I don’t always watch Texas football, but when I do, I watch the Texas A&M Aggies.
While what’s happening in Tuscaloosa is fascinating, let’s be honest, we expect greatness every season for the Tide. The consistent domination of Nick Saban’s team isn’t as exciting as some other teams. It’s a bit like the San Antonio Spurs being unfairly labeled as boring because of how consistently good they are.
When it comes down to being interesting in college football, the Aggies are it in 2013. Get ready for some serious media coverage…
One can easily argue that no SEC team has a more important season ahead of them than the Texas A&M Aggies. 2012 was a coming out party for the Aggies. They had a new coach, a new quarterback and were simply happy to be a member of the SEC. They were excited for the future… you know, a few seasons down the road. 11 wins and a Heisman Trophy later, expectations have been moved up, and now the Aggies sit at a crossroads.
Do the Aggies take the next step to secure a place as a consistent top ten team in college football? Domination of the state of Texas and the opportunity to regularly make a run at winning the toughest division in college football are both at stake in 2013.
What’s so fascinating is the Johnny Manziel situation. He’s been so instrumental in just one short season in catapulting the Aggies to the forefront of college football, yet what is at stake for the Aggies is the program’s post-Manziel era.
If this team can put together another dominant season and even play for a national championship, Kevin Sumlin has everything in place to put a machine in place that keeps the talent flowing into College Station and keeps the team in the BCS/playoff conversation year after year. The impact of the 2012 was and continues to be significant, but putting together back-to-back seasons of extraordinary success has the potential to lead to a new era of domination for Texas A&M.
Confidence is high in Kevin Sumlin. Truly he’s one of the more impressive individuals in the head coaching club in the SEC. In fact, if I had one word to describe Sumlin, that would be it. Having the opportunity to meet the SEC coaches at recent press events, one-word descriptions are easy: Les Miles? Goofy. Nick Saban? Machine. Mark Richt? Relaxed. Will Muschamp? Football. Spurrier? Hilarious. James Franklin? Enthusiastic. Sumlin? Impressive.
Physically impressive. Smooth. Confident. Youthful. The Aggies have a leader in Kevin Sumlin that could lead to big, big things down in College Station… if they can keep him.
And, then we get back to Manziel. It’s one thing to exceed all expectations when you come out of nowhere. It’s another to stay on top when the entire world is looking at you. Manziel’s been a bit all over the place this off-season, most notably on Twitter. Anything to overreact to? No, but not exactly encouraging either.
Manziel was the best athlete on the field essentially all season in 2012. While his athleticism will again be on his side, it’s safe to assume that teams will better prepare for him in his second season in the SEC. For the Aggies to win the SEC West and contend for a national championship, Manziel will need to do more than just make plays. He’ll need to become the leader of the team that pushes them to greatness. Tweeting about wanting out of College Station isn’t cause for panic, but it’s also not the leadership that his team will need in 2013.
If Sumlin can get his quarterback to lead, the potential is there for a significant run in 2013. A significant run in 2013 could help cement the next decade of football in College Station, especially while teams like the Texas Longhorns struggle to get back to greatness. Many teams have special, single seasons. Auburn had one just a couple years ago.
2013 will be a pivotal year to see whether the coming years in College Station look more like Alabama’s recent seasons or Auburn’s.