Texas A&M Wide Receiver Ryan Swope
The Texas A&M Aggies will be playing the Florida Gators for their first game in the SEC.
Week 2 of the college football season is about to get under way and there are some great games coming up.
The ESPN College GameDay crew will be setting up shop in College Station, TX to be a part of welcoming the Texas A&M Aggies into the SEC. Joining GameDay in saying hello to A&M will be the #24 Florida Gators and fiery head coach Will Muschamp, who knows a thing or two about playing the Aggies.
Due to Hurricane Isaac, the Aggies have not played a game this season, so they will be working out the offseason kinks against a top 25 team.
Florida’s defense returned nine starters this season and naturally was expected to be lights out this year. Last week, however, the defense didn’t seem to have the pop that they were thought to have.
The Gators gave up 22 first downs and 327 yards of total offense to a Bowling Green team that ranks in the bottom third of all FBS teams. Even more frightening to Gator fans is the fact that 226 of those yards came in the air. Bowling Green’swide receiver group was decimated by losses in the offseason and Florida brought back all of their starters in the secondary. It goes without saying that Florida will have to improve in the secondary in order to stay competitive.
Texas A&M brings back the dynamic receiving duo of seniors Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu as well as a proven threat at running back in Christine Michael. The Aggies also return their entire starting offensive line. After reading that you may be thinking that Florida should be in full panic mode coming into College Station after a lackluster performance by their secondary last week, but while the Aggies have talent and experience at most offensive positions they lack depth which could become a huge issue in the Texas heat against a fast and aggressive Florida team. Also, did I mention that A&M has redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel playing quarterback?
With a young and unproven QB expect the Aggies to lean on their veteran O-line and running back in an attempt to wear down the Gators D.
Florida was better against the run than they were against the pass last week only giving up 101 yards. Still, that number isn’t as low as it probably should be given the talent that Florida has on defense. If A&M can establish the run that will take pressure off of Manziel and should help to open up the passing game.
While Florida’s defense is a veteran unit that didn’t play as well as it should have in week 1, Texas A&M’s defensive unit is chalked full of unproven players. The defensive ends are both returning starters and so are all three linebackers, but the secondary is filled with players that have had injury and consistency problems throughout their careers. Yet that might not sink them against Florida as the Gators have as many questions on offense as the Aggies do on D.
Last week Florida coach Will Muschamp rotated two sophomores, Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett, at quarterback. Driskel won the starting job for the game against A&M by going 10 of 16 for 114 yards and a touchdown against Bowling Green.
Sophomore running back Mike Gillislee carried the bulk of the load last week for the Gators and racked up 148 yards and two touchdowns thanks in part to Florida’s veteran O-line. Look for Florida to do exactly what Texas A&M needs to do on offense: establish the run early and work the play action pass in order to stretch the field.
This game presents several interesting questions that all college football fans should be giddy to see answered. How will Texas A&M handle playing against the speed and intensity of an SEC team? Can Florida deal with the fanaticism of the 12th man at Kyle Field? Will the Aggie faithful refer to UF as FU and then laugh hysterically? We’ll have to wait until kick off to find out, but it should be fun to watch.
Florida – 27
Texas A&M – 17
Kickoff is set for 2:30 P.M. CST on Saturday, Sept. 8 and you can catch the game on ESPN
Other Games to Watch
#13 Wisconsin at Oregon State
Saturday, Sept. 8 at 3:00 P.M. CST on FX
Wisconsin struggled in week 1 at home against Northern Iowa, escaping with a 26 – 21 victory. Can they make the improvements they need to in order to beat Oregon State on the road and prove that they are a contender?
#7 Georgia at Missouri
Saturday, Sept. 8 at 6:45 P.M. CST on ESPN2
The SEC’s other newcomer, Missouri, is also hosting their first game in their new conference this weekend. This won’t be as close as the Florida and Texas A&M game, but the Tigers could provide more of a challenge to the Bulldogs than Georgia fans might be expecting.
#18 Oklahoma State at Arizona
Saturday, Sept. 8 at 9:30 P.M. CST on the Pac-12 Network
Oklahoma State will play their first real team this weekend when they travel to Arizona to face the Wildcats and new head coach Rich Rodriguez. It won’t be 84 – 0 but it could still get pretty ugly considering Arizona only beat Toledo by 7 points in Tucson last week and gave up 358 yards of offense to the Rockets.