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The TAILGATE: A Graphical Preview of Texas State vs. Texas A&M

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Nothing like a little appetizer before the main course. Welcome back to another year and another TAILGATE.


Let's Watch Some Aggie Football

There’s nothing worse than the late offseason. That time from the end of July to mid-August when you can smell the football cooking in the kitchen, but you know it’s not going to be ready for another few hours. At this point, you start looking around at the other people in the room, wondering who you could get away with killing and eating. You’re hungry, but so are they.

This leads to picking fights on Twitter about hypothetical games that never happened, and probably never will (sorry). Some get into politics because a peaceful life is just too damn much for humans. Others resort to hard drugs and recruiting, screaming into the abyss about a high school player who head-faked a fanbase into believing that he would be the lone 5-star quarterback to take them to the promised land, only to find him playing wide receiver at Miami. It gets weird.

But we finally have a game this week, and it’s glorious. Texas State is a gem nestled in the middle of San Marcos, on a beautiful campus. Did you know that after graduation, the tradition is that students run outside and jump into the river? Well, I had no idea about that until my cousin graduated a few years back. One girl jumped in pencil style, feet first, into the shallow water. What happened after is burned into my memory.

She just kind of stopped for a nanosecond, and then jerked down. The scream was the worst I’ve ever heard, piercing the air. Her friends pulled her out of the water, and there it was. A nasty compound fracture of her shin, the bone emerging from her calf. Never seen anything like that. She was hauled off in an ambulance, and I have no idea what happened to her.

And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do to ‘em, Ags.

Aggies 56
Bobcats 13
PS: I seriously hope that girl is ok, living her best life, and running marathons. It truly was horrific.


CAST OF CHARACTERS

Yes, all eyes will be on #11 this year as the Aggies have their first third-year starter at signal-caller in about a decade. Should be a pretty vanilla scheme, but look for him to flex his arm a few times early.

Ags, we've got a brand-new 12th Man! Welcome him on board heartily, and let's see some big tackles. Will he grow a luxuriant mane like his predecessor? Only time will tell.

DOUBLE BRADEN TAILGATE...WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The world's leading punter returns to action after his historic and record-setting 2018 season. Look for Jimbo to rest him frequently by avoiding fourth down scenarios.

What a fantastic story that really captures what's at the heart of college football. He didn't take the shortest path to college football stardom, but one look at his highlight reel and you'll realize that he's not that eld.

"Played tackle, Lincoln High. All-State. Big, ugly guy." Folks, with that kind of glowing endorsement from his own QB, it's no wonder the coaches just want to let him eat.

With his rigid bearing and military background, many Ags salivated at the thought of him signing with A&M, but alas, he slipped through the cracks.


#12THMEME

If 2019 has taught us anything, it's that we deserve all the terrible memes we get. In an effort to go green, the TAILGATE will be heartily recycling Internet jokes this year to cut down on the pure carbon heat generated by fresh jokes. If this TAILGATE were an actual tailgate party, consider this the phone charging station. Plug in!


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

GOOD FELLAS

Despite their youth, this is the deepest and most talented A&M football team since 1998. We have the rarest of all things in this day and age - a third year quarterback. The Aggies also have proven depth on the offensive line, defensive line, and wide receiver. We have a running back with undisputable talent. The secondary is full of youthful talent and a sprinkling of veterans who were put through the fire the past two seasons. If the linebackers stay healthy there are no obvious weaknesses.

THE COLOR OF MONEY

If you haven’t visited the new Kyle Field since the renovations were completed, this is the perfect game to do so. It’s a night game, and it should be relatively easily to acquire a set of decent seats from various online vendors. The place is opulent, and this year we will introduce alcohol sales to generate more revenue. You can just smell the cash. Go to the game. Enjoy the relative ease of a cupcake game and dream of a great season to come – while you still can.

Also, go watch the movie. I won an Oscar for it.

THE AVIATOR

Texas State Head Coach Jake Spavital cut his teeth on all things Air Raid, with mentors including Dana Holgorsen, Gus Malzahn, Sonny Dykes, and yes…Kevin Sumlin. Like Howard Hughes, Spavital fashions himself as a genius when it comes to putting objects in the air but If A&M’s much maligned (and allegedly improved) secondary can limit the Bobcat offense to 14 points or less, he’ll probably follow Hughes’s exaple and lock himself in a dark room to watch film alone.


ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC

#11 OREGON v. #16 AUBURN – 7:30pm ABC

Week one’s only matchup of Top 25 teams involves two programs with uncertain trajectories and expectations. After “losing” Willie Taggart to Florida State, Oregon rebounded to 9-4 for last season. This year they return super hyped QB Justin Herbert are a dark horse pick to win the Pac 12 North. However, their WR corps is perilously thin.

Auburn on the other hand is coming off a disappointing 8-5 season, capped by a thorough 63-14 dismembering of Purdue in the Birmingham Bowl. They have what many consider the best defensive line in the country, and all five starters on the offensive line return to block for a deep running back corps with no stars. They lost their top two receivers and have selected true freshman Bo Nix as QB1 to revive an offense that ranked 79th last season. The Tigers are always an enigma, but with Malzahn on the hot seat, I expect plenty of surprises.

LAGNIAPPE

OLE MISS at MEMPHIS – 11:00am ABC


If you want to know the state of the Ole Miss Program, all you have to do is look at the line for this game – Memphis (-5.5). But that doesn’t mean it will be boring - the over is a scorching 68 points. This rivalry burns hot, with the Tigers punching back against the Rebels attempts to claim East Tennessee for their own. Memphis whipped up on the Rebels in 2015 the last time Ole Miss came to town….after they had beaten Alabama, and I don’t expect this to be different. The Rebels lost most of their playmakers on offense (apologies to Scotty Phillips) and return a defense that well…has eleven players on the field most of the time. Memphis has Mike Norvell who continues to expand on the foundation left by Justin Fuente. Ole Miss has Matt Luke who continues to expand his waistline. So kick back with a bloody mary around the tailgate and watch the hate. You can root for the SEC if you wish, but I’m rooting for chaos.


WHAT I'M DRINKING THIS WEEK

The life and unscheduled travels of a collegiate head coach can be unusual. Sure, the headlines are dominated by Dabo and his $100 million extension or Nick Saban's latest real estate interests, but the reality is most of these guys are subject to the whims of various school presidents, unhinged message boards, and overserved boosters.

Take, for example, the travels of one Jacob S. Spavital.

In January of 2016, he and his new wife were living in idyllic College Station, Texas. After Kevin Sumlin refused to return his text messages for a number of weeks, he was suddenly transferred to Berkeley, California. Eleven months later, our young Spav found himself working in Morgantown, West Virginia for a slightly-deranged Dana Holgorsen. Spavital was able to parlay that gig into the Texas State head coaching job, which he landed in November of 2018. In less that 24 months, absolutely no one has ever lived in College Station, Berkeley, Morgantown, and San Marcos, but that's what these intrepid explorers are tasked with.

In honor of our good friend Jake, his time at A&M, and his ridiculous fucking throwback to the tackle inside the 10 yard line, I'm drinking for him this week. I'm pre-gaming with several Shiners, then opening a 2014 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon midway through the 1st quarter (both a nod to his time in Northern California, and a steal at around $350 a bottle) - that should last me until halftime, when I'll inject a large amount of meth into my system to celebrate our acquaintances from the Mountain State. Should I survive into the 4th quarter, I'll text my ex-girlfriend from high school who "had some academic as well as legal issues" and "wasn't allowed to walk across the stage with the rest of our class" who nonetheless made it into Texas State on scholarship. Shout out to Maloryi.

Good luck to you this week, and remember - if you make it work by lunch on Friday, technically it's not a sick day.


ROI'd RAGE

They say the second album often spawns some of an artist's most creative work. Well guess what: football is a bidness, not an art, so we don't care how creative you are, Jimbo, long as that bottom line says green.

Coach Fisher's first annual review with senior management was a hootenanny: increasing degrees of on-display Texan-ness and passive-aggressive agronomy notwithstanding, he did manage to finish Q4 strong in '18. But at only 10% through that record contract, he's gonna have to show a steady rate of improvement to keep Bubba T. CEO in the top corner of the Zone appeased.

Go on out there, coach. You lose, you pay the Texas State contract outta your own Wrangler pocket.


PLACE YOUR BETS


BEST CASE / BESTER CASE

BEST CASE

No injuries.

BESTER CASE

Mond, Corbin, Ausbon, and Davis receive invitations to the Heisman banquet at halftime. My dog informs me that he can speak English and he’s willing to podcast with me. We call it Shutdog Emptysack because he’s neutered.