College football’s biggest game so far during the young 2013 season happens tomorrow. But you already know that, because you’ve been looking forward to it since February. Some of the best storylines in college football revolve around #1 Alabama and #6 Texas A&M, and this game exemplifies perfectly why we love college football.
Here are the three biggest subplots for Saturday’s clash:
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Manziel vs. the world: Charles Barkley recently epitomized the majority thought surrounding Alabama vs. Texas A&M. The former Auburn star said Johnny Manziel makes him want to say ‘Roll Tide’. That is nearly criminal for any Auburn fan, much less former Tiger athlete, but that’s the consensus around the country. Fans are forced with a dilemma to choose sides between the dynasty in Tuscaloosa that’s bored college football with tremendous success or the most scrutinized college football player in history. The masses want to see Manziel fail on the big stage, mostly because of his cocky swagger and perceived ego. The masses hate his attitude, and they hate the idea of Manziel dominating college football, winning the big game and taking a trip across the country to celebrate it. Many say Manziel is just a spoiled rich kid with too much mouth and too much of a massive ego. I give you Manziel vs. the world. A win tomorrow against Alabama and nothing disappears, but Manziel gets the last laugh. The biggest question then becomes how Manziel would celebrate the win. Would he go to Vegas? Would he get back on Twitter and shout out to all the ‘haters’? Manziel is not only playing Alabama tomorrow; he is playing the college football world.
Related: Five factors that favor Alabama
Sumlin vs. Saban: What happens if Kevin Sumlin destroys the process again? What happens if Sumlin beats college football’s best coach – maybe ever – on the national stage, again? All the talk and perceived advantage by Alabama revolves around an entire offseason of game planning for Johnny Manziel and the Aggies’ offense for Nick Saban. But what nobody is talking about is Sumlin’s offseason of game planning and better utilizing his offense. He has also had an entire offseason to plan, too. There is nobody better in college football – and maybe the NFL – of putting a plan to win together before an opponent than Saban. Saban is highly regarded as one of the best defensive minds in the game, but Sumlin – the former linebacker – is regarded as one of the most creative offensive minds in the game. Both clash tomorrow, and the in-game coaching chess match will be fun to watch.
Related: Five factors that favor Texas A&M
Anti-Manziel: The biggest storyline involving players is quarterback vs. quarterback. The Anti-Manziel, AJ McCarron, has tried to separate himself from the shadow of Johnny Manziel all offseason. We’ve called McCarron a game manager, a product of Bama’s system and Katherine Webb’s boyfriend. But the ultimate identity he’s taken is the Anti-Manziel. The biggest question surrounding McCarron at media days wasn’t about Nick Saban and wasn’t about a possible three-peat; it was about Manziel, the Manning Camp and why he didn’t wake him up. McCarron is the quiet winner who has never been an All-American, yet has two rings as a starter and is going for an unprecedented three in a row. And I would argue more pressure lies upon the shoulders of the Anti-Manziel than Manziel.
Related: Compare QB statistics for 2013
Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports