Brutally Honest Preview: #1 Alabama vs #6 Texas A&M Manziel Manziel Manziel



This is how Johnny Manziel will be judged.

Unless he leads the #6 Texas A&M Aggies to the SEC Title game, and later a BCS berth, this is the standard. Manziel obviously did it last year, he was the only QB1 to beat the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide; even as the Tide went on to win it all yet again.

Saturday is what all the Johnny Manziel hype is all about. He’s the biggest college athlete alive; bigger than multiple Tim Tebow s. And fueled by people catching all his exploits on social media. He single-handedly got us sports media people through the summer dead zone: that awful lull where there are no sports except baseball for three months, and every day is potentially a very slow sports news day.

Manziel, with all his rascally misadventures, got us through that desert. Sports news was just Manziel. Manziel. Manziel. Manziel. Manziel.

Now let’s see if he delivers the goods on the field.


TV: CBS 2:30 CDT

Lead college football team of Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson

Hashtag: #BAMAvsTAMU

Spread: Crimson Tide -9

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide Analysis:

Well, they didn’t look so hot in week one; versus a very mediocre Virginia Tech team. Still, they’re on bye week, and had extra time to prepare for A&M. Nick Saban obviously knows what he’s doing more than any other football coach, so I’m guessing he’s game planned well for Manziel. However, The Tide is High and I’m holding on to my Bama stock. They’re going to be our #1, (number one……number one……) because they’ve replenished all that talent drafted into the NFL.

They’re not the kind of team who gives up just like that.

Alabama has laid claim to three of the last four BCS National Championships and now boast 15 national championships in the program’s history.  The back-to-back titles are the first in the BCS era and the first since Nebraska went back to back in 1994-95. The Cornhuskers are also the last team to win three out of four national titles.

Minnesota is the last team (I’m not being a smart ass here, I’m serious, the Gophers) to win three straight national championships (1934-36) with only the 1936 title coming in the era of the Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide won three titles in five years from 1961 to 1965.

There is no more Eddie Lacy. And as you heard, a very weird camera with a strange angle made Eddie Lacy look obese at Green Bay Packers camp. The downgrade from Lacy to T.J. Yeldon is significant. However, it’s not as significant as you might think.

You still have Cyrus Kouandjio blocking up front. And you have Adrian Hubbard and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on defense. By the way, it would be awesome if A&M had a WR named Lollerskates Weiner-Sext.

Simply put AJ McCarron has a better supporting cast than Manziel.

“I think they learned a valuable lesson in last year’s loss and that’s if they have one area they could depend on it was their offensive line and Eddie Lacy,” Danielson said.

And as Gary later pointed out the Alabama offensive line isn’t as dominant as last year. I agree, however, I think the questions on the A&M sideline are bigger questions than what the Tide have to answer for.


#6 Texas A&M Analysis:

2-0 having beaten Rice and Sam Houston State by an average of 58.5 points. Last time out, the Aggies accumulated 714 yards of total offense, which tied for the fourth-most in program history. Texas A&M has now recorded 400-plus yards in its last 14 consecutive games.

Manziel, who has thrown for 520 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for another 55 and one touchdown this season. Manziel’s top target has been sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans has 13 receptions thus far, averaging 18.4 yards per catch. The Aggies have five players with double-figure tackles, led by junior defensive back Howard Matthews with 17. As a team, Texas A&M has 18 tackles for loss and four interceptions.

And those big defensive plays overshadow how suspect their defense really is. They’ve given up chunks of points

“When you play against Alabama, you need a very efficient quarterback, when they lose football games Stephen Garcia goes 20-23 or whatever it was,” Gary Danielson said on conference call.

“The SEC Championship game, Tim Tebow was 8-8 in the 4th quarter, Zach Mettenberger was hot in the game they could have won, if you don’t have quarterbacks that can stress Nick Saban’s back 7, he’ll just over run you.”


Manziel just doesn’t have as much talent with him as McCarron does. However, OT Jake Matthews could be a top 5 NFL Draft pick.

Brutally honest prediction (record 46-21)  Alabama 31 , Manziel 21

Everyone has an opinion on Manziel, and we can’t stop talking about him. When we should talk about the vulnerabilities in the Aggies D. And it’s potential to be gashed.

Alabama holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series with Texas A&M, with last season’s meeting in Tuscaloosa going in favor of the Aggies, 29-24. The 2012 matchup was the first between Alabama and Texas A&M since the two teams met in College Station, on Dec. 1, 1988, a game that the Tide would win, 30-10. The first contest in the series was played on Jan. 1, 1942, at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Alabama won the meeting, 29-21.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter  (@paulmbanks)

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