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Posts Tagged ‘Texas A&M’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

    Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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      No. 55: Texas A&M

      Mike Sherman didn’t lose his job by blowing a halftime lead against Oklahoma State. He didn’t lose his job by blowing another sizable halftime advantage a week later, when the Aggies lost to Arkansas in Dallas. It wasn’t Missouri that sealed his fate, even if that loss may have been worse, in a way; the Aggies followed up 17 unanswered points from the Tigers with a field goal to force overtime, only to lose in the first extra frame. Sherman lost his job because of two losses: Oklahoma and Texas. He’s not the first coach at A&M to be dismissed because of losses to the Sooners and Longhorns, mind you, but he will be the last. From here, A&M needs to remake its standards. Since the formation of the Big 12 — since the university first fielded a team, actually — the Aggies weighed success against Texas. Once Oklahoma caught fire under Bob Stoops, the university began judging its program against these two perennial powers. What does A&M use for a barometer now that it’s part of the SEC?

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        SEC Approves 6-1-1 Conference Schedule

        Following a brief, closed-door discussion at the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., SEC athletic directors approved a proposal for running the conference schedule along a 6-1-1 split: six games against divisional opponents, one game against a rotating opponent from the opposite division and one game against a permanent cross-divisional rival.

        The plan will take effect in this coming season, helping the league accommodate the arrival of Missouri and Texas A&M. For the league, unpalatable alternatives included a 5-2-1 split — which would have caused each team to miss one divisional opponent, creating the opportunity for a multiple-team tie — or moving to a nine-game conference schedule; the latter option would have maintained the SEC’s prior practice of having each team play two opponents from the opposite division.

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          The Backfield Depth in College Station

          I can think of several valid reasons why Texas A&M’s running back situation has gone overlooked before, during and after Kevin Sumlin’s first spring with the program. One reason is Sumlin himself, who steps in for Mike Sherman at a crucial juncture in the program’s history; this juncture doubles as the second reason, with A&M mere months away from its SEC debut. Then there are more nuts-and-bolts reasons, such as Ryan Tannehill’s departure and the ensuing quarterback competition and the move from Sherman’s pro-style system to the Air Raid-themed offense favored by Sumlin and new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

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            The SEC Wins Again; the SEC Always Wins

            College football’s version of Catch-22 goes as follows: The SEC wins national championships because the best recruits opt to play in the SEC; the best recruits opt to play in the SEC because not only do they win – earning national attention in the process – but they also play against the best; by playing and succeeding against the best, these players go high in every spring’s N.F.L. draft; and because players from the conference are taken high in every spring’s N.F.L. draft, the best recruits opt to play in the SEC. This will end when another conference offers to prospective recruits just what the SEC can offer, and not just over one season, but over the span of several years.

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              Big 12 Quarterbacks and the N.F.L. Draft

                 Here’s the theory floated by The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre: Pull back the throttle on the Robert Griffin III hype machine, because while he had a superb junior season, his numbers were inflated significantly by the poor brand of pass defense played in the Big 12. The same could be said of former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has rocketed up N.F.L. draft charts, as well as former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, wrote Jason. As evidence, he points to the fact that not one Big 12 team ranked in the top 30 nationally in pass defense.

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                Arkansas Is Still Dangerous to Most of SEC

                They won’t show it, but the rest of the SEC can’t help but be relieved by the prospect of Arkansas failing to reach its lofty expectations in 2012. Ten days ago, the Razorbacks were considered a national title favorite for a reason: the offense was the league’s best, the defense in line for a nice improvement under new coordinator Paul Haynes and, in Bobby Petrino, the program had one of only a handful of coaches in college football capable of striking absolute fear into the competition — outside of Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge, at least. The Razorbacks’ talent level hasn’t changed, but it’s hard to imagine this team making a B.C.S. run without the program’s prime architect in tow.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.