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Game Preview and Open Thread - Auburn @ Texas A&M

Tigers. Aggies.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, Texas A&M came into the SEC along with Big 12 buddy Missouri to try and take over the conference.

Missouri was the brash, cocky child. I remember distinctly that their wide receiver TJ Moe classified the SEC as “slow” and “antiquated” at SEC Media Days that year. The Tigers promptly had a losing record in their first season in the league.

Texas A&M on the other hand, came in quietly. They lost the opener against Florida, and then rolled through the SEC thanks to a jitterbug quarterback named Johnny Manziel. He beat Alabama, won the Heisman, and set conference records in the Aggies’ first year in the fold.

They also beat the pants off of us.

I don’t remember much about the 2012 game. It was our first time playing the Aggies in roughly 25 years, and they ran us roughshod, pretty much ending the Gene Chizik era.

We got them back the next year with our first big win in some time. Down late in College Station, Nick Marshall and Tre Mason led us on a second-half surge, and that opportunistic defense stopped John Football late to secure the win. Auburn was back.

Oh, but 2014 happened. Ranked 3rd in the land, we got surprised by the Aggies at home and they ended our dreams of joining the playoff party.

2015 looked like it was going to be the year we needed, with Jeremy Johnson and a slew of talent back, but it never panned out. Still, maybe our best win of the season came over Texas A&M at their place in early November. We dominated them with defense and the run game, and it was a surprisingly complete victory late in the season.

And then last year, we came out with a weird gameplan, gave up a couple big plays, and the offense once again struggled to find the end zone. We lost at home, continuing the road success cycle in this series.

Looks like it’s our turn again. Let’s look at the particulars here:

  • Morning kick.
  • On the road.
  • We’re trending up after a big win over a division rival.
  • They’re trending down after a big loss to a division rival.
  • We just had an off week where most of our guys got rested and healthy.
  • They got their pants beaten off a week ago.

Still, Kevin Sumlin might be coaching for his job today. Word is that if he doesn’t beat us, he’s definitely out. Gus Malzahn might be in the same boat. I’ve written here before that I won’t fully support him unless he wins out. It’s a really tall and maybe unfair order, but with the way we lost to Clemson and LSU, reparations need to be made in the form of finally beating our two biggest rivals.

Yeah, we have the top two teams in the country coming up on the schedule, but if we lose to A&M, 7-5 is a real possibility. And that’s an unacceptable record with the talent we’ve got on this team.

So, the road to redemption continues today. To accomplish the goals still on the table, it starts in College Station. Down the Aggies, and we’re at 7-2 after the first weekend in November. That’s pretty solid. Let’s go get it, Tigers. War Eagle.