What media are saying about Texas A&M vs. Tennessee
ESPN’s College GameDay will be in College Station on Saturday when No. 8 Texas A&M hosts No. 9 Tennessee in a battle of unbeaten teams at Kyle Field. The 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff will be televised nationally by CBS.
While having GameDay on your campus is an exciting time, Texas A&M might not be so thrilled. In four previous visits to College Station, the Aggies lost twice to Oklahoma and once each to Florida and Alabama.
The Aggies are 0-fer when GameDay comes to town as pointed out by Robert Cessna of theeagle.com. But this team appears ready and able to break the streak. However, it’ll have to get past a talented Vols team with destiny on their side, or so it seems after back-to-back late and miraculous comebacks.
Here are five things the media are talking about leading up to Saturday’s game:
1. Injuries: Kevin Sumlin remains tight-lipped about the status of four starters as statesman.com’s Suzanne Halliburton writes. The four — receivers Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil, DE Myles Garrett and OL Jermaine Eluemunor — did not play in last Saturday’s 24-13 victory over South Carolina. But Sumlin won’t reveal the status of the group. He doesn’t discuss injuries. The Aggies will need all hands on deck in Saturday’s battle.
Tennessee’s Butch Jones, on the other hand, discussed the shoulder injury to LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, which he said will keep the Vol sidelined for Saturday’s game as discussed by the timesfreepress.com. Jones also indicated that LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. could return after missing the last three games. However, the status of RB Jalen Hurd is left up in the air. Hurd mysteriously left Saturday’s game with Georgia with a “lower extremity” injury and didn’t return until playing on the kickoff return team in the final seconds.
2. Predictions: Five writers from ESPN gave their opinions on Saturday’s big game. The razor-thin difference between the two teams was illustrated in the group’s picks, which came down to a 3-2 vote in favor of Texas A&M. Edward Aschoff predicted an Aggies victory by a 34-28 score. David Ching picked Tennessee to win with what is becoming a routinely heartstopping finish. He says Vols, 28-27. Alex Scarborough also picked Tennessee to win. He predicted a score of 30-27. Sam Kahn Jr. (30-21) and Greg Ostendorf (31-24) put Texas A&M over the top with their predictions.
3. The SEC’s two top DEs: Tennessee’s Derek Barnett is playing it down as featured by Steve Megargee of newsobserver.com, but Saturday’s game could feature two of the top defensive ends in the conference, if not the country. Barnett and Garrett are leaders of their respective defenses. Garrett sat out last week’s game with an injury and his status is unknown for Saturday. Barnett goes into the game tied for second in the SEC with 8.5 tackles for loss. Last season, Garrett led the SEC in both sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (19.5).
4. Finding an edge: In an evenly matched game as this one, coming up with an advantage either way could take some digging. Bill Connelly, of sbnation.com, accepted that challenge. How successful he was is up for debate, and that’s through no fault of his own. This game is about as even as any on the slate. It basically comes down to which team can put the other in uneasy situations: 3rd-and-long, field position, etc.
5. Texas A&M a 6.5-point favorite: Sure, the Aggies are playing in the friendly confines of Kyle Field, but to make them a 6.5-point favorite is puzzling for some. For others, such as Tom Fornelli of cbssports.com, it’s justified. He’s picking the Aggies to win, 27-20, because the Vols have averaged only 3.6 yards per rush in their two SEC games and have given up 10 sacks in five games. That leaves the writer to believe that Texas A&M gets the advantage with the defensive line of Garrett, Daeshon Hall and Daylon Mack having its way. That and the fact that Texas A&M is 4-1 against the spread this season, including 2-0 at home.