In anticipation for the kickoff to College Football tonight, here's a quick back and forth between Trey and Scott discussing tonight's game. College Football is BACK!
Trey: I can't get it out of my head that the whole Johnny Finger hoopla was one final "It's over, move on" gesture to us Aggies.
Don't get me wrong, I'll still follow Johnny just like I still follow Tannehill, but the last 18 months have made talking about A&M Football just TOO DARN EASY. Sports hot takes left and right, but finally we are emerging through the cloud of construction dust (no pun intended) to see what we have truly been building over the last two whirlwind years in the SEC.
1) Respect in the SEC West
2) Immeasurable recruiting success in the state of Texas
3) A new and halfway completed Kyle Field
4) National brand recognition for our program and our head coach
5) Finally, a new starting quarterback that everyone likes!
So many things to discuss, where do you want to start?
Scott: I honestly don't follow you on the Johnny Finger hoopla. I don't think it is over in the least bit! The Browns might be my favorite NFL team at the moment (thanks for nothing Jerry Jones). Tannehill was fun and all, but Johnny was transcendent, Johnny was pure adrenaline and excitement. And it was all done for an A&M football team that had been starved of success over the past decade. I don't know what you are talking about Mr. Bahney, but I don't think I like it.
I can't wait for football season to start, but there is definitely a part of me that fears that the regular season might bring us back to earth a bit. Let's be real. We own the state of Texas right now. We are the powerhouse recruiting facility now. Top notch guys are literally tripping over themselves to play in the SEC AND in the state of Texas. Our dear friends in Austin promised us the coaching search of the century and came out of it with probably their 5th or 6th name on their list. We rode Mathews and Evans and Johnny all the way to the NFL draft and soaked up every accolade on the way. It was all great fun. But now comes football again. Real, competitive, football. Are we ready?
I still think our defense is a year away. And I personally can't get over the Claiborne and Golden hiccup. What in the world were those guys thinking? THEY WERE ARE TWO BEST RETURNING PLAYERS IN OUR FRONT SEVEN. I always find it humorous when the media gets concerned over some second string cornerback who gets booted off the team, I mean seriously? Sure that guy could develop, but that won't make or break you. Losing your best linebacker AND your best defensive lineman? On a defense that already folded like a wet taco... yea, that does not bode well. My genuine hope for our defense (in a semi-best case scenario)? Deshazor and DeVante prove to be a solid CB duo and prevent any insane air attacks on us, Mastro plops into the middle of our defense and becomes our productive, smart emotional leader, and lastly, Myles Garrett pulls a Clowney type freshmen year out of his ass. If those things happen, coupled with a competent Mark Snyder rejuvenation, I think we could have an average defense that could keep us in games.
And that brings us to our offense... which I will let you do the honors...
Trey: Whoa careful there, I spent all spring rationalizing away any positives about Clowney so that I could talk myself into thinking the Texans would actually take a much needed QB in Manziel.
But yes, let's discuss the offense!
1) True sophomore Kenny Hill gets the start. He's a solid 6'2" 215 lb. dual-threat QB who knows this system very well. In high school, Kenny ran an extremely similar offensive system to a 5A State Championship at Southlake Carroll. He's been around coaches who know how to win and he's not one to shy away when the heat is on. Expect to see his name thrown out there a lot because he's the only real variable on this offense in terms of expected productivity.
Speaking of QBs, I want to give a shout-out to one of the best Ags out there, former walk-on QB Conner McQueen, as he earned himself a football scholarship. Big congrats to the ultimate gamer.
2) Stacked offensive line: same song, second verse. Texas A&M is really building a name for themselves with this continued success at the O-line. For the third year in a row, we start the season with a projected top ten NFL pick in Cedric Ogbuehi and, correct me if I'm wrong, return three of the other four starters? Including Mike Matthews at center, the younger brother of this past year's top 10 pick, Jake Matthews. Mike starting for the second year in a row at center is HUGE for this type of high-tempo offense.
3) Stacked backfield: same song, third verse. It has been nearly five years since we didn't have a five star running back in our pocket and the trend continues this year with both Trey Williams and Brandon Williams (unrelated) expected to get PLENTY of touches. That being said, I'm really expecting to see Tra Carson take the majority of early game snaps based upon his ability to pound the ball and pick up the much needed 4-5 yards while we get the offense in gear. Word from training camp has it that Carson is also the best at picking up the blitz and helping out the young QB which is vital to the starting RB position in Sumlin's eyes.
Jeez, I didn't even make it to our receivers. Do you know if we have anyone who can catch a ball?
Scott: Well by golly we do have wide receivers... an abundance of them. Figuring out who will be the key contributors is the tricky part though. Obviously Ricky and Speedy are the most intriguing, heck on talent and projectability (is that a word?) they might be the best wide receiver combo in the nation. Given that they are still inexperienced (and they have an inexperienced QB throwing to them) I highly doubt they justify that irrational praise this year, but hey, who knows? Both of those guys bring so much to the table, Ricky has the size to make him a red zone terror and Speedy has the versatility to make him a more athletic/dynamic Ryan Swope (you like that cross-racial comparison?). From everything I have heard those two will play... a lot. So what happens after them? People have been buzzing about this Josh Reynolds character, but (and feel free to call me a bad Ag) I legitimately know nothing about him. He hasn't registered on my sexy/boner meter. We also have the wily old veteran in Malcome Kennedy. I think he plays a vital role in being the unsung, steady contributor. Could Sabian Holmes be rejuvenated with the arrival of his old high school QB partner? Will Quiv be upset that Speedy is taking his "speedy, electric semi-small guy" persona? Do our tight ends become relevant? Do we need a tight end when Ricky can be our own version of Jimmy Graham? Lots of questions out there. At the end of the day, I think Malcolm Kennedy becomes Mr. Reliable and, assuming our QB's can get them the ball, either Ricky or Speedy (or both) become national names.
So the day is here... what do you think will happen? A buddy asked me my prediction and I thought to myself, "well I of course want to win so what's the point of 'predicting' anything else?"
So lets go ahead and win our initial big hype game this year. We are a rejuvenated program, 2014 is a new year. Ags win 24 - 21. Lambo kicks a go ahead field goal midway through the 4th quarter. SPECIAL TEAMS!
Trey: Absolutely no mention of Cam Clear??? Bold move, Cotton, we'll see how it plays out for you. I do agree though, Malcolm Kennedy is going to be the star of the passing game for at least the first 6 games. He's that senior receiver who doesn't care about politics or "fat girlfriends" or anything except getting his shot at the League (a la Labhart and Swope).
I think the Ags start slow on Defense and the Ags go into the half down 14-24. But Sumlin has shown to be a third quarter coach (see Cotton Bowl) and he gets help from Speedy who takes a punt back for a TD in the third to finally take the lead for the first time. Ags go on to win 42-38.
It's here! Now go turn on your Nationally Broadcasted SEC Network and watch it!