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Will Johnny Manziel lead the Aggies to a SEC West title?
Texas A&M took the SEC by storm last year. The Aggies won 11 games for the first time since 1998, soundly defeated Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and quarterback Johnny Manziel claimed the Heisman Trophy after recording 5,116 yards and 47 total touchdowns. And of course, there was the huge upset win over Alabama in mid-November.
The Aggies have their sights set even higher in 2013, as coach Kevin Sumlin’s team is poised to push for the national championship. With Manziel returning, along with a deep backfield, Texas A&M’s offense should once again be one of the best in the SEC. The defense has to get better against the run, but the secondary is expected to take a step forward in 2013, especially with De’Vante Harris and Deshazor Everett back to anchor the corner spots.
Texas A&M isn’t without question marks, as the front seven on defense is an issue, and the coaching staff needs to find a few weapons at receiver for Manziel.
What will Texas A&M's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates:
Texas A&M's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
|9/7 Sam Houston State|
|9/28 at Arkansas|
|10/12 at Ole Miss|
|11/9 Mississippi State|
|11/23 at LSU|
|11/30 at Missouri|
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Texas A&M may find its second year in the SEC a little tougher than its debut. However, make no mistake, the Aggies are still one of the nation’s top-10 teams and a threat to play for the national championship. Even though tackle Luke Joeckel and starting center Patrick Lewis must be replaced, Texas A&M’s offensive line remains one of the best in the nation. And while quarterback Johnny Manziel may not match last year’s production, the sophomore is still in for a big year. The biggest question mark for the Aggies is the defense. Texas A&M returns five starters on that side of the ball, and replacements must be found for defensive end Damontre Moore and two starting linebackers. The secondary should take a step forward in 2013, but getting after the quarterback and stopping the run will be a concern. Even though the Aggies won in Tuscaloosa last year, I think the Crimson Tide get revenge on Sept. 14. I have Texas A&M losing to LSU on Nov. 23, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ole Miss knock off the Aggies on Oct. 12. Even with a few personnel voids to fill (and potentially two losses in SEC play), Texas A&M should be in the mix for a BCS bowl in 2013.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
As far as SEC schedules go, Texas A&M's 2013 slate isn't nearly as daunting as one would think for an SEC West team. The non-conference slate is a joke and crossover play with the East won't feature any of the big three (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina). Road trips to LSU and Ole Miss will be tricky but the Aggies could be favored in both games. Johnny Manziel has had an eventful offseason but when he is on the field, he has ice in his veins. This team is talented enough to win in Baton Rouge and Oxford but isn't deep enough to win the division. Yet.
Josh Ward, (@Josh_Ward), Mr. SEC
Texas A&M’s week three matchup against Alabama should probably be listed in bold. That game has led every list of must-see games in the 2013 season. I have Alabama winning the rematch of last year’s classic in Tuscaloosa. Don’t be surprised to see the Aggies and Crimson Tide put plenty of points on the board. Texas A&M should still be in fine shape even if it loses to Alabama. Texas A&M will have to be ready when it travels to Ole Miss, a team that was close to beating the Aggies last year. Texas A&M’s next true test will be on the road against LSU, which I have beating Texas A&M. That leaves the Aggies with a solid 10-2 record, although losses to Alabama and LSU would likely keep Texas A&M out of the SEC Championship Game.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Texas A&M is far better than I would have predicted for its first two years in the SEC. This was a program that barely kept its head above water in the Big 12, and now the Aggies are flourishing as an SEC team. That said, I wonder if Texas A&M seduced us with the late season win over Alabama and a bowl rout of Oklahoma. The Aggies are still going to be very good, but a repeat win over Alabama is tough to pick. Remember, last year Alabama faced Texas A&M after an emotional 21-17 win at LSU. The Tide get A&M after an off week this season, and Nick Saban’s Alabama teams rarely lose to the same team twice in a row. Chances are, Alabama’s more prepared and motivated for that game than any other on the schedule. I picked LSU to defeat Texas A&M, too. The Tigers are rebuilding on defense, but I like LSU to be ready to take on A&M by the end of the year. Overall, I’m a skeptic of Texas A&M. There may be one more loss in there, but it’s tough to pick Auburn, Mississippi State or Vanderbilt to win in College Station.
SEC Logo (@SEC_Logo)
Raise your hand if you had ever heard of Johnny Manziel when Texas A&M joined the SEC last summer. Keep it up if you predicted he would win the Heisman... That's what I thought. 5,116 total yards in his first season later, and here we are. Texas A&M will legitimately compete for the SEC West Title this season, and it starts Sept 14th. You may have heard about a certain team form Alabama making their first trip as SEC foes to College Station, TX. It's the most anticipated game of 2013, and still I have my doubts. It's surprising to think a 10-2 season would be disappointing, but with Manziel an that offense, it would be. What role will the loss of 2 stud linemen to the NFL and Kliff Kingbury do for the Aggies? What about going into Death Valley vs LSU, most likely in a night game? Name to remember: Ricky Seals-Jones, WR
Texas A&M gets Alabama at home, but you know the Crimson Tide, especially the defense, have had this one circled on their calendars for quite some time. If Johnny Manziel befuddles Nick Saban's team a second time, he may win another Heisman by default. Another SEC West foe that's probably licking its chops is LSU, as Manziel and company will more than likely get a taste of the Saturday night experience that is Death Valley. Even if it's not a night game, Tiger Stadium will be a tough test for the Aggies. Even with these two losses, another 10-win regular season for Kevin Sumlin's team is quite remarkable, especially considering some of the key personnel, such as Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore to name a few, they lost from last year's squad.
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