University of Texas graduate Laken Litman named Texas A&M the most overrated team in college football. You can read the printed version from USA Today here. The Good Bull Hunting investigative team obtained what is presumably an original draft of Laken's story (or something we completely made up) before it hit the editor's desk.
Poor Aggy [working title]
I was just looking up at the University of Texas Bachelor of Sports Journalism hanging in my cube, being relieved that Mack Brown didn't offer Johnny Manziel at quarterback. The Aggies somehow found a way to replace Manziel's off-the-field circus, but have no answers for the 2014 football season.
Two years and one Manning Camp flew by and now the quarterback – who finished 4th in his own division, helped TMZ get a billion pageviews, and contributed to the delinquency of an inflatable swan – is primed to fail catastrophically in Cleveland. My time working for BamaMag.com also convinced me that Manziel's 2012 win in Tuscaloosa was a total fluke. Did you see OU pound them in the Sugar Bowl?
Blondes, booze and $20 bills aside, as the Aggies begin life without Johnny Football in 2014, they also have to figure out who will replace whoever else was on their team last season but got arrested.
Everyone who helped Texas A&M barely beat Duke (DUKE!) in 2013 is gone
Offensive tackle Jake Matthews was #14 in Geoff Ketchum's Lonestar 100 behind 9 Longhorns but he was pretty important to the Aggies apparently. Wide receiver Mike Evans was Manziel’s favorite throw-it-up-for-grabs-and-squeeze-yourself target, and running back Ben Malena was also a player I've never heard of who made it into my notes and must have been drafted highly. Zero Longhorn players were drafted alongside these guys thanks to the NFL's bias against the Big 12.
Anyway, these guys were the reasons why the Aggies only lost to LSU by 24 points. And now they’re gone, so can you say 77-0 LSU? Yet Texas A&M, a farm college, is still ranked No. 20 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll. Like someone saying Amway isn't a pyramid scheme, this seems a little generous.
A&M was going to have to move on without Manziel eventually whether he got banned by the NCAA or drafted. His two potential replacements this year are sleepy sophomore Kenny Hill, who will probably skip some Fall Camp practices, and incoming freshman Kyle Allen, a guy from Arizona who doesn't look fast at all. Rumlin has yet to announce a starter or a plan to discipline anyone.
"Is this the SEC Media Days? That's a great question for the Cleveland Browns. Next question," Sumlin said repeatedly at SEC media days earlier this summer. He also boasted about the SEC Network which doesn't even focus on their team.
Out wide, the Aggies have 6-8 wide receivers on every play, and up front, fourth-year starter Cedric Ogbuehi will move from right tackle to left tackle to replace Matthews. He may be another top 10 draft pick for the Aggies, but probably not because of regression to the mean. If you haven't heard Jim Rome's rant about Texas A&M, you should definitely check that out.
The defense is still baaaaaaad
Defensively, the Aggies return seven starters from a defense that finished last in the SEC and probably the entire planet last season, yet Sumlin claims to have found depth.
"Defensively, I think we will have, believe it or not, more depth in our front seven, particularly in our front four," he said without commenting on his sobriety, "We ended the year rotating five D-linemen out of the four spots. That took its toll. As anybody will tell you in this league, it’s a line of scrimmage league." Sumlin's comments make one wonder about the depth of his rum glass.
We shall see because we'll watch and live tweet every Aggie game but just for humor purposes.
If this team were still in the Big 12, would the Longhorns have allowed that No. 20 ranking? In 2012, granted Texas A&M was coming off a 7-6 season in the Big 12 (JUSTIN TUCKER) and was beginning its first year in the SEC with a recently-arrested quarterback (Manziel), was unranked in the preseason coaches poll. This is somehow relevant to my story although A&M's entire coaching staff was replaced.
The Aggies have a rough schedule playing almost all of its difficult games (South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn) away from Collie Station. Keep in mind, A&M's schedule may be painful for them but the SEC is not a tough league overall. From top-to-bottom, the Big 12 offers a lot more plus one true champion at the end, pending tiebreakers. A&M ends the regular season with LSU at home on Thanksgiving night in a pitiful attempt to outshine the national spotlight on Texas and whoever we play this year on LHN.
Sure there are some standard SEC cupcakes sprinkled throughout the Aggie schedule, but don't sleep on Lamar.