For the past two college football seasons the Alabama Crimson Tide have been in a league of their own. Winning back to back titles, coach Nick Saban and his men are geared up to attempt what no team in the history of NCAA D1 football has been able to do, win three straight National Championships. Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies represent perhaps the biggest hurdle for Alabama to climb on their way to history, but do the underdogs even have a shot at the upset?
On paper, one would think that Alabama will easily cover the 9 point spread and cruise through their opponent with ease during their match up Saturday. Games are not played on paper.
A year ago, nobody thought that a freshman quarterback would be the only man to defeat the mighty Crimson Tide, yet that is exactly what happened the last time these teams met.
That 29-24 victory in Alabama was the only blemish on the eventual champions record, and given that this is their first shot at revenge, you can bet that emotions will be high.
Sure, Saban has told his players not to talk trash or let emotions get the best of them. He can say what he wants, emotions are part of a rivalry. Just look at the brawl that took place at the end of Thursday’s Jets Patriots game. With no way the Jets could win, the players lost it and took out their frustration on the Patriots after a game-clinching interception.
So yeah, Saban has talked a good game to the media,explaining that “people who get emotional sometimes don’t make the best decisions.”
But how do you eliminate emotion from a student athlete?
He can claim that trash talk and emotion has “never a part of our game,” Saban explained and then further backed up his claim. “We tell our players, there’s no circumstance where you need to talk to another player, and there’s been very little of that with our team. Business-like is the way we’d like to approach this game. It’s going to be emotional, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not trying to minimize the importance when I use the term ‘businesslike.’
I’m not buying it. Emotions will be sky high for this one, on both sides. Alabama wants to prove no one in the NCAA can compete with them. Manziel on the other hand, is an artist at rubbing people the wrong way and talking trash. No reason to think this week will be different, especially knowing his opponent has been told not to respond.
In terms of quarterback play, two of the best in the nation will be on display in today’s ‘Bama vs A&M contest. AJ McCarron has won back to back titles and is looking to continue his dominance. Manziel is the only freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and is an electric player to watch.The traditional passer takes on the new school player who can do it all, rushing and passing, to carry his team.
The advantage here goes to Manziel, who is already impossible to contain despite only being a sophomore. He has a lot left to prove, and winning this game would go a long way in his dreams of becoming champion. McCarron on the other hand has struggled against the Aggies in the past. Two-thirds of his interceptions in 2012 were thrown in a single game against the Aggies.
In terms of the lineman, the advantage once again goes to Texas A&M. They should be able to pressure the quarterback given that Alabama’s line was anything but impressive in a win over Virginia Tech. Boasting three new starters, the ‘Bama line has to find continuity if it wants to keep McCarron upright. That same pressure is not going to be on the Aggies o-line, who has a quarterback capable of bailing them out if things break down in the pocket.
Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M once again looked poised to do the unthinkable, beat Alabama.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express