There's much to discuss, so let's get right to it. All games were played on the latest NCAA game to be released (NCAA 14), which called for some delicate problem solving.
- I scoured the internet and was pleasantly surprised to find an updated roster file for the 2015 season. The rosters aren't perfect, but they're pretty dang close. So far, so good.
- Every game was played on "coach mode." I could call plays and manage the clock, but every single play was CPU vs. CPU. Realism FTW.
- All settings were set to "Heisman," the hardest difficulty. If you don't like that, get a dog.
- Uh oh. Turns out you can't edit conference schedules. In order to replicate our 2015 slate, I was going to have to disband the SEC and make all 14 schools independents. In around 15 minutes, I destroyed everything Mike Slive worked so hard to build. I am so, so sorry.
- Because of item #4, there is no conference title game and there are some very odd bowl affiliations. This will come into play later.
Game One: Arizona State (Houston, TX)
I started our neutral site game against Arizona St. with every intent to let Dave Christensen do his thing. Believe me, I did. But I'll let the numbers tell the story.
Arizona St absolutely destroyed us at the line of scrimmage. As a result the poor running game was abandoned in the 2nd quarter, and after the Sun Devils sprinted out to a 21 point lead they teed off on poor Kyle Allen all day.
The final scoreline flattered the Aggies, to be honest. Without a couple of huge plays by Josh Reynolds (5 rec; 117 yards; TD) the game could have been even worse.
Final Score Game #1: Arizona State 27, Texas A&M 14
Game Two: Ball State (Kyle Field)
Home, sweet home.
The grand opening of the new and improved Kyle Field played host to a comfortable victory by the good guys, as Ball State never seriously threatened after an opening field goal drive. The offense wasn't perfect, but a balanced effort (258 through the air, 171 on the ground) ensured no late game drama.
Josh Reynolds (7 rec, 113 yards, 2 TD's) was once again the star of the show.
Final Score Game #2: Texas A&M 27, Ball St 3
Game Three: Nevada (Kyle Field)
First of all, the Wolfpack never posed a serious threat. The Ags would win, and win handily. But that wasn't the story. The story centered around the quarterback position, as starter Kyle Allen stayed down after a 3rd quarter Nevada sack. The prognosis wasn't terrible, but the ankle issue was serious enough to keep him out for the rest of the game.
It was time to see the kid.
Kyler started quite well, leaning heavily on Tra Carson (19 carries, 119 yards, 2 TD's) during two third quarter drives that pushed the lead to 38-17. But two fourth quarter picks, including a pick six, reminded the faithful that growing pains were going to be part of the process.
Myles Garret (4 tackles, 2 TFL's, sack) made his first significant impact of the season, Josh Reynolds (7 rec, 83 yards, TD) turned in another stellar performance, and Christian Kirk scored his first Texas A&M touchdown late in the 4th. Spirits were high, but all signs pointed to a difficult QB decision for the game against Arkansas.
Final Score Game #3: Texas A&M 59, Nevada 24
Game Four: Arkansas (JerryWorld)
Allen was listed as probable all week amidst a shroud of virtual press secrecy, but Kyler Murray trotted out to take the first snap against Arkansas.
How did it go? It went okay.
Kyler absolutely exploded on his national debut, playing a near perfect first quarter en route to a quick 21-0 lead. And after a piggy three and out, Speedy Noil took a punt 70 yards to the house. It was 28-0 and the roof was about to fly off the damn building.
A sustained Bielema-esque drive cut the lead to 28-7, but a Kyler two minute masterpiece was capped by a RSJ TD with :33 remaining. It was 35-7 at halftime, and virtual Aggies were euphoric.
Another sustained Arkansas drive out of the break cut the lead to 35-14, but Tra Carson immediately responded with a 54 yard truck job up the middle to silence any Hog calls still lingering from the prior score.
There was to be no hope for the Arkansas faithful today. No joy, no fun, and no happiness.
Both sides played out the string as the red shirts filed out early, and you couldn't blame A&M's digitized fans for forgetting that the ASU opener had even happened.
Final Score Game #4: Texas A&M 49, Arkansas 28
Game Five: Mississippi State (Kyle Field)
Kyler was rightfully given the start for this one.... but y'all, it was no cakewalk.
The teams traded touchdowns for the first three quarters, capped by Josh Reynolds answering a late 3rd quarter MSU score with a 95 yard KO return TD. State responded with a long FG, and the Ags countered with a Reynolds receiving TD... setting up a scene we'd been waiting for for quite some time: 28-24, MSU football, two timeouts, and 2:40 left on the clock.
And 102,000 faceless virtual fan-people destroying their vocal chords.
The Bulldogs made it interesting, but eventually stalled on the A&M 25 after a 4th down TFL.
We finally had our big victory at home. Sun Devil? What's a Sun Devil?
Final Score Game #5: Texas A&M 28, Mississippi St 24
Game Six: Alabama (Kyle Field)
Coming out of a bye week, reports were starting to surface that Kyle's ankle was healed. But again, after a week of secrecy, Kyler Murray stepped out to take the first snap against Alabama.
How did it go? It went okay, again.
The kid proved that he was for real, carving up Saban's defense in a game that really wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The good guys maintained a double digit lead for the entire second half, with only a late Crimson Tide TD knocking the final margin of victory to six.
Final Score Game #6: Texas A&M 37, Alabama 31
Game Seven: Ole Miss (Oxford)
This sport is stupid and I hate it.
Despite this being the sixth week of Kyle's three week recovery prognosis, Kyler once again stepped out to take the first snap. And the kid finally came back down to earth.
In an ugly, ugly low scoring game, Kyler committed turnovers on three consecutive 4th quarter plays. One of which was taken to the house. The free points and short fields were all the Rebels needed, as an incredible effort from Chavis and the Aggie defense was all for naught.
Final Score Game #7: Ole Miss 20, Texas A&M 7
Game Eight: South Carolina (Kyle Field)
Now we had a real QB decision on our hands. Kyle was still probable, which is a word that apparently doesn't mean anything, and Kyler was coming off an absolutely terrible performance.
Y'all, I promise... I stayed hands off. I didn't touch the depth chart. I wanted to see what would happen.
And Kyle Allen trotted out to take the first snap. And he freaking killed it to the tune of 400 yards and no turnovers. We had more quarterbacks than we knew what to do with.
Tra Carson accounted for all 4 TD's, and the friendly confines did their job in a game where South Carolina never really showed up. When Sandstorm blared after a late score to put us up 31-6, the message was clear: This song is ours, now. Stop playing it. It belongs to us. We've literally beaten it out of you.
At this point, the Ags were sitting awfully pretty at 6-2 (4-1)
Final Score Game #8: Texas A&M 37, South Carolina 20
Game Nine: Auburn (Kyle Field)
Look, guys. Auburn is clearly pissed about 2014. There's no way they'd come to Kyle and make another critical mist- WAIT THEY LITERALLY JUST MISSED AN EXTRA POINT THAT WOULD HAVE TIED THE GAME WITH 3:15 REMAINING HAHAHAHAHA
Final Score Game #9: Texas A&M 21, Auburn 20
Game Ten: Western Carolina (Kyle Field)
Nothing to see here. Complete domination. Another great game by Kyle Allen. The team appears to be his again.
Final Score Game #10: Texas A&M 45, Western Carolina 0
Game Eleven: Vanderbilt (Nashville)
Nothing to see here, either. A 38-3 halftime lead ensured that all travelling Aggies were going to have an absolutely fantastic weekend in Nashville.
Final Score Game #11: Texas A&M 52, Vanderbilt 9
Game Twelve: LSU (Baton Rouge)
Until now, I haven't really mentioned how our opponents' seasons had been going... with good reason. For the most part, they were about where I'd expect them to be.
But LSU.... the bottom had fallen out at LSU. They were sitting at 6-5. The Ags, meanwhile, were one win away from theoretical Atlanta. On top of that, we were sitting at #6 with a serious shot at the playoffs. All we had to do was win.
And the swamp kitties beat the tar out of us. Even in this stupid, fake, virtual world.
Once again, I left the depth chart alone.... but the virtual staff never went to Murray. Kyle couldn't hit a pass to save his life, but they never made the switch. Virtual TexAgs lost its' collective mind, and the rout was on.
This wasn't fun. I simmed through the 2nd half.
Final Score Game #12: LSU 35, Texas A&M 13
Bowl Selection Time
So, remember when I destroyed the SEC to make this season work? Apparently, that pissed off the CFB gods. Badly. Because after we were one win away from Atlanta, we were placed in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against UMass.
Yes, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Against UMass. On a Sunday afternoon in mid-December. Literally the first bowl of the entire season. As you could imagine, I had no interest in watching this happen, so I hit the "simulate entire bowl season" button.
And then a series of things happened that I promise are real. I promise, on my video game integrity, that this happened.
The game wasn't played.
Like, I wasn't given the option to see the score. It never happened.
Our virtual Athletic Department was so disrespected that they took their ball and went home.
I had no choice. I had to move on. I ended the season.
A wise man once said "there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in." Somewhere, in one of those worlds, lost among the vast nothingness of infinite space, sits the UMass football team and supporters. In Idaho. On a Sunday in December. Waiting for their shot at an SEC upset.
And they will wait forever.