Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's Get Bold (Well, Sorta)

It's finally here.  I never thought it would actually get here.  It's been a long, hot summer, but the wait is over.  And with the season upon us, Aggie Rundown is here to offer you some bold predictions (well, some are bold... maybe not all of them).

Before we get to Scott's predictions (with excessive commentary), we wanted to give Mr. Trey Bahney (away in Istanbul right now) and Mr. Ben Berryman (just away right now) a chance to throw their hats in the ring.

Trey's predictions with his own brief commentary...  

1) Ricky Seals-Jones is going to absolutely light it up this year.  (Specifically Ricky will have MORE receiving yards than Swope had last year, which was 913 yards, if you were wondering)  
2)  DeVante Harris will return TWO punts for touchdowns. (OUTCHEA)  
3)  Auburn will surprise the SEC to the tune of 8 wins. (Auburn still has the personnel to run Malzahn's offense and they have supposedly found a legitimate quarterback in Nick Marshall)

Ben's predictions with Scott's brief commentary...

1) Kevin Sumlin will be the coach of the year.  (If we have a phenomenal season, Sumlin might be a good bet to sweep up some media accolades under the notion that they can then avoid giving as many to Johnny.  Predicting a conspiracy theory... check.)
2) Mike Evans will win the Biletnikoff award. (Given, that I wrote mine before reading Ben's, I feel like we might be drinking a bit too much kool-aid, heck, who cares... ALL IN.)
3) Texas A&M will beat Alabama at home, but lose to somebody no one thinks they could lose to.  (Ahhh, it feels good to temper our expectations a bit.  This is a foreboding (yet fair) prediction... who is it going to be though?  Ole Miss and Vanderbilt are obviously the savvy picks.  As Trey predicted, Auburn could be sneaky.  Will Mizzou bounce back?) 

Alright, if that wasn't enough... we got three more from Scott...

A&M goes into Baton Rouge and pounds LSU – Is this bold enough?  Honestly, I am torn.  Legitimate National Championship aspirations likely require no more than one loss (maybe not even that).  And our two big showdowns are Alabama and LSU (Ole Miss might be the next toughest), so we definitely can’t drop more than one of those.  Ok, it’s bold enough (plus, I added in the caveat of “pounding” them).  We could have taken them down last year if a couple bounces went our way.  They did a pretty stellar job of containing Johnny, but that was early season Johnny.  I’d like to think Heisman Johnny would have fared a bit better if we played them a little later.  Let’s talk about LSU though.  I think this could be quite the transition year for them for two main reasons.  First, they still have some rando by the name of Mettenberger playing quarterback.  Let’s be real, Mettenberger is not good.  Some stats to back it up: he never threw more than 2 touchdowns in a game (and he only threw 2 against Idaho, Towson, and Mississippi State… wow).   In a three week span against Florida, South Carolina, and Texas A&M, he completed less than 50% of his passes and threw for less than 450 yards.  Can we say that calling Mettenberger even “average” is a stretch?  I think so.  The second point, their defense lost a TON of talent.  They had seven defensive players picked before the 6th round, and that’s not even including the Honey Badger.  Listen, I know they have buckets and buckets full of talented players to step in, but if there was ever a time to expect some overall defensive regression, well, this is a good year to expect it.  I don’t think it’s LSU’s year and I bet Sumlin and the gang realize such things and make a statement in Death Valley this year.

Jake Matthews makes us forget all about the Luke Joeckel guy – Luke Joeckel is obviously a stud being the number one number two overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft (I’m not bitter or anything).  Could Matthews be even better?  It’s incredible that Joeckel was the starting left tackle from the moment he set foot on campus.  And he was a damn good one.  It would have never made sense for Texas A&M to even fathom a switch.  And because of all that Matthews was probably never going to get his due praise being on the right side and playing second fiddle to Joeckel.   But now Joeckel is gone and it’s Matthews time to shine.  Let’s go ahead and extend this bold prediction and say that he will definitely be a top five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Matthews came back to prove he could handle the blind side and enjoy the opportunity to play alongside his kid brother Michael.  Speaking of… is Bruce Matthews still fertile?

Aaron Murray won’t be the first team All-SEC quarterback at the end of the season – You see how I just disguised my ensuing Johnny rant?  Here we go… 

Suck it NCAA, suck it media, suck it ESPN, suck Rovell, suck it Schad!  Johnny is back and Johnny wants blood.  Johnny wants blood from all the haters and the doubters.  Johnny is rich; he doesn’t need your money or any dealer’s money.  Johnny is a Heisman winner; he doesn’t need your blessing to succeed.  

The saga is finally over (hopefully).  Johnny has been dragged through woodwork by every self-righteous media talking head who never made a mistake (where has Mark May been?).  Obviously, Johnny is no saint, and he brings a lot of this on himself, but damn, nobody deserves the pariah treatment he has received.  But guess what, he is back, and now he gets to freely do what he does best.  Make plays, score touchdowns, give me heart palpitations, and win football games. 

My favorite thing to point out when discussing whether all the distractions will affect Johnny’s on-field performance is the Cotton Bowl last year.  The circus had begun, and prior to the Cotton Bowl, Johnny went on a month long tour with paparazzi’s at every stop.  And what happened when he got back to the football field?  Complete and utter domination; this gives me far more confidence than any preseason report.

When Johnny gets on the field, the circus can’t touch him for four beautiful hours, and the natural instincts kick in.  I can’t wait to watch. 

So let’s toss in some Johnny predictions while we are here…
  • How about 50+ touchdowns this year (the equivalent of 50+ middle fingers to all the haters).
  • How about a second trip to the Heisman ceremony (winning will be tough with the media).
  • How about a fat paycheck after being a first round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Boy do I wish I could be there to see Kyle Field erupt when Johnny takes the field at the start of the second half… Thomas Fritts, enjoy it for me.  (Damn weddings during football season)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Email Randomness

Ben and Scott got bored.  So they decided to exchange some emails.  We really need to do some sort of season preview don't we?  Apologies for all the slacking... Fightin' Texas Aggie football is right around the corner... we need to get our game faces on.  Oh, and by the way, ignore all the "outdated" Matt Davis talk... again, we got lazy.

Scott: Greetings old friend, since you have obviously fallen asleep at the email helm, I will go ahead and throw you a life raft.

I am so bored of talking about Johnny.  ESPN beats it into the ground.  Every. Single. Day.  I love Johnny through it all and I hope to all that is good and righteous that he is on the field this year.  And on that note, I thoroughly enjoy reading things that point out ESPN's lack of credibility and journalistic integrity, but that definitely doesn't stop me from watching Sportscenter every night before I go to bed, and every morning when I wake up.  We live in a conflicted world my friend.

Onto other news... but unfortunately not good news.  Our very first 2014 recruiting gem, LaPorte linebacker Hoza Scott has reportedly fallen off the deep end.  And from what I can gather the deep end is essentially dismissing himself from the team due to the fact that there is no hope for eligibility.  (Side note: It looks like those reports are premature, and all is not lost.)

This blows.

I had already begun a nice (albeit one-sided) relationship with Hoza Scott.  Seeing his name on all of our recruiting lists gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  Oh there he is, Hoza Scott, our future stud SEC linebacker.  Now that pipe dream looks less unlikely.  

This is pretty much Derrick Griffin 2.0.  Can you imagine if we had TWO Ricky Seals-Jones running around practice these days?  Well, that's what it would have been like with Griffin.  Alas, let's mourn the loss of our troops that never even made it into battle.

Ben:  One man's loss is another's win. Hoza Scott should fit right in at Arkansas. I haven't spent too much time looking into the matter, but I've seen conflicting reports, from Scott won't play at all this year, to Scott is suspended for the first three games, and finally to we have no idea what Scott's status is. It should be pretty simple, no? Also, are you slightly amazed that a star athlete with a scholarship offer to the best football program (at least in 2012) in the best football state in America doesn't slide by and become 'eligible'? I went to a 4A high school that consistently bowed out in the second round of the playoffs and produced small, fast white kids that at best played college ball at UNT, and I witnessed many of my teammates getting HUGE breaks from teachers to stay eligible. Is LaPorte the most ethical, by the book town in Texas, or am I missing something? Whatever, it really sucks - the kid is obviously a monster on the field and will be missed. Luckily this is happening early enough for the staff to change directions and pursue targets that intend to stay eligible.

Have you seen the billboards Texas A&M has put up around Austin heading into the season? I'm indifferent to billboards (except Baylor's on I-35 in Waco, which are so cute that I no longer try to avoid Waco like the plague and instead want to drive by them to get a good chuckle) so it doesn't register with me, but I know some are pretty excited about them.

Onto something that brightens your day (hopefully): uniforms. Adidas has altered the Aggie uniform slightly this year. But what we all want to know is what kind of curve ball they're going to throw this year. I'm sure you saw the alternate Tennessee uniforms Adidas announced yesterday - is a similar move coming for Texas A&M? They kept the black uniforms worn in Starkville for Snow Bowl 2.0 under the radar until the day of the game. What would you like to see the Aggies roll out against the Tide? (See what I did there?)

Also, your life is on the line, who would you be most confident in replacing Johnny Manziel should something happen to him (like an injury, because we both know he won't be suspended)?

This feels good, man. It's like riding a bike - you can go into hibernation for as long as you want, but we still have the muscle memory to email each other!

Scott: To wrap up the Hoza Scott topic... I highly doubt LaPorte is the most ethical school in Texas (as if I have any relevant information on that).  I generally assume over 50% of high school athletes are skating by with endless hand-outs and generous academic deadlines, and honestly, I am fine with it.  I don't ever want to be the moral police (quite relevant in our Johnny world).  When it comes to such things, lets just say, "he who is sinless shall cast the first stone".  The minute you take a hard, finger-pointing stance on a controversial topic is the minute you leave yourself subjected to the same, often unattainable moral code.  But yea, I strayed a bit there.  My general assumption when a high school athlete is ruled ineligible, is that he literally went so far off the deep end that the school AD just can't justify it anymore.  He then becomes a liability for their entire sports program.  But yea, who knows, I don't want another Derrick Griffin, I WANT HOZA SCOTT.  GO TO STUDY HALL HOZA!!!!

Billboards are completely irrelevant to me until I see them.  With that being said, I generally don't like them.  It makes it too easy for snarky individuals like myself to poke fun at them.  I can't remember the last time I passed a Baylor or TCU billboard and didn't immediately giggle to myself and send a snarky text message to a friend.  It's just in my snarky nature.  But then again, Texas A&M is a huge, nationally reputable school with legitimate academic tradition.  I don't think as many snarky thoughts about UT billboards, because regardless of how much I root against them, I will never be so short-sighted as to not acknowledge that they are a huge, nationally reputable school with legitimate academic tradition.  I want UT to lose every Saturday for the rest of my life, but I would be darn proud of my kids if they went there.  I will tell you how I feel when I finally come across one of the A&M billboards (although, I do hear Sumlin's good lookin' mug is on some of them... I like that).

I never know what's going on with uniforms either.  When it comes to school gossip and pageantry, I always turn to Trey Bahney, he is my unofficial source for sifting through the message board world.  Adidas stepped up their game last year, so I just hope they continue such things.

Back to football.  So the rumor mill has been swirling about Kenny Hill.  Swirling so intently, that I have actually seen tweets suggesting that Kenny Hill is on par to pass Matt Davis and officially become the heir to Johnny.  That's pretty crazy/cool, if you ask me.  What do I want to see happen?  I will tell you.  If Kenny Hill is the real deal, let's go uber-proactive and start transitioning Matt Davis to be a wide receiver (Ryan Tannehill anyone).  How perfect is this situation.  From all accounts Matt Davis is a super AggSwaggy player, lives to compete, and has athleticism oozing out of his pores.  Let's maximize our assets and start increasing his versatility.  Give him a few practice snaps at QB (it's not like he is gonna forget how to play the position), but start getting his feet wet at receiver.  That way, starting next year, we have a back-up quarterback who also contributes at receiver.  This is college football, you can be creative... let's see it.  Thoughts?  

Ben: Davis would never agree to that. According to "sources" (h/t Darren Rovell) he will probably transfer soon. Jameill Showers loved Texas A&M as well, but at the end of the day, if these guys think they are good enough to get to the NFL, that will trump their desire to be a backup (or switch positions) at a school they've fallen in love with. I feel bad for Davis only because he did such a phenomenal job of banding the 2012 recruits together when Coach Sherman resigned. Bottom line is he got outplayed by a guy (Hill) who had the upper hand all along because he was a Sumlin recruit.

Speaking of QB recruits, the next couple years are going to be fascinating following who the Aggies are able to land. We know that high school stud Kyle Allen has committed to the Aggies, but anything can happen between now and February. We assume the Aggies have a good chance at landing Kyler Murray, but I think a lot of cards have to fall correctly for that to happen. First, does Johnny leave after this year for the NFL? If he doesn't, anything can happen. Assume he does, and Kenny Hill starts at QB next year, as a sophomore (unless for some reason our backup QB never plays this season). If he plays out his career at Texas A&M, Kyle Allen isn't starting until his redshirt JUNIOR year, in the fall of 2017. First, I don't see the nation's #1 QB recruit sitting and waiting his turn for 3 years. I also don't see a former starter (by that point, Hill) get benched for a younger player (Allen) - that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Assume the QBs take the natural path though; that leaves Kyler Murray starting for the first time in the fall of 2019 - AS A REDSHIRT SENIOR. Sorry, that's just not happening. Something has to give. I don't think that Sumlin and Co. would pursue pursue Murrary unless they have something else in mind. Surely the Aggie staff wouldn't bury the son of a former Aggie great like that. Nevertheless, it will be fascinating to see what unfolds.

Are you getting season tickets to new Kyle Field? OMFG YOU HAVE TO GET SEASON TICKETS TO NEW KYLE FIELD BECAUSE NO ONE IN THE FUTURE HISTORY OF AGGIE SEASON TICKET HOLDERS WILL EVER HAVE OTHER COMMITMENTS AND WILL GO TO EVERY SINGLE A&M GAME THEREFORE KILLING ANY SECONDARY MARKET FOR TICKETS TO NEW KYLE FIELD SO YOU HAVE TO OMFG. Listen, 12th man, I get it. We're fired up about the new stadium. But please spare me the line about tickets never becoming available again if I don't buy season tickets. (Disclaimer: I'm getting season tickets.)

The 2014 SEC schedule got released today. Which game are you most excited about? I'm going to throw a curveball... I can't wait to go to Nashville. That city is the best kept secret east of the Mississippi River. It is such a blast - I can't wait to watch the Aggies take over the Broadway honky tonks after we crush the Baylor of the SEC.

Scott: That is a whole heck of a lot of quarterback analysis.  And BREAKING NEWS... Matt Davis is transferring, just as you predicted (and everyone else).  Since I wasted so many words on him earlier, I will refrain from uttering too many more.  I wish him the best, I always liked him and his #aggswagg movement.  I believe he played a pivotal role in keeping our recruiting class in town during the coaching transition, so for that, I thank you Matt Davis!

As far as all the other quarterbacks go... wow, you are getting ahead of yourself.  The part we always forget: top notch guys think they ARE the best and always WILL BE the best.  Also, your predictions don't account for successful quarterbacks leaving early.  MAYBE, Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen have a negative impact on whether Kyler commits, but I think Kyle Allen is pretty safely entrenched into an Aggie future.

Aggie football tickets intimidate me.  I am currently in a situation where a friend buys my ticket and I write him a check.  I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes.  I am sure this is hurting my future ticket abilities, but hey, it is what it is, I will cross that bridge when I get there.  And I agree, there is this thing called the internet, where goods are exchanged in lightning quick fashion every single day.  I'm not too worried.

I dig the opener at South Carolina.  As a pseudo-closet Clemson fan (a life-long friend went there), I look forward to hating South Carolina and hopefully beating them on a year to year basis. If we do it in prime time, early in the season, all the more power to us.  A&M-LSU on Thanksgiving day will be pretty cool.  I honestly, kinda like being at home on Thanksgiving, but A&M-LSU is a worthwhile reason to leave.  PLUS, I won't lie, I absolutely, positively, without a doubt LOVE how this affects UT.  Oh, hey UT, you are gonna try and convince the nation that UT-Texas Tech is a marquee Thanksgiving match up huh?  Awwww, that's cute, it really is, too bad zero percent of neutral nation fans will tune into that game over A&M-LSU.  

Yea, that makes me smile.  I am by no means obsessed with things that happen at UT, but I am realist who lives in a neutral Texas city.  And I love it when they (and pooky bear Mack) look silly.

*Ben wanted me to take out the Nashville part... since, ya know, we aren't going Vandy/Nashville.  But I figured I would leave it in to further diminish his nonexistent credibility.  That's what friends are for.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Crystal Ball Competition

Ever since we here at Aggie Rundown gained national fame via Good Bull Hunting's twitter directory and GigEm247's Crystal Ball privileges, we have felt on top of the world, untouchable to the common folk below us.  We attend parties, drink copious amounts of booze, sign autographs (for free of course), mingle with other famous people (in this case Hunter Jarvis), and generally live the dream we always dreamed.

Oh wait, I am posting this from my cube at work.  Damn.

We figured everyone needed a break from the Johnny circus, so here we are, with the help from our good friend Hunter Jarvis of the Around Aggieland podcast (of which he promises to get us on soon) and Good Bull Hunting, to give you a friendly little Crystal Ball Competition.  Except it's not friendly, it's for blood.  Blood money that is... in the form of a $25 gift card to Layne's.   Hunter never agreed to these terms, but hey, I made them, and if he backs down, well you know who is the sissy.  The loser rents a plane, and flies the winner to College Station.  Then the loser has to watch the winner eat $25 dollars worth of Layne's.  That would be a great youtube clip.  Do you realize how much food $25 dollars will get you at Layne's?  WAY TOO MUCH.

Ok, I have strayed from the topic.  Here are the predictions (mine have commentary).  You get one point for every pick that "comes true via the crystal ball".  (By the way, I linked all the names, so go get you some extra crystal ball info if you please).

Aggie Rundown's picks (Scott):

Myles GarrettTexas A&M - Let’s be real, this one might as well be a YESSIR in the books.  And for the record, Garrett might end up being my most anticipated member of the 2014 class.  Could he become the official heir to Von Miller?  I sure hope so.  (I revoked the title from Damontre after he decided it was a great idea to get fat and slow before the most important job interview of his life).

Leonard Fournette LSU – Highly doubt this in-state phenom leaves.

Tony BrownTexas A&M – This one will definitely go down to the wire, but I feel like Sumlin is making Brown a top priority and as long as Brown recognizes such things, I think it will be enough to sway him. 

D'haquille Williams Auburn – Freebie. Plus one point for me. (OK, maybe we took a little long, to put our lists together… get over it).

Speedy Noil Texas A&M – BOOM!!  Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis are my two big, semi-bold pro-Aggie predictions.  From everything I have read, it feels like these two guys are showing legitimate interest in Texas A&M. 

Gerald WillisTexas A&M – BOOM x2!! Gerald Willis and Speedy Noil are teammates.  Methinks they stick together in college.  Which by the way, why don’t more high school teammates pick the same school (especially if their potential positions don’t overlap)? 

Adoree' JacksonUSC – How could you ever pick against USC for a top notch athlete from Cali?

Solomon ThomasTexas – I really wanna “homer” out and not pick anyone to go to UT, but I forget that while Mack Brown might not know the difference between a wishbone offense and a West Coast offense, he is still a pretty good coach from February to July.

KD Cannon Texas – I will die before I predict a legit recruit to go to Baylor.  Baylor is and always will be defined by one word.  Lame.

Braden SmithTexas A&M – Admittedly, this is a guy I really want.  Gotta take care of the trenches.

Jamal AdamsFlorida – Gots to follow the crowd here (slash Taylor Hamm says so).

Mark AndrewsOU – Freebie again.  Plus one more point for me.  (Although I would have definitely picked A&M for him… sad day).

Josh FrazierArkansas – The kid stays home and takes part in Bielema revolution (that sounds gross).

Qualen CunninghamTexas A&M – Honestly, I don’t really know how to pronounce this guy’s first name.  Every time I read it, I think about the Banana Quaalude shot from the Dry Bean.  It’s a great shot and I encourage everyone to give it a shot (pun intended).  I hope Qualen measures up to the Banana Quaalude.

Malachi DupreLSU – As much as I want to avoid the Crystal Ball redundant department… I just can't.

Carter WallTexas A&M – JUCO alert!!! Full disclosure, as I was researching on 247Sports, I came to Carter Wall's page and saw that he had a whopping TWO crystal ball predictions.  One from Taylor Hamm predicting Texas A&M and one from my nemesis Hunter Jarvis picking UH.  Do you know something that Hamm doesn’t know Jarvis?  Definitely siding with the more publicized expert!

Joe Mixon USC – I want to pick Texas A&M, but I hear the weather out in Cali is off the chain.

Kevin ShorterArkansas – This kid gets scared away from the crazy RB competition in College Station.

Casey TuckerTexas A&M – Now that Kyle Allen will be making the pilgrimage from Arizona to College Station, I assume everyone from Arizona will do the same (unless they hear the whispers about that Cali weather).

Cameron RobinsonAlabama – When you are the #1 recruit in the nation you don’t go to LSU.  You go to Alabama.

Good Bull Hunting's picks (Hunter):

Myles Garrett – Texas A&M

Leonard Fournette – LSU

Tony Brown – LSU 

D'haquille Williams – Auburn 

Speedy Noil – LSU 

Gerald Willis – LSU

Adoree' Jackson – Florida

Solomon Thomas – Texas

KD Cannon – Baylor

Braden Smith – Texas A&M

Jamal Adams – Florida 

Mark Andrews – N/A 

Josh Frazier – Arkansas 

Qualen Cunningham – Texas A&M 

Malachi Dupre – LSU

Carter Wall – Houston 

Joe Mixon – USC

Kevin Shorter – Texas A&M 

Casey Tucker – Texas A&M 

Cameron Robinson – Alabama

The current score is officially AR: 2, GBH: 2.  I am very tempted to not give Hunter the point for Mark Andrews.  Seriously, N/A could easily be misinterpreted to mean Northern Arizona or something... think about it.