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Alabama Football 2014 Season Preview: Texas A&M Aggies

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More of this, please.
More of this, please.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We've already predicted the season's wins and losses for each SEC school, including Texas A&M. Now we'll work backwards through the 2014 Alabama schedule and preview each SEC game, ending with West Virginia.
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Texas A&M Aggies

What Happened Last Year?

For the second consecutive season, that pesky little Johnny Manziel ran around and heaved up prayers but came up one prayer too few as the Crimson Tide outgunned the Aggies 49-42. Manziel passed 28 for 39 for an unheard of 464 yards with 5 TDs and 2 INTs against the Tide defense. He also rushed 14 times for 98 yards. Mike Evans caught 7 balls for 279 including a 95-yard score in the 4th quarter.

Alabama went down by two touchdowns early in the first quarter but stormed back to take a 35-14 lead on a Vinnie Sunseri 73-yard interception return. But the Aggies would not go gentle into that good night, twice coming within 7 points until Bama recovered an on-side kick with 15 ticks to end the threat.

ALA A&M
1st Downs 31 31
3rd down efficiency
3-6 5-8
4th down efficiency
0-0 0-0
Total Yards 568 628
Passing 334 464
Comp-Att
20-29 28-39
Yards per pass
11.5 11.9
Rushing 234 164
Rushing Attempts
37 32
Yards per rush
6.3 5.1
Penalties 12-104 6-55
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles lost
1 0
Interceptions thrown
0 2
Possession 35:02 24:58

How Does Texas A&M Look In 2014?

Imagine this: You have a college football team in the most competitive league in the nation. You have future number one NFL draft picks at quarterback, wide receiver, and left tackle... and you finish 9-4 (4-4). Now let's tale away those three cornerstones. Where does that leave you?

Offense

With Manziel, Evans, Jake Matthews, plus leading running back Ben Malena moving on, coach Kevin Sumlin will have to find some mighty big plugs for these leaks. The Aggies hope that the return of former 5-star WR Ricky Seals-Jones from a season-ending knee injury will be one plug. He will be joined by another 5-star in Speedy Noil who enrolled in January. Another prize recruit, 5-star Kyle Allen, is battling sophomore Kenny Hill for the quarterbacking duties. However, it is a treacherous path to go down when you are depending on 18-year olds to lead your offense. Fortunately for them, they will have a pair of juniors in Trey Williams (407 yards, 6 TD) and Tra Carson (329 yards, 7 TD) to tote the rock.

[UPDATE:Kenny Hill has been named starting quarterback.]

The offensive line should be a strength for the Aggs. Cedric Ogbuehi (pronounced ah-BOO-hee) hopes to continue the run of All-American offensive tackles in College Station (Matthews, Luke Joeckel) as he takes over at left tackle. Jake's kid brother Mike Matthews is turning into a fine center while guards Germain Ifedi and Jarvis Harrison are returning starers as well.

Defense

The good news for Aggies fans is they return much of their starting defense. The bad news for Aggies fans is they return much of their starting defense. Last season, this unit gave up 32.2 points per game and 36.5 in SEC play. A silver lining for them might be that they are experienced. Sumlin is hoping for senior leadership from cornerback Deshazor Everett, as well as safeties Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven.

Defensive end Gavin Stansbury is back but not much else worth mentioning from the front seven.

In 2012, the Aggies went from a 3-4 defensive alignment to a 4-3 "under" scheme under new defensive coordinator Mark Snyder. Now in his third season at College Station, this may be a make or break year for him. A&M was 110th out of 123 teams in total defense last season giving up 475.8 yards per game.

Both kickers return.

Why Texas A&M Might Win

If JFF and Evans can get their eligibility back, they might have a chance.

But seriously folks... A&M will only have a chance if they can get both the running and passing game going. They will need to mix it up and Sumlin may even have to pull out every crazy trick play ever drawn in the dirt. The defense will have to stuff the run and keep the receivers from getting big plays. No turnovers but at least two takeaways and no mistake in the special teams game. Easy enough, right?

Why Alabama Might Win:

The Crimson Tide will need to stay healthy and focused on the game at hand, not get caught looking ahead to future opponents. Run the ball down their throats and then pop one deep down the sidelines. Score early and score often and make their --- quit.

What I Think Will Happen:

The Aggies will show some fight and spirit early but they don't match up well with Bama on many fronts. Insufficient funds for aTm. Bama rolls 45-6.

Is it too early to lite em up? Yes, but only 'cause the Process© says so, a'ight?

08/30/14 vs. West Virginia TV Atlanta, Georgia ?
09/06/14 vs. Florida Atlantic TV Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
09/13/14 vs. Southern Miss TV Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
09/20/14 vs. Florida * Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
10/04/14 at Ole Miss * Oxford, Mississippi ?
10/11/14 at Arkansas * Fayetteville, Arkansas ?
10/18/14 vs. Texas A&M * Tuscaloosa, Ala. W
10/25/14 at Tennessee * Knoxville, Tenn. W
11/08/14 at LSU * Baton Rouge, Louisiana W
11/15/14 vs. Mississippi State * Tuscaloosa, Ala. W
11/22/14 vs. Western Carolina Tuscaloosa, Ala. W
11/29/14 vs. Auburn * Tuscaloosa, Ala. W