Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Five storylines: Texas A&M vs. Missouri
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M approaches its regular season finale, hosting fellow Southeastern Conference newbie Missouri. These teams are familiar with each other since both were in the Big 12 and they've met each of the last two seasons. Here are storylines to keep an eye on for the Aggies:
1. A 10-win season
Regardless of the result, the Aggies' season will be considered an impressive one because of what they have already accomplished. But hitting the 10-win mark will be significant for these Aggies because it would be the first time since 1998 that a Texas A&M football team has accomplished that feat. And you would have been hard-pressed to find someone outside Aggieland that would have predicted a 10-win season for the team in its first season in the SEC.
Missouri has visited Kyle Field each of the last two seasons and both times, the Tigers left with a win. Last season the Tigers did it in dramatic fashion, pulling out a 38-31 overtime win, coming back from an 11-point halftime deficit. That fact isn't lost on this Aggies team, particularly the upperclassmen who have been around for both losses. They want to right that wrong on Saturday.
3. Senior sendoff
It's the final home game of the season, which means it's senior night. There are 16 Texas A&M seniors who will be playing their final home game. Guys like linebackers Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart, center Patrick Lewis and receiver Ryan Swope will try to finish things off "the right way" as Stewart said on Tuesday. The senior group is 31-19 overall going into the Missouri game, went perfect on the road for the first time since 1992 and helped the program achieve its highest BCS ranking since 1998.
This will be redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel's final chance to make an on-field impression for Heisman Trophy voters. The Aggies don't play the weekend of Dec. 1 (barring an Auburn upset of Alabama) while others do so whatever is left to state his case will have to be done on Saturday. If Manziel performs well and leads the Aggies to a win, you have to like his chances. If the opposite happens, it would hurt his candidacy.
5. Bowl possibilities
The Aggies are going bowling, it's just a matter of determining where. A win would keep them in the conversation for a BCS bowl bid, a loss would almost certainly take them out of that discussion. Regardless, they'll go to a quality bowl game.