick kicks are for cowards and the infirm.

WEEKEND AT NICKY'S

This week Jimbo Fisher told Paul Finebaum that he derives no pleasure from coaching against his friends, and he and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp are best beach buddies. While working together on Nick Saban's staff the two went in together on a beach house in Panama City that they still own to this day. They found the place when their boss Nick Saban invited them out for a weekend only to be killed by LSU fans who heard he was leaving. Two hours of 1980's hijinks later the two were inseparable and Catherine Mary Stewart had fallen head over heels for Muschamp. Saban's corpse has done pretty well for itself too.


ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC

OLE MISS @ ARKANSAS

Yes, the casual fans and poseurs will all be tuned in to CBS for #2 Georgia @ #13 LSU. But once the significance and fury of that game passes over, you would do well to come slumming with the true connoisseurs to watch the Piggies take on the Sharkies. This late slot, lean ratings, low rent SEC offering has the makings for a heady brew of incompetence and chaos. Pair with a bourbon on the rocks with a pork cracklin garnish and an Oxycontin chaser for the true SEC West bottom feeder experience.


HOTREELZ


ROI'd RAGE

Don't look now, but Jimbo has notched a top 15 win at Kyle Field and that's good enough to get the big cigars patting themselves on their well-heeled backs. If Fisher keeps up the trend and maybe finds something in his bag of tricks that knocks off a big opponent like LSU later this season, we could peg the meter. And if we redline this bad boy then you know - you know - we'll be talking the Big "E": extension. Give the Aggies enough ranked wins at home and they'll help you shame an emir, Jimbo.


PLACE YOUR BETS


BEST CASE / BESTER CASE

BEST CASE

Take this shit to 5-0 and really piss off our friends in Columbia. Jace rips off a 65-yard reception to seal the deal while running over three defenders. It's at this point we all notice the "Don't like my driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT" sticker on the back of his helmet.

BESTER CASE

The after party is at the Muschamp-Fisher beach compound, and spawns a reality show called "Myrtle Shore". I know Chuck already did a beach house joke, OK? Shut up. Oh, and this particular part of the Tailgate gets me a Peabody Award.