Texas A&M Aggies: Oregon Ducks


The new College Football Playoff is supposed to encourage schools to schedule better nonconference games, as teams try to beef up their schedule strength to earn one of the playoff’s coveted four spots at season’s end.

On Thursday, Texas A&M and UCLA announced that they’ll play each other during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Other schools have announced future marquee nonconference opponents, including Texas A&M vs. USC, Notre Dame vs. Texas, Alabama vs. Michigan State and LSU vs. Oklahoma.

Here are five other nonconference games I’d like to see in the future:

[+] EnlargeNick Saban, Urban Meyer
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesUrban Meyer and Nick Saban have faced off for SEC titles, but their current teams, Ohio State and Alabama, have played only three times in history.
1. Alabama vs. Ohio State: Alabama’s Nick Saban and OSU’s Urban Meyer dominated the SEC when Meyer was coaching at Florida, combining to win five BCS national championships from 2006 to 2012.

When Meyer was still coaching at Florida, the Crimson Tide and Gators played in two of the most anticipated SEC championship games. The No. 2 Gators beat the No. 1 Tide 31-20 in 2008, and then the Tide turned the tables on No. 1 UF with a 32-13 win in 2009.

Alabama and Ohio State have played only three times in history, with the Tide winning each time, most recently in a 24-17 victory in the 1995 Citrus Bowl.

2. Texas vs. Texas A&M: Perhaps the biggest casualty in conference realignment, Texas and Texas A&M haven’t played each other since the Aggies bolted the Big 12 for the SEC after the 2011 season. Sadly, there are no plans for the in-state rivals to play again in future regular seasons.

The Aggies and Longhorns played each other 118 times from 1894 to 2011, with their annual meeting traditionally being played on Thanksgiving Day. UT won nearly twice as many games as the Aggies (76-37-5), including nine of the last 12 meetings.

With former Louisville coach Charlie Strong taking over at Texas, and Kevin Sumlin building the Aggies into an SEC powerhouse, the game would also pit two of the sport’s best African-American coaches against each other.

3. Oregon vs. Baylor: Two of the game’s most explosive offenses -- and two of its best-dressed teams -- would undoubtedly light up the scoreboard if they ever played. In fact, the contest would probably look more like a track meet.

Under coach Art Briles, the Bears have become the Ducks of the Southwest, with their hurry-up, spread offense and myriad flashy uniforms closely resembling what Chip Kelly and then Mark Helfrich built at Oregon. The Bears and Ducks follow the same blueprint on offense: play fast and score fast.

We hoped to see this matchup in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last season, but alas, it didn’t happen. Oregon and Baylor have never met on the gridiron.

4. Michigan vs. USC: Two of the sport’s traditional heavyweights have faced each other eight times in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio, but only twice during the regular season -- in 1957 and 1958.

The Trojans won the last three meetings in the Rose Bowl, 32-18 in 2007, 28-14 in 2004 and 17-10 in 1990. USC has won six of the past seven meetings overall and holds a 6-4 advantage all-time.

We might have seen this matchup during the regular season if a Big Ten/Pac-12 scheduling partnership hadn’t fallen apart in 2012.

5. Georgia vs. Florida State: UGA coach Mark Richt was a longtime assistant under legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden before taking over the Bulldogs, and he recently poached defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt off the Seminoles’ staff.

The Bulldogs and Seminoles go head-to-head for a lot of recruits every year, and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher upgraded his roster by effectively recruiting South Georgia and Atlanta.

The Bulldogs and Seminoles have played 11 times and only once since 1984 -- UGA defeated FSU 26-13 in the 2003 Sugar Bowl. Georgia leads the all-time series, 6-4-1.

ESPN Junior 300 DT Mack names top 4 

October, 6, 2013
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ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) has a new top four.

USC commit, ESPN 300 DE talks Aggies 

January, 17, 2013
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Houston Alief Taylor defensive end and USC commitment Torrodney Prevot had an in-home visitor from his home state Wednesday night.

The ESPN 300 prospect, who has been committed to USC since July, is still being courted by other schools.


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Five from Friday: Mike Mitchell shines 

November, 18, 2012
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Each week, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you five things he learned from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

1. It's easy to see why Plano (Texas) Prestonwood linebacker Mike Mitchell is such a coveted prospect. The ESPN 150 outside linebacker, who has a final four of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, is skilled, athletic and seems to be around the ball constantly. The Lions' opponent on Friday, Tomball (Texas) Concordia Lutheran, ran a triple-option offense that was well executed and hard to defend because of that. As Mitchell got in a groove he made an impact, recording 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He's also quick and athletic enough that the Lions used him as a kickoff return man and he even lined up on offense a couple of times. He limped off the field late in the fourth quarter and left the game the stadium with his leg wrapped in ice after suffering an injury that he played most of the night through, but the nation's 10th-ranked outside linebacker appears to have plenty of tools. According to his father Ken Mitchell, the injury could keep the linebacker out for Prestonwood's next playoff game.

[+] EnlargeMike Mitchell
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell has narrowed down his list to four schools and will take visits after the season.
2. Prestonwood has plenty of other worthy prospects. Obviously Christian Morgan, the three-star tight end prospect, is one of them. The Mississippi commitment is big, athletic and relentless when chasing the quarterback (he plays defensive end in addition to tight end for Prestonwood). Also, 2016 prospect Michael Irvin Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, has impressive size for his age (6-2, 190). Look for him to emerge as a prospect on the radar of many colleges in the future. The Lions also have a 2015 prospect in quarterback Mickey Mitchell, who excels on both the gridiron and the basketball court, but he did not play and will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL suffered on Nov. 2.

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Texas A&M has added to its 2013 class.

The Aggies received a commitment from City College of San Francisco offensive tackle Jeremiah Stuckey, who made an official visit for the Sam Houston State game. Stuckey, who is 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, will be a mid-year transfer as a full-qualifier, joining the Aggies in time for the spring semester. Stuckey, who confirmed the news via text message to GigEmNation, will have four years to play three.

The 18-year-old Stuckey had offers from Mississippi, Nevada and Oregon in addition to Texas A&M and was recruited by Aggies linebacker coach Matt Wallerstedt. Playing offensive tackle in a spread offense for City College of San Francisco, he appears to be a good fit for the Aggies and can help with depth at the tackle position should one or both current junior tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, decide to declare for the NFL draft.

Stuckey played his high school ball at Pacifica (Calif.) Terra Nova. He and his City College of San Francisco teammates are 9-1 and will play American River College in the Northern California Football Association championship game on Saturday.

Stuckey is the 31st commitment for Texas A&M in the 2013 class.
SEC blogger Edward Aschoff and Pac-12 blogger Kevin Gemmell take a look at the hottest young quarterbacks in the country right now, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

Who would you rather build your team around if you were choosing between the two? Aschoff and Gemmell take on that very question in this week's Hot Button.

Read the full analysis here.
ROSENBERG, Texas -- ESPN 150 tight end Derrick Griffin wasn't too busy on Thursday night as he and his Rosenberg (Texas) Terry teammates cruised to a 30-0 win over Bay City (Texas) High School. Griffin, who caught three passes, made them count, as two of them were for touchdowns.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Griffin
Sam Khan Jr./ESPN.comTexas A&M commit Derrick Griffin, the top 2013 TE prospect, said he's still looking at other schools.
Lining up at receiver for the Rangers, Griffin works hard to stay focused and stay involved for his team, which operates in a run-heavy offense and was playing its third-string quarterback Thursday because of injuries to the first two sustained early in the season.

But when his time comes, Griffin is ready to deliver.

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WR Jeremy Tabuyo commits to A&M

July, 24, 2012
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Jeremy TabuyoTom HauckSt. Louis (Honolulu) wide receiver Jeremy Tabuyo also had scholarship offers from Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, Hawaii and was heavily courted by a number of Pac 12 programs before committing to A&M Tuesday evening.

During SEC media days, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin spoke of the Aggies expanding their recruiting nationally.

On Tuesday, they stretched that footprint out about as far west as possible, reaching into Hawaii to score their latest commitment.

The Aggies got a commitment from Honolulu/St. Louis receiver Jeremy Tabuyo on Tuesday, their second commitment in as many days.

"I'm very excited," Tabuyo said. "It's a relief. Now I can just focus on my senior season and not worry about what school I want to go to."

Tabuyo, who is 5-foot-11, 182 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. That speed will fit the Aggies' new Air Raid offense, which is designed to get the ball to receivers quickly to let them make plays. Tabuyo said the offense that coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury orchestrated at Houston had an impact on his decision.

"It caught my eye to see that they've had three receivers have 1,000-yard seasons (in one year)," said Tabuyo, who was recruited by receivers coach David Beaty. "It played a huge role."

Tabuyo had offers from Utah, Hawaii, Kansas and Wyoming. He was receiving interest from Oregon and Oregon State as well and had attended camps at each of those two campuses.

Even if those schools came calling with offers, Tabuyo said he's firm to the Aggies.

"It wouldn't effect my decision," Tabuyo said. "I made a commitment to the coaches and I'll stay true to the coaches."

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