Point/Counterpoint: Who will win Saturday’s game between Alabama and Texas A&M?
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 23:09
Spencer Mayfield: The defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide will defeat Texas A&M in the highly anticipated matchup this Saturday. Alabama returns an experienced team led by two-time champion quarterback A.J McCarron. Playing in big games is nothing new to this squad. Coach Nick Saban is one of the best coaches in college football when it comes to preparation and Alabama has been thinking about this rematch all offseason. The Alabama defense will contain Johnny Manziel by forcing him to make tough throws instead of making plays with his legs.
Spencer Oakes: The Aggies of Texas A&M will, for the second straight year, come out victorious against Alabama. Great players elevate their level of play in big games, and there is no greater player in college football than Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Also, one of the most overlooked parts of this Texas A&M team is their stud receivers. Freshman Mike Evans already leads the team in receiving. Evans and the rest will prove too much for the Alabama secondary to handle. In the end though, it will be the Heisman Trophy winner Manziel that will once again prove to be too much for Alabama too handle.
Mayfield: Although Texas A&M has size at receiver; the Alabama secondary is coming off a dominating performance against Virginia Tech. The Alabama secondary will build on the momentum from holding Virginia Tech to only 5 of 26 passing for just 59 yards with an interception. The Alabama secondary has the talent to matchup with Texas A&M’s spread formations. Also expect a big game from sophomore running back T.J Yeldon as Alabama looks to control the ball.
Oakes: Alabama has one of the best secondaries in the nation year in and year out, but that didn’t seem to affect Johnny Manziel last season. Manziel seemed to make a perfect throw on every important play in last season’s matchup, and after working all offseason with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. he has only gotten better as a passer. As for containing Yeldon, the Texas A&M defense will have their hands full but they may be better off stopping McCarron’s passing attack first then worrying about Yeldon later.
Mayfield: Granted Johnny Manziel has improved as a passer, he still will have to face a well-coached Nick Saban defense. In last year’s matchup, Alabama limited Manziel to only one touchdown in the second half after making adjustments to slow the quarterback down. Saban has now had a full year to game plan a way to contain Manziel. I expect Alabama to redeem themselves of their only blemish last season, as Manziel no longer has the element of surprise.
Oakes: If anyone can come up with a game plan to stop Manziel it’s Nick Saban, but on the topic of coaches, Kevin Sumlin is not much lower on the list. Sumlin is one of the most highly sought after coaches by NFL teams. Sumlin built Texas A&M into a national championship contender in a very short time, which was much more difficult of a job than Nick Saban had when he took over Alabama. Some believed the Aggies would have a hard transition into the SEC last year but with the help of Sumlin and his star quarterback Manziel, they made it seem like a simple task.
Mayfield: Kevin Sumlin is definitely one of the premier coaches in college football, but he will have his hands full trying to come up with creative ways to fool the very disciplined Alabama defense. Alabama’s experience from playing in highly anticipated SEC matchups will prove to be an advantage for them over Texas A&M. Alabama will use the strength of their running game to control the ball and take the crowd out of the game early on their way to victory.
Oakes: Alabama definitely has the “been there before” attribute but some would say there is no tougher place to play than College Station, Texas. After all, they don’t nickname a student section “The 12th Man” for nothing. This crowd will definitely be a factor Saturday. But when all is said and done, it’ll be a battle of star power, and college football simply has never seen a player more capable of taking the country by storm the way Johnny Manziel has. Manziel lives for any attention he can get, and all eyes will be on him Saturday afternoon. I fully expect Johnny Football to seize the moment and keep his national championship dream alive.