Hard to do a Texas A&M football season preview without just writing Johnny Manziel, Johnathan Manziel, Johnny Football, Johnny Freaking Football, JFF over and over again. He’s the only example of a college football player being a bigger figure than his coach or his program. I’m not saying #2 is more powerful than A&M football, or Coach Kevin Sumlin, I’m just saying he’s a rock star.
He’s fourth generation big Texas oil money. The first freshman Heisman winner, with an arrest record. And we’re not certain what record list will grow this fall- police or passing. It’s a toss-up at this point. And now the alleged autograph scandal.
Will A&M football even have Manziel this year? Will they have him for a full season? Or not at all?
Texas A&M football reasons to get EXCITED! ALL CAPS! The national title game is within reach. Certainly the SEC title game is the minimum expectation. However, they need Manziel to get there. And they need him to have his head on straight and bring his A game. He’s definitely real life Nuke LaLoosh from “Bull Durham” in that he’s got a “million dollar arm with a ten cent head.” Even though he was smart enough to dump his bikini model girlfriend who was using him for publicity. But let’s get away from the most interesting man in the CFB world for a minute.
They have a top 5 pick in my NFL mock draft in Jake Matthews. Matthews comes from the blue blood of NFL families. Bruce Matthews, Clay Matthews, Casey Matthews etc. Dave Matthews….oh wait, not that last one. The offense will be ridiculously good. Sure they’ll miss Ryan Swope, but they have playmakers to step in, and a cadre o talented running backs.
reasons to be worried :( the defense is extremely inexperienced. The O might have to duplicate what they did last season- become the first SEC team in history to accrue 7,000 yards of total offense. Obviously, they won’t do that without Manziel. And even if they have him without any suspension, maybe SEC defenses will figure him out now? The O has to be incredible, to overcome that D. and since it’s pretty much written in stone Johnny be gone after this season; now is their only shot. They had their highest ranking since 1956 last season. But last year they snuck up on people. Can they do that again when expectations are high.
key games: EVERY game. When you have Johnny Fucking Football on your team, the spotlight and the target is always on you. With of course Sept 14th vs Alabama being the most hyped. November 23rd versus LSU will be huge too. And August 31st will be the most scrutinized, over-hyped season opener in CFB history. And Rice football history.
bottom line: With JFF I’d put the Aggies in the 3 to 5 overall range nationally. Now without him, if that’s in the cards I’d be hesitant to even say top 20. If Manziel’s life were a Broadway musical, right now this is the serious, dark scene which precedes the uplifting up tempo medley that always closes act 1. But will he “Man Up” and and give the Aggies “One More Day,” for the BCS title game. Will his play on the field be “Defying Gravity,” or will his college football career end like Les Miserables, where almost everyone dies. Yes, I like musicals. A lot. And I’m heterosexual. Deal with the contradiction.
JFF has replaced Jimmy Clausen as the real life J.D. McCoy from Friday Night Lights. Only more extreme and with worse decision making.
the 2013 College Football rankings 1-51
Big Ten Season Previews (and other teams of interest now too):
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate. He is also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows his Twitter account (@PaulMBanks)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks