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THE TAILGATE: A Graphical Preview of Texas A&M vs Kentucky

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Headline: Basketball School Attempts Football. LET’S TAILGATE

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SOMETHING'S AFOOT AT THE UK

I bet that most of you are going to hang the last two columns over my head, serving as an example that I don’t know shit about football. I’ll save you the trouble here and admit that you’re likely correct in that assessment. Feel better? Awesome, let’s move on.

Today, we're talking throwbacks. I watched the Aggies win the Big XII in the very uniforms that you’ll see on Saturday against Kentucky, and the fact that they're bringing those bad boys out for another run has made me nostalgic for more simple times. So, what other throwbacks would I like to see implemented this weekend from 1998? Let’s go.

The Cowboy Collar: Nothing looked more intimidating on the football field than a Cowboy Collar. Between that and the XXXL shoulder pads, it looked like every player lived for shoulder day. Now when I look at it, I see a frat boy trying to escape someone’s uniform, but it still looks badass.

90s Coaching Aesthetic: Who didn’t love these looks? I’m tired of coaches sporting the latest athleisure apparel, get ye back to the 90s where that shit looked appropriately ridiculous. I need more fonts! More crazy graphics! Put them at odd angles that are flattering on no man but RC! Come on, Jimbo. Just this once.

Pogs: Mostly because I bought a shit ton of them and (yes, this is true) founded the middle school POG club. Yes, it was impossible to have a free weekend to myself with all the dates lining up at my door. You can see how I naturally transitioned to a low-level blogger/podcaster. Pogs are sick, let's bring 'em back starting Saturday.

Aggies Beating Ranked Opponents: This would be super sweet as Kentucky is currently in the top 15, and I predict that the Ags TCOB and send the Wildcats back to Lexington with an L, leaving Mark Stoops to ponder another lesson taught by Jimbo Fisher.

Aggies - 35
Cats - 28


CAST OF CHARACTERS

With Ausbon out for a good while, Mond needs a consistent and steady guy to grab the medium chunks of yards in the passing game. Wondering who made that tough catch? It was Buckley. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "Lookin' at Me," Mase.

This is it: going up against the best pass rusher in the best conference. Time to show that the lines really have toughened up under the new program leadership. I want Jim Turner's pleats to remain razor-sharp the entire game. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "Turn It Up," Busta Rhymes.

After a scorching first coupe of outings, the freshman had a rough Saturday at Jerryworld. Time to bounce back; every kick will be crucial in what could be a hell of a match. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," Aerosmith.

The SEC leader in rushing yards and touchdowns. Also the first player in school history to have back-to-back 1000-yard seasons, and well on his way to a hat trick. {cough} WRAP UP, SECONDARY {cough}. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "Tubthumping," Chumbawumba.

The SEC's leader in sacks. Josh Allen is one of those defenders who ends up with multiple everythings per game: tackles, sacks, turnovers, any of it. Good thing we have multiple tight ends now. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "Intergalactic," Beastie Boys.

Hall of Fame football name aside, this is a hell of a ball player. Versatile enough to start at multiple positions on the interior line over the past couple seasons. Should be a test for Mack and Madibuike. 1998 WALKUP MUSIC: "Sock It To Me," Missy Elliott.


MILLERTIME

Not to Patch my own Adams here, but is all this 1998 talk this week making anybody else a bit too nostalgic? Nah, I mean think about it, folks: the Internet was in its infancy. College football was more regional and clan-like, hiding out in different regions of the country like contentious chain-burger joints or ways to pronounce "roof." Recruiting was something that you could blissfully have no exposure to the murky origins of, like delicious chorizo, or boy band albums. Consider this: maybe that 60 seconds of creeching while you waited for your modem to connect to your LAN was the last safeguard the Internet had against sending out your most blazing of taeks without a moment of hesitation or reflection to precede them. But enough of my virtual philosophy, let's talk football.

Lordy, that Aggie football. RC Slocum had more athletic swag than an Olympic swimmer after an all-night soiree at the Athlete's Village hot tub, babe. Those polos and windbreakers were ART, Richard Copeland, I tell ya. And how about that defense, eh? Can you envision Warrick Holdman and Dat Nguyen crashing down the line against a modern offense? RPO? More like R? P? NOOO! amirite? No? No. Mm-k.

Anywhoo, sorry for rambling like an Edwin McCain acoustic solo at a high school dance, folks. I'm just really diggin' the '98 vibe. Pass me the Jack-in-the-Box and one of those newfangled Red Bulls, and don't you DARE unplug the modem from the wall jack. I think Ken Starr's trying to call us on the landline, babe.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

MIKE DROP

Wildcat middle linebacker Kash Daniel will spend the first half of the game on the bench watching the Aggies try to get some points on the board while Daniel serves his one-half suspension for a targeting call last weekend. Hopefully the absence of the starting middle linebacker will free up some blockers to help quintuple team outside pass rusher Josh Allen, the best defensive player in the SEC. Kellen Mond will need to keep his head on a swivel in order to avoid ending up with his spine on a swivel.

LOSE-LOSE (PLEASE DON'T LOSE)

Win this game and congratulations, you beat Kentucky at a non-basketball competition. Lose this game and, well, you lost to Kentucky at a non-basketball competition. A good piece of life advice is to dismiss outright anyone in sports coverage who uses the word narrative, but if you can't help yourself then at least try to prepare yourself for how enraged you will be when the Aggies are derided no matter what happens this weekend. You can practice by printing a photo of Clay Travis' face and duct taping it to a rusty old ironing board and just opening and closing it over and over until you feel nothing.

KID GLOVES

Speaking of narrative, the national media has had a fun week rolling around in the pile of facemask grabbing that Jimbo Fisher left on the lawn. Not one to ape platitudes to get journos off his back, Jimbo has no doubt attended some mandatory seminars and workshops this week about hostile work environments and proper #branding optics. Look for Fisher to be on his best behavior, minding his pleases and thank yous, opening up a safe space dialogue about whether bonehead penalties against inferior competition are good for the team, and serving orange slices. Don't tell the players, but if they win he's taking everyone to Gattiland!


ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC

#5 LSU @ #22 FLORIDA

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most likely to park their leased Yukon in a vacant lot to avoid paying $20 and then get eaten by an alligator on the way to the game of them all?

Last week Florida turned 357 total yards into 13 points against Mississippi State. In LSU's other ranked SEC match they needed two DPI calls in their final drive to get within range to kick a game winning field goal. These are the most SEC teams prepared to play the most SEC football you will witness this season, just two dudes in shiny F150 Raptors going mudding behind the new Home Depot and getting stuck while their girlfriends cheer them on and snap with other guys.


HOTREELZ


ROI'd RAGE

Last week the needle dropped on a loss, this week it dropped on a win. After all, seven points on the worst team in the SEC is not the type of yield the Aggie businessman expects on his portfolio. The shine is off the Clemson... well... loss, and now we are firmly in what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-other-than-fail-to-beat-the-spread-twice territory. Hey, here's a sentence no one predicted at the beginning of this season: "A win against top a top 15 Kentucky team would sure go a long way towards reassuring Aggie fans that Jimbo Fisher is the real deal."


PLACE YOUR BETS


BEST CASE / BESTER CASE

BEST CASE

DEFEND KYLE AGAINST A RANKED CONFERENCE FOE IN THROWBACK UNIS IN FRONT OF A SOLD OUT KYLE FIELD??? YES, THIS IS BEST CASE. GET LOUD. GET HYPE. STAY CLASSY.

BESTER CASE

The win cements these uniforms as the standard, and all Aggies rejoice in their simplicity. Coach Fisher sends me a signed helmet containing his game check with a note that reads "don't spend it all in one place, lol", but I do. Where, you ask? A gentlemen never tells.