Texas A&M, Tennessee, Alabama round robin continues
Please excuse me if nearly a week afterwards, I still periodically find myself clicking back to the box score of Saturday’s game. The focus always settles upon the final score: Texas A&M 45, Tennessee 38 in two overtimes. The same result appears with each and every return.
Texas A&M won the game, right? The Aggies are the team left undefeated, aren’t they? The latest AP Poll reflects such, at least. It clearly reads No. 6 Texas A&M 6-0. That’s necessary reinforcement based upon all that’s been written and said of the game.
If you didn’t watch it and didn’t know the final score, one would be persuaded into believing that it was indeed the Vols that came away with the better of it.
Even the pollsters succumbed to the clippings. Tennessee entered the game undefeated and ranked No. 9 in the country. After the loss — they lost, right? — the Vols left College Station with their first defeat of the season and did not budge in the polls. There they are, still No. 9.
To its credit, Tennessee didn’t give up. It never does. The Vols have become known as the Comeback Kids this season. So was their rally from 28-7 down in the second half really all that surprising? No, impressive certainly. The Vols racked up 684 yards of offense, the third-most in program history and second-most on the road. It was the most-ever against a ranked team.
The Vols' 684 yards of offense vs. Texas A&M were UT's
– 3rd-most in program history
– 2nd-most on the road
– MOST EVER vs. a ranked team pic.twitter.com/TaC8nQXLlW
— Tennessee Stats (@Vol_Stats) October 9, 2016
So let’s give credit where credit is due. And while we’re at it, how about dropping a few kudos on the Aggies, too? After all, they did win the game, at least according to the most recent glance at the box score.
The Aggies were the team that persevered in the end. They’re the team that ended the epic battle with a touchdown in the second overtime and then came up with their seventh turnover to finish it.
They’re the team keeping up with Alabama for the SEC West lead.
So why all the accolades for the proverbial Joe Frazier, to the shunning of Muhammad Ali? Maybe it’s a subconscious effort to build up this Saturday’s showdown at Neyland Stadium where the Vols will entertain No. 1 Alabama?
The stage is set for the top three teams in the SEC to play each other in a round robin where the Aggies, after one last check of Saturday’s box score, have already gotten the early upper hand.
No, Florida is not included in that conversation. The Gators have a long way to go, especially if they have to play LSU at some point, if it’s going to represent the East for a second straight season.
Until then, we’ll check the weather forecasts and keep our fingers crossed that clouds don’t begin to form while simultaneously wishing better health for their entire defensive line and quarterback.
But getting back to the trio of teams who aren’t shying away from their upcoming opponents. If Alabama can navigate through the gauntlet of playing Tennessee and Texas A&M on back-to-back weeks, it would be the Tide that grabs all the headlines.
And rightfully so, winning those physical battles on consecutive weeks would certainly be the most impressive accomplishment to date.