Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Maroon Kool-Aid Ring Dunk

Congrats to all those Aggies who got their Aggie Ring this past Friday! In honor of you (and your ensuing ring dunks) I've just done my own Ring Dunk of Maroon Kool-Aid (approximately 15 seconds) and will now tackle the big question:

Say we win out, then what?

Hear me out. For the remainder of this post, we are assuming we win the rest of our regular season games (i.e. Kool-Aid Ring Dunk). That assumption is daunting enough as it is, so to help you I've constructed the remaining likely scenarios in a choose-your-own adventure style below. Begin with Option I.

Options

I. LSU plays at Georgia this weekend. If you think LSU wins, go to option II; if you think Georgia wins, go to Option III.

II. Alabama beat A&M on September 14th. If LSU beats Alabama on Nov. 9th and then loses to A&M on Nov. 23rd, then a three-way tie would ensue. The tie-breaker is complicated so the key here is: does LSU (who would now have wins over #20 TCU, #9 Georgia, #20 Florida, #21 Ole Miss, and #1 Alabama, and a loss to #10 A&M) remain ranked above Alabama (who would now have wins over #10 A&M and #21 Ole Miss, and a loss to #6 LSU)?  If you think Alabama beats LSU or loses but later jumps LSU in the rankings, go to Option IV. If you think LSU beats Alabama and stays ranked higher, go to Scenario C.

III. With LSU losing to Georgia, Alabama will win the SEC West over A&M and go to the SEC CG to likely play one-loss Georgia (Clemson). If you think Alabama wins this game, go to Scenario A. If you think Georgia wins, go to Scenario B.

IV. If Alabama ends the regular season above LSU in the rankings, then they win the SEC West over A&M and LSU. This would send them to the SEC CG where they likely play a two-loss Georgia (Clemson and LSU). If you think Alabama wins this game, go to Scenario A. If you think Georgia wins, go to Scenario D.

Scenarios

A. If Alabama wins the SEC CG, then they will play in the NCG against the first remaining team on this list:
           1) Undefeated PAC 12 Champ (see Outcome 2)
           2) Undefeated ACC Champ (see Outcome 2)
           3) Undefeated Ohio State (see Outcome 2)
           4) One-loss Texas A&M (see Outcome 3)

B. If Georgia wins the SEC with one loss, then they will play in the NCG against the first remaining team on this list:
           1) Undefeated PAC 12 Champ (see Outcome 2)
           2) Undefeated ACC Champ (see Outcome 2)
           3) Undefeated Ohio State (see Outcome 2)
           4) One-loss Texas A&M (see Outcome 3)

C. If A&M, LSU, and Alabama have a three-way tie and Alabama is ranked below LSU, then A&M wins the tie-breaker and goes to the SEC CG where we would most likely play a one-loss Georgia or a two-loss South Carolina. A win sends us to Outcome 3 and a loss practically guarantees us Outcome 1.

D. If a two-loss Georgia wins the SEC CG against Alabama, then see Outcome 3.

Outcomes

1. Cotton Bowl - No one from the Big 12 is going to the National Championship Game (NCG) so we would end up playing whoever got second place in the Big 12. This is the worst-case scenario in my mind, but I still think we destroy whoever we get out of the Big 12 in this match-up of the 4th-best SEC team vs. the 2nd-best Big 12 team.

2. BCS Sugar Bowl - It's a given that the winner of the SEC will be going to the NCG, so the second hottest team will likely be selected as an at-large pick by the Sugar Bowl to play another at-large pick. One-loss Clemson, one-loss Oregon, or one-loss Louisville are likely the most intriguing match-ups with Texas A&M if we happen to go to the Sugar Bowl.

3. National Championship Game - In the event we make it here, likely match-ups are PAC 12 winner (Oregon or Stanford), ACC winner (Clemson or Florida State), Ohio State, or possibly Alabama. If we make it to this game, then that means the defense is fixed, Johnny has won a second Heisman, and no one in America wants to play us. Johnny plays biggest on the biggest stages and there's none bigger than the NCG so, no matter who we play, we hang 60 on them and win our first National Championship in 75 years.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Impressions - Game Three

After a week hiatus (thank you to Ben for handling the post-Bama analysis), we are back for some SMU impressions.  But before we do, a quick note on the post-Bama cool down.  Is it just me or does it feel like the nation is talking (or praising) us more so than Bama?  Johnny did Johnny things (in record proportions) proving that good ole St. Nick is not invincible when given time to prepare (HE IS HUMAN!).  It’s almost as if our horrid defense gave us a free pass in the perception department.   Everybody expects greatness on both sides of the ball from Bama, while the masses only expect greatness on the offensive side from Texas A&M.  And they fulfilled the greatness quota, shredding Bama in scintillating fashion.  Whatever the case, I feel like A&M did themselves a solid.  That’s all I can say.  There are no moral victories (that’s loser talk).  But we yet again showed that we are in the elite.  Now back to SMU.

One thing that impressed me:  Kevin Sumlin finally benched Bertolet.  I FEEL REDEEMED!  Before I continue the Bertolet bash fest, I would like to say that his onside kick was pretty awesome.  Thank goodness he finally ran out of free passes.  Missing two extra points in a row is atrocious.  Then Lambo (and the bad snap) misses a third in a row.  Is that a record?  Has a collegiate team ever missed three consecutive extra points?  Are we close to a no kicking philosophy?  Why not go for two every time?  What do we have to lose?  I am pretty sure Johnny could score 9 out of 10 two point conversions by just dropping back, looking for one option, then tucking it and scrambling in.  I mean he is sorta kinda the best ever at doing such things.  If our kicking game costs us a game, I am going to go sulk in traffic.

Another thing that impressed me:  Our aggressive defense.  We blitzed a ton and it worked out pretty well (except for the times when our defenders seemed to bounce off of Mr. Gilbert).  SMU isn’t Alabama or Ole Miss, but you could fairly classify them as a slightly above average offense.  And our defense came out and performed like a semi-respectable defense holding them to a measly two field goals in the first half.  True freshman Darian Claiborne got the start at linebacker, Clay Honeycutt was politely shown the bench, and things just seemed to click.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

And another thing that impressed me:  Johnny Manziel.  Of course he impresses every stinkin’ weekend, but this past Saturday I was particularly impressed with his throwing accuracy.  My compliments are solely based on what I saw with my own eyes, but I just felt like Johnny’s balls (tehehe) were next level.  His completions were crisp and intentional, as opposed to just throwing up jump balls to Mike Evans (which, don’t get me wrong, is still a rather awesome plan).  His one interception went right through his receiver’s hands.  And on that note, why don’t we differentiate a quarterback’s interceptions?  Instead of saying “Oh, Player X has four interceptions thus far”, why don’t we elaborate and say “Player X has one interception that was totally his fault (i.e. made a crappy throw), another in which the receiver may or may not have tanked it (I am looking at you JaQuay), and two more that bounced right off the receiver’s hands (thus releasing the quarterback of fault)”.  Would that be unnecessary information?  I certainly don’t think so.  Getting back on track, Johnny's arm has improved.  And Johnny is gonna play on Sundays, mark my words.

One thing that didn’t impress me:  Bertolet.  Does he still have a scholarship?  If so, can someone please tell him to transfer?  Use force if needed.  May this be the last week I ever speak his name.  By the way, do you think Bertolet has any friends on the team?  I envision him being "that" annoying guy.  Do you think Clay Honeycutt even likes him? Yea, probably not.

Another thing that didn’t impress me:  Kenny Hill.  It kills me to say it, it really does.  I was furious when they put in Joeckel.  I view him as a waste of valuable Kenny learning time.  Fortunately, the game was out of hand early and Kenny got some a whole quarter’s worth of snaps.  Let’s just say he didn’t look as spiffy as last time.  He is a true freshman, and one game doesn’t affect my long term prognosis of him, but his lackluster performance does make me weary if, God forbid, anything were to happen to Johnny. 

Statistical observation that impressed me:  Honestly, I’m not seeing much.  Ben Malena quietly got himself 70+ yards and two touchdowns, but that’s just what Ben Malena does.  He produces, simple as that.

Another statistical observation that impressed me:  Again we are stretching, but our defense held SMU to less than 100 yards rushing.  Wait, SMU couldn’t care less about rushing, and they still threw for 300+ yards… damn.

Statistical observation that did not impress me:  13 penalties for 114 yards.  Now we have something relevant.  Let’s be fair, SMU had 16 penalties for 111 yards, so it was actually quite even.  Can we just blame the refs?  Were all of those penalties needed?  Oh, they were, you say?  Fine, well dadgummit, Aggies, you can’t get 13 penalties against a respectable team - that is going to cost you.

It didn’t feel like a particularly pretty win, but hey, a win is a win, and our defense showed considerable signs of improvement.  That’s more than enough for me on a week in which SMU visits.  The Aggies finally leave home next weekend to visit the Piggie’s up north.  I will be at a wedding during the game.  Thanks best friend from high school.  Not.

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 Things I Think I Saw: Bama Edition

It’s been well documented that the other two amateurs running this blog were going to be watching the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game with beer (or jello shot) goggles on. Thus it fell to yours truly to understand and analyze the most hyped game in the history of the Aggie football program.

Full disclosure: I managed to snag a seat directly next to and between my best friends and full kegs of Miller Lite and Coors Original, right after staying up all night with a few good Ags to smoke brisket, ribs, venison sausage, and chicken wings. You could say I may not have been seeing straight. Then again, neither was the Aggie defense, so I guess we’ll call it even.

#Dufnering after the Ags ran out of time
I managed to avoid reading any recaps of Saturday’s classic (other than what the great Clay Travis had to say at his excellent SEC blog, Outkick the Coverage) for two reasons: a) I just didn’t have the heart to relive it again so soon, and b) see the paragraph immediately preceding this one.

I have the game recorded on my DVR, waiting on me to press play, but I wasn’t able to get to it yesterday. Tony Romo managed to suck away 3 hours of my life I’ll never get back again yesterday, Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston do what Vince Gilligan and Bryan Cranston do, and well, life. I’m sure I’ll watch it at some point to try and fully grasp what happened at Kyle Field on Saturday, but I’m going with my instant impressions here.

1. Yeah, all that “Nick Saban has had a whole offseason to prepare for Johnny” talk got smashed to pieces in less than 5 minutes. A&M proved once again that their offense is simply unstoppable out of the gates because the opposing team can’t comprehend how quickly the game moves until they’re down 7-0. Film is great – but it doesn’t prepare you for the in-game speed of Johnny Manziel. While we’re on the topic of ‘OMG Nick Saban you guys’ did anyone else notice how many penalties Alabama committed? And the Yeldon fumble inside the Aggies’ 10 yard line? For being such a ‘disciplined’ team the Tide sure did commit a number of mental errors.

2. Texas A&M is struggling to run the football this season. Manziel’s scrambling makes the numbers look better on paper, but when the offense lines up to give the defense an old-fashioned smashmouth run play, it’s just not effective. The running backs had 18 carries for 66 yards on Saturday. That’s horrible, especially when you consider the defense is singularly focused on stopping Manziel. It’s not a running back problem, as Ben Malena and Christine Michael proved last year. You expect a slight drop in production by losing someone as talented as Luke Joeckel. But I believe the real loss was Patrick Lewis, who as a senior at center last season was the anchor to the offensive line.

3. Mike Evans can’t be stopped. He’s the best receiver in the country, no questions asked. Amari Cooper is a freaking stud, but he doesn’t have the same blend of size, speed, and toughness that Evans does. Saturday was an absolutely incredible day for Evans, and surely made him a lot of money come April. Pro scouts had to have been drooling watching his shred the nation’s best defense. (While talking receivers, I can’t forget about Big Game Malcome Kennedy. Yes I just gave him a nickname. The dude shows up against Bama. Here's to hoping he can consistently produce.)

4. Johnny has gotten significantly better. Some of those throws down the sideline to Evans were just sublime. The accuracy was consistent, and his touch (which has always been good) was phenomenal. The play where he backpedaled, eluded the grasp of the Bama lineman, and heaved it up to middle of the field for it to be caught for a first down was something straight out of EA Sports NCAA 2013. You just don’t do that; in fact, no one else probably can. When you consider that Alabama has what most consider to be the best defense in the country every year, and that both interceptions weren’t bad throws (though his decision to thread the needle that got tipped was iffy) Manziel’s performance absolutely has to go down as one of the best ever. HE. CAN’T. BE. STOPPED.

5. I’ve seen a great deal of outrage over the play call on the Aggies’ third drive that led to the interception in the end zone. This is definitely a play I want to focus on when I go back and watch the game again, because Coach Sumlin in not so many words put that one of Ja’Quay Williams for running a poor route. Based on what I saw, I have to agree. Would I have rather seen a more conservative play call? Sure, but let’s not act like running the ball was getting us anywhere. If the fade is executed, it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to stop. In fact I would bet a lot of offensive coordinators that have the QB and the receivers that Coach McKinney has are just as comfortable calling a fade in that situation as they are a dive play.

6. I just realized I spent my first 5 points on the offense, so I better focus on what really changed the game: the Aggie defense. Any time you let an offense that looked nothing short of putrid two weeks ago to an ‘inferior’ team from the ACC run up almost 600 yards of offense and 42 points (not counting the Sunseri pick-six), things are B-A-D. We saw what Coach Snyder can do with talented players last year, which leads me to believe that while Coach Sherman left the offense in pretty good shape a year ago, we may have seen the last real fruits of his defensive recruiting efforts walk out the door after the 2012 season came to a close.

7. Spencer Nealy was an absolute beast last year at nose tackle, and his absence is totally killing this defense. Damontre Moore, Sean Porter, and Jonathan Stewart got more headlines during their careers (and don’t get me wrong, they were all great) but I’m now convinced that Nealy was the heart of the 2012 Wrecking Crew. We’ve got a few studs developing at nose tackle right now with Manning, Golden, and Walker, but the fact is they are too young to make an impact right now. The defensive line on Saturday was nonexistent. McCarron was barely touched, much less hurried. It didn’t matter who Alabama had running the ball – all three of their backs were getting to the second level of the Aggie defense before they got hit. The Tide averaged 6+ yards a carry. Vomit.

8. It’s time to tinker with the linebackers. Bottom line is Jordan Mastrogiovanni and Donnie Baggs are not getting the job done. Baggs is hesitant and doesn’t seem to be interested in making plays. Mastro just looks overwhelmed. I’m sure his time will come, but he’s not physically ready right now. I can’t say anything particularly good about Nate Askew, but I at least saw him involved. Watching the game I didn’t even notice if we were blitzing at all. That says a lot about the defensive front.

9. Clay Honeycutt, man. I can’t put it all on him. (De’Vante missing the first two games because his head was up his backside this offseason and coming back rusty only to get burned by Norwood down the sideline for the equivalent of a basketball posterization was tough to watch, and did Howard Matthews play? He did? You promise?) But as a top-10 team, we just can’t have someone like Honeycutt seeing significant playing time. The youngsters may commit some errors due to their inexperience, but at least the higher ceiling is there! Get them on the field and start their education.

10. At the end of the day I’m really not that disappointed. I think deep down inside of us, we were all terrified of the Aggies coming out to play in front of the national audience and putting up a goose egg. There’s a long history of that happening. Saturday didn’t deliver the result that we all longed for, but it cemented the belief that the Texas A&M football program belongs in the discussion of national collegiate powers. After the game, Saban told Sumlin, “you just took 10 years off my life.” When was the last time Texas A&M commanded that kind of respect?

The loss on Saturday stung like hell. Waking up on Sunday knowing that the Aggies belong, well, was as sweet as Sugar (Bowl).

Sunday, September 15, 2013

BAMA WEEK PART 2 - Gameday

Gameday

So you spend all week earning your worth; making corporate commercials, studying in school, fixing drill heads thousands of feet under the earth, etc. Work Hard - Play Hard. But now it is gameday and gameday isn't a 24 hour period, gameday is a mentality. You spend your whole life busting your ass to make a difference in your classes, job, and community and you'll continue to bust your ass to make a difference on gameday. See, people confuse this journey back to College Station as a "weekend to reminisce" but it's not that at all. When you step foot in Aggieland, you're leaving all that stress behind, true, but you're getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor in a place where you built a home, College Station. We hardly ever get a chance to look at what we have created and revel in the great relationships that we have built for ourselves, but this is one of those chances. So here it is, gameday in all her glory. 

Tailgating

In all honesty, there's two types of games. Ones where you tailgate, and ones where you blow-out-tailgate. 

 Guys, sorry but I ran out of time to write this. Sake bombs all around! See ya on Northgate!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Get Under the Bama Fan’s Skin (BAMA WEEK PART 1.76)

I was lucky enough to witness Texas A&M’s upset of #1 Alabama, 29-24, last year in Tuscaloosa. The year before that, I made a trip to Tuscaloosa to watch Bama make Derek Dooley’s Tennessee team their whipping boys for the day. (In case you’re wondering if I’m a closet fan of the Crimson Tide, no, I’m not. My younger brother attends Alabama and I try to visit him once a year. Yes, my team beating his team last year was insanely satisfying. Also, yes, this year will be even sweeter as he is making the trip to College Station tomorrow.)

This is all to say that as an outsider, I feel experienced enough to give you some pointers on getting under the average Alabama fan’s skin this weekend when you're mixing it up on Northgate. Be careful – the Alabama fan will be similar to a caged animal on blue meth prior to kickoff. Last year’s loss to Texas A&M was crushing for them. Don’t push them too far, or we may lose the Century Tree.

Without further ado, here's my tried and true, certified 10 best ways to annoy Harvey Updike:

1. Ask the Alabama fan why his team is named the “Crimson Tide” and why their mascot is an elephant. If he somehow gives you a coherent response, reply with, “I still don’t get it” or give him a glazed-eye look that can’t convey anything other than confused boredom.

2. Make sure the Alabama fan understands that Bear Bryant coached at Texas A&M before being forced to move to Alabama for family reasons, and let them know that he only went to Alabama because he’s a momma’s boy, and that Bryant was (not) quoted saying if he had stayed at Texas A&M, he would’ve won twice as many titles as he did in Tuscaloosa.

3. As you’re talking to the Alabama fan, scroll through Twitter and act like you’ve just seen the Yahoo report on DJ Fluker accepting impermissible benefits while at Alabama for the first time.

4. Question Alabama’s claim of “15” National Championships. Back in the 1980’s someone in the Alabama athletic department decided that five national championships between 1925 and 1941 actually belonged to the Crimson Tide. As fans of a school that knows a thing or two about padding its resume decades after the season has been played, you should be able to hold your own here. You could also point out that the only reason Alabama got to play in last year’s title game was because Oregon and Kansas State completely choked, but that’s neither here nor there.

5. Ask the Alabama fan if he would rate Cam Newton’s 2010 season at Auburn the #1 or #2 season by a QB in college football history.

6. Remind the Alabama fan that their head coaching position is almost unanimously considered to be inferior to that of the University of Texas (I know it hurts to say that, but swallow your pride this weekend) and that the future of Texas’ current head coach is about as certain as death and taxes. Also drop a nugget that you “heard” Saban’s wife was in Austin on Friday morning.

7. Tell the Alabama fan that your ribs at Dreamland Barbecue last year were overcooked. Then, when he grills you on the quality of your sides, simply reply with, “They were pretty good, but I’ve had better.”

8. Get the Alabama fan’s thoughts on Gene Jelks (not) getting presented with the “NCAA Award for Outstanding Ethical Behavior” on the field tomorrow before kickoff.

9. Request the Alabama fan to walk you through the ins and outs of using “roll tide” in various situations. Your end goal here is to see just how extreme the Alabama fan is willing to go in order to shoehorn a “roll tide” into a scenario, like a eulogy, or his confession to committing a crime.

10. Johnny Football. 29-24.

"Give to them nothing but take from them EVERYTHING. Time to turn up and leave it all on the field."

Lynnesanity - A Veteran's Guide to Northgate (BAMA WEEK PART 1.75)

Honestly, I don't think we give Northgate it's due respect sometimes.  Northgate is a phenomenal collegiate bar scene.  An underrated bar selection, a condensed layout, and infamously cheap drinks will always make for a good time.  Considering this is a rather important week, and Northgate will undoubtedly be insane, we called upon self-proclaimed Pocahontas of Northgate (and twitter phenom @lynnemarie12), Lynne Powers to break it down, plain and simple, step by step.  If you find Pocahontas at any of these spots on Friday or Saturday... make sure you are ready to buy her the appropriate shot.

Lynnesanity’s Guide To Northgate

Upon my many adventures of debauchery I’ve always been told that life is not a sprint it’s a marathon.  My exception to this rule is Northgate. To me Northgate is a marathon that you sprint. To help you get the most out of your experience here’s a guide to map out your travels.

Start of the Night

ETA 9:00-11:00

It’s always a good idea to start your night at Northgate in an uncrowded bar. The goal is to drink cheap and to establish a good foundation.  That being said….

Top Choice

The Ranch- Here you can play a friendly game of skee ball or Pacman while enjoying cheap wells.  Make sure you order a Mango Bango and a Lynnesanity shot from Alex.

Other Good Starters

Chimys- Cadillac Margarita
Rebel Draft House- Sex Machine
Obannons- Mint Chocolate Chip Shot
Paddock Lane- Fishbowl Race
Tipsy Turtle- Pickle Shot

Middle of the Night

ETA 11:00-1:00

Once the night starts to pick up the bars will get more crowded. These recommendations are more for the risk takers.

Top Choice

Sake Bar- Get yourself a Kyoto Sunrise Bomb but if you are in the spirit of Alabama weekend try a Johnny Football Bomb.

Other Good Options

Dry Bean- Green Frog
Cedar Lane- Wake Me Up
Logan’s- Unicorn Cum

End of the Night

ETA 1:00-2:00

As your time on Northgate comes to an end to make sure you head over to the dark side. Notoriously known for its darker lighting and a nightclub atmosphere it’s required that you save this side for the last part of your night. These bars aren’t well known for their unique drinks like the others, but instead are more known for the experience that comes with them. It’s nothing I can explain, you just have to see for yourself.

            Top Recommendation - Foundation Room
           
            Other Options - Gatsby’s, Social and Hookah Station.

*Don’t forget that in order to have a true Lynnesanity night you must end your night with some Fuego Queso.
  
** Disclaimer: this guide is just a suggestion for those of legal drinking age listing the best drinks to try while at these bars, in my opinion. This is in no way a suggestion to consume all of these drinks in one night.  Please drink responsibly at your own risk.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BAMA WEEK PART 1.5 - The Pilgrimage

We genuinely hope BAMA WEEK PART 1 has helped you get through the week thus far.  Trey's first installment got me so pumped, that instead of focusing on my Wednesday duties, I started day dreaming about Friday.  Friday, Friday, Friday.  Nothing is better than Friday.  The weekend has arrived; the world is at your fingertips.  And for this particularly special weekend, we got you covered the entire way (with a special guest columnist for the nitty gritty Northgate portion).

Friday afternoon:

4:00 PM - You have punched the clock all week, throw up a couple middle-finger freedom rockets to the corporate world and get the ever-livin, ever-lovin hell out of that office!  College Station is waiting.

4:15 PM - Get your party crew assembled, grab a shot, make a toast, drink the shot, high five everyone in the party crew and hit the road (it's important to not get carried away here... one symbolic, emotional, celebratory shot... no more, no less).

4:23 PM - Get the party tunes pumpin' during the early stages of the drive.  The spirits couldn't be higher at this point.  Recommended tunes:  All I Do is Win - DJ Khaled, Come and Get It - Selena Gomez (J/K?), Bodies - Drowning Pool, Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells, Work Hard Play Hard - Wiz Khalifa... whatever tickles your fancy.

4:35 PM - 5:35 PM (based upon Houston commute, increase or decrease upon personal commute) - This is where you get some real football talk in.  Sobriety is still in play, get it all out on the table.  Ponder some defensive adjustments and creative blitzing schemes, day dream on Johnny doing Johnny things, get any worries off your chest (AJ McCarron tattoo jokes aside), and make predictions for x-factors and surprise heroes.  This is where rational thinking comes to an end.  When you hit College Station, all bets are off.

5:36 PM - 5:45 PM - Get back to the pump up music (maybe mix in your favorite Country throwbacks?), and enjoy the warm fuzzies as you see the College Station water tower approaching in the distance.

5:58 PM - Before you check in to home base, go straight to the daquiri barn on Wellborn (not sure if that's what it's even called, take University to Wellborn, take a right, and less than a mile down you will find the special place).  Seriously, when is drive through, frozen, alcoholic, tasty treats ever a bad idea.  Answer: never.  (leave that restrictive, tampering tape on till you get home though, ladies and gents, safety first).

6:00 PM - Check in to home base and have a celebratory shotgun (nothing says excitement like a celebratory shotgun).  This could be anywhere, a hotel, a friend's place, an RV, a parking lot, your tailgate spot, your truck bed, your friend's truck bed, it doesn't matter... shelter is a state of mind.

7:00 PM - It's time to set off and begin the evening... got any errands to run?  Do them now.  Want a new gameday polo because you got Kolache juice all over the other two... do it now.  Support the local economy.

7:35 PM - Don't forget to get some good greasy food in you.  It may be the best decision you make all night.  Don't be the girl (maybe guy?) who blacks out later in the night and can only mutter the words, "doooonnt feeeeeeel goood, neeeddaa puke, onlllly haddd sooouuup fooor dinnner."  Seriously, you don't want to be that person (girl?).

8:38 PM - Don't delay the inevitable any longer.  Get to Northgate.  Those drinks won't drink themselves.  Plus, any veteran knows, that an early start to Northgate is the best recipe for a good time.

8:48 PM - Remember when I said rational thinking ends in the car?  Don't forget it.  College Station is YOUR city.  Northgate is YOUR home.  Make sure Bama fans know this territory has been marked (don't pee on things).  We beat Bama last year, and we will do it again this year.  IN. OUR. HOUSE.

And it is here at 9 pm where I halt.  Our guest columnist will take over from here with a foolproof guide to a wonderful blur of an evening at Northgate.  Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a few inspirational words.

1) While on Northgate, take a moment to reflect on the awesomeness surrounding you.  We live in a country where it is not only legal, but encouraged to mix, shake, and stir multiple spirits/beverages/poisons.  This is 'Merica at it's finest.

2) Make sure and obnoxiously high-five as many Alabama fans as possible.  This will confuse them.  They will sense your general condescending tone, but won't know how to react to the customary sign of goodwill.

3) Post up somewhere and find some Bama fans to mingle with.  As always, show an unwavering confidence in your team.  If you start doubting yourself just bring up AJ McCarron's chest tattoo.  I have no doubt that watching a Bama fan foolishly attempt to defend the atrocity on their QB's chest will erase any social anxiety you might have been feeling.

3.5) Just remember, if you call attention to McCarron's chest tattoo (which you should), or his mom, or his girlfriend... be prepared, those less-than-shifty Bama fans will probably remember that our beloved QB has had his fair share controversy.  When this happens just shoot back with an irrationally confident and somewhat aggressive comment like, "OH, I AM SO SORRY MY QUARTERBACK IS RICH AND LIKES TO PARTY WITH RAPPERS, ATHLETES AND BABES... THE HEISMAN TENDS TO HAVE THAT EFFECT."  Solid stuff, huh?  Now let's breakdown, piece by piece, why this just may be the perfect response to any accusatory Aggie QB remark:
  • "OH, I AM SO SORRY" - This obviously shows that you are NOT sorry, and don't care what this person (in this case Bama fan) thinks.  This totally works, I do it to my friends all the time.
  • "MY QUARTERBACK IS RICH" - This immediately covers your stance on what might be perceived as the elephant in the room.  Johnny is rich, he doesn't need anymore money from shady, unnamed sources.   
  • "AND LIKES TO PARTY WITH RAPPERS, ATHLETES AND BABES" - This part is a no-brainer. I mean partying with Drake, LeBron, and Sarah Savage sounds like a pretty cool Saturday night, right?
  • "THE HEISMAN TENDS TO HAVE THAT EFFECT" - A not-so-subtle reminder that Johnny won the Heisman last year... it will also, indirectly, elicit memories of what happened last year in Tuscaloosa.
Hopefully your evening is altercation free, but just in case it isn't, now you have some tools in your britches.  If you find some well-behaved, respectful Bama fans, well by all means, buy them a beer.  Nothing says world peace like buying a stranger a beer.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the late night game (drinking) plan!

Monday, September 9, 2013

BAMA WEEK PART 1 - Game Preparations

Bama Week
What more is there to say? We've finally made it to the culmination of A&M Football and the corresponding social pilgrimage to our hallowed home, College Station. The bottom line is, either you are cool and going to the game (or at least tailgating), or you're just flat-out not cool.  Aggies will forgive Aggies for excuses when it comes to the Rice game, the SMU game, and maybe even the Auburn game. But there are no exceptions this week. So instead of spending more time saying what goes without saying, let's just dive into our plans to make the best of this social-event-for-the-ages (aka Bama Week).

BAMA WEEK PART 1 - Game Preparations

MONDAY: Start your week off with a healthy dose of football talk around the office. Ease into the conversation by chatting up the Cowboys crazy finish or the Texans big Monday night debut, but whatever you do, make sure to bring up the A&M vs. Bama game within your boss' eavesdropping range. If you work in a cool office this shouldn't be too tough, but no matter the initial difficulty you might face with this task, just know that it is the only thing you must accomplish all day. You will thank me later this week.

TUESDAY: Guys, you may not like this next part, but it is an imperative part of the game-plan: work late on Tuesday. Look, do you think Ben Malena is slacking off on the Tuesday of Bama Week? Exactly, so neither can you. Here's the plan; identify two objectives you need accomplished by Wednesday afternoon. Accomplish Objective One by Tuesday afternoon and Objective Two before you go home Tuesday night. Now, as your boss is walking out of the office, make sure to ask a question on Objective One (which you have, by now, already completed) and indicate you're staying late to complete it. Then *BAM* you drop both completed objectives on your boss's desk as you leave Tuesday night. Ben Malena would be proud.

WEDNESDAY: Wake up to this video, this video, and this video. Alright, now that we have our eye back on the prize, here's the plan for today: double down on the goodwill you got by working late on Tuesday. Stay until your boss leaves, then when your boss asks what you're working on/why you're staying late, stand strong and say "I'm just trying to stay ahead of everything since I'll be making the trek to College Station after work on Friday". Hopefully this pleases him, regardless, the second your boss is gone, hit the door, cause those Jell-O shots are not going to make themselves.

THURSDAY: Simple enough. Wear your gameday polo (or at least a shade of maroon if that's too casual for a Thursday).  Today is the day it starts to get real.  Really take a minute to soak in the feel of your gameday polo.  This is your uniform.  This is your armor.  Saturday is war. You're not going to see anyone at work that you'll see at the game so it's not like anyone will know you're re-using a shirt two days later. Instead, it will be a constant reminder to your boss and everyone else you work with that the most important thing in the world to you today is A&M Football, and that they had better give you any and all work they expect to be done this week to you by mid-day Thursday. After that, all bets are off.

FRIDAY: Wake up to your Fightin' Texas Aggie War Hymn alarm. Tweet at least six of your favorite things about Texas A&M. Bring your office a box of kolaches. Wear your other gameday polo. Spend all morning in someone else's office discussing process improvements you guys will be able to implement starting next quarter. Then take an "early lunch" and HIT THE ROAD TO COLLEGE STATION!!

What to do once you've arrived to College Station? Stay tuned for Part 2...

(hint: it involves dinner at Dry Bean... see explanation below within the game two impressions)

Impressions - Game Two

I am back with more impressions!  I sort of like this weekly installment, I might just keep it around.  You could say my impressions and I are currently going steady.

One thing that impressed me:  Manny Diaz.  I can’t help it.  I mean he obviously checked out right?  Maybe wanted to spend a little more time with the family?  Something seems fishy.  Ahhhhh, who cares!  I love it.  BYU ran over UT on Saturday, and Manny Diaz was promptly shown the door on Sunday.  Hello unemployment line!  If I was a less emotional, more intelligent fan I would be rooting for UT to pull off an 8-5 or 9-4 season so they keep Mack Brown’s corpse on the sideline.  But, I just can’t.  I am glutton for their demise.  Heck, I might even tune into the Longhorn Network this week to follow the fun… HA, just kidding, that channel blows.

Another thing that impressed me:  Kenny Hill’s first drive.  That first throw was incredible.  I can only imagine how doubly incredible it was for those watching on TV.  I feel further justified in my lukewarm Matt Joeckel thoughts from last week.  The future is Kenny Hill, not Matt Joeckel, might as well let Kenny get his feet wet when he can.  Oh and by the way, being there in person, Kenny Hill looks huge.  I mean Johnny always looks kind of small out there, but wow, Kenny looked like a full grown man already.   The future is bright in Aggie land.

And another thing that impressed me:  Not that I am surprised, but, wow, I love the Dry Bean.  You know what those perfectly concocted shots would cost in Houston or Dallas?  Too damn much.  By the way, have you ever heard of "dinner at the Dry Bean"?  Well let me fill you in (and don’t hesitate to take a date, they will love it).  It’s actually quite easy.  Step one: warm up the belly with an appetizer (Nuts and Berries sounds light and healthy).  Step two: move onto the main course (go fancy with a Rock Lobster or old school with a Wisconsin Lunchbox).  Step three: top it all off with a sweet dessert (the Oatmeal Cookie is a personal favorite).  Boom, dinner at the Dry Bean, signed, sealed, and delivered.

One thing that didn’t impress me:  Taylor Bertolet.  Ugh, this guy came to Aggie land to torment me.  If he costs us points in the Alabama game I am going to lose it.  Like legitimately lose it.  And on that note; can we just go for every fourth down under ten yards once we cross mid-field.  Seriously, just drop back to pass and let Johnny make a play.  I have absolutely zero confidence in Bertolet from ANYWHERE on the field.   I mean the guy misses extra points.  THOSE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FREEBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t take it.  Ok, moving on now.

Another thing that didn’t impress me:  Our defense.  So they weren’t THAT bad.  And they tightened it up late.  But I sure would have loved to see a dominant effort from them.  Not that any of us need reminding, but there is a rather potent team coming to town next week and we are going to need our defense to keep us in the game.   I think the ideal situation would be DeVante and Deshazor stepping up to the plate and dominating their men, thus allowing Snyder some extra flexibility in stopping the run.  That’s what we need.  Fingers crossed.  The Tide is coming.

Statistical observation that impressed me:  Johnny spreading the ball around (yet still utilizing Mike Evans) for over 400 yards passing.  Strangely, being at the game, it was a sort of underwhelming 400 yards.  Maybe, it was just Sam Houston, maybe it was the day dreaming on next week, who knows, but it just didn’t feel as impressive as it looks.  But enough trepidation, 400 yards is a good day at the office.

Another statistical observation that impressed me:  The aforementioned Mike Evans and his 155 reception yards.  Mike Evans made some plays.  He made some great catches and some great runs after the catch.  Mike Evans is ready for Alabama, and we will definitely need a big play or two from him if we are going to come out with a win.

And another statistical observation that impressed me:  Tra Carson (again) and his two touchdowns.  My buddy Layne Bukhair has dubbed him the “Touchdown Vulture.”  It fits wonderfully.  But Tra, don’t get too greedy, we need Johnny’s stats to be as gaudy as possible for the outside chance at another Heisman.  Think about the team Touchdown Vulture.  Think about the team.

Statistical observation that did not impress me:  Sam Houston rushing for 240 yards on 42 attempts (for a hefty 5.7 yards per carry).  Well, I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but this ain’t gonna fly next weekend.  Maybe Saban won’t notice the glaring blemish that is our run defense?  Or maybe he plans to run it down our throats and keep the ball out of Johnny’s hands?  Double ugh.  Our defense is going to have to make some stops, plain and simple.


And with that we close the book on Sam Houston.  Ben and Trey will be back later this week to preview the game we have all been waiting for.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Impressions - Game One

So I am going to try a little something new here.  Maybe I will keep this up all year, maybe I won’t.  Call it content commitment phobia.

This will be broken into two parts: visual observations and statistical observations.  Within those two parts, I will include various things that impressed me or didn’t impress me during game one.  Simple, I think so.  Side note: I will attempt to write the visual observations before the statistical observations and then see what the stats back up.  Here we go.

One thing that impressed me:  Tra Carson.  I respect the subtle brilliance of Ben Malena, I get caught up in the insane athleticism of Brandon Williams, and I genuinely daydream about Trey William’s game breaking speed.  But you know who I don’t think about that much (until now)?  Tra Carson, the transfer from Oregon.  This guy is an absolute beast.  He is a massive, angry bulldozer that we haven’t had since Jorvorskie.  He plays differently than Jorvorskie though. Tra has a delightful vicious, aggressiveness when gets the ball.  Whatever the case, I think Tra is carving out a distinct role on this team, and I love it.  An effective monster of a short yardage back could be huge this year.

Another thing that impressed me:  Johnny coming in and doing Johnny things.  I couldn’t care less about the antics.  I wanted to see Johnny run around on the field and make plays.  And guess what world?  He did.  I am nervous at how early the Alabama game is, but hey, it’s early for Alabama too.  Whatever on field kinks Johnny has, I hope he is able to work them out during the first half of Sam Houston.

And another thing that impressed me:  Ricky Seals-Jones making a game breaking play and Johnny looking Mike Evans’ direction.  These two guys are massive play makers and if we utilize them properly, our offense could get to a whole new level.  Just like every NFL scout, I love big, studly wide receivers (then again, I love small, shifty ones too… speaking of, is LaQuvionte getting redshirted?).

One thing that didn’t impress me: Matt Joeckel.  He came in and did an admirable job filling in while we waited for Johnny.  I mean that.  But he didn’t impress me.  Not one bit.  He can’t escape the pocket to save his life, and his passing stats were inflated by the Ricky Seals-Jones touchdown.  Why not play Kenny Hill and let him learn under fire.  If, God forbid, something happens to Johnny this year, I have very little confidence in Joeckel leading us anywhere good.  But Hill?  It’s known that he has that “it” factor, why not get him out there and let him begin to discover it on the collegiate level.  When Johnny leaves to be a first round pick after this year, there is zero chance Joeckel takes over next year.  It’s Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen.  Let’s expedite Kenny’s learning curve.

Another thing that didn’t impress me:  Our defense.  Big surprise, I know.  I hope they worked out the kinks, and Deshazor is ready to shake off whatever rust remains in the second half of the Sam Houston game (more on him in a moment), because we will need him.  Rice’s running back was a Tra Carson clone of a monster (seriously, how did he end up there), but still, our guys need to man up, beat that man, and tackle.  I will reserve more judgment until after Sam Houston.

And another thing that didn’t impress me:  The #refshow.  Should Johnny know that he has a target on his back?  Yes, he should.  Does that mean I think he shouldn’t talk trash?  Not really.  I am about 100% sure there are guys cussing at each other before and after every play.  Misconduct penalties are reserved for physical contact and EXCESSIVE celebration or taunting.  And even then, I rarely ever get upset with a player for taunting and celebration penalties, especially after touchdowns.  For goodness sake, in a big football game your team might only score 3 or 4 touchdowns (if that).  They are pretty stinkin’ important, I would hope my team is going nuts over them.  Oh and the Deshazor hit.  Wow, what an abomination of a call.  And they even reviewed it!  How did they get it so insanely wrong?  AND the Rice player that got hit even tweeted out that he thought it was a fair hit.  Now Deshazor has to sit on the sideline for the first half of the Sam Houston game and accumulate more rust.  I mean as long as he plays the whole second half he should be fine, but that doesn't excuse the ref's inexcusable call.

Onto the stats...

Statistical observation that impressed me:  Tra Carson - 14 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns.  Yea, my visual observation was right.  He is a beast.

Another statistical observation that impressed me:  Drew Kaser – 3 punts (all landing inside the opponents 20) at an average of 62.7 yards a piece.  Holy cow, I am glad I came back to look at the stats so I could give Kaser his due respect.  Those punts were incredible.  A punter is still just a punter, but wow, we have seen some rough ones.  His punts pumped me up (how often do you get to say that).

Statistical observation that didn’t impress me:  Every Rice offensive stat, minus the two interceptions.  They held the ball for over 38 minutes, they amassed over 500 total yards, they averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and you could honestly keep going.  Ok, you are right, I will stop there, let’s hold off judgment.

Statistical observation that didn’t impress me: Taylor Bertolet – 1/1 on field goals and 7/7 on extra points.  I may never trust you again Bertolet.  If he has a near clean kicking slate come November… I MIGHT reevaluate.  Until then, I still don’t like you Bertolet.  Bring back Johnny for more extra points.  That was a fun gimmick.


*New thing I learned from the stats… LaQuvionte is not being redshirted.  He had one kick return for 7 yards.  Hooray for small, shifty wide receivers.