Would Aggies be ranked 6th without Johnny Football?
The Texas A&M Aggies are currently sixth in the preseason coaches poll and even got a first-place vote. C’mon…that first place vote is all about Johnny Manziel. The Aggies certainly don’t have a team that warrants preseason No. 1 consideration without Johnny Football.
I think Aggies would be in the 21-25 range without Manziel. Now granted, I think Texas A&M would have a really good offense even without Manziel because they've got playmakers at running back, wide receiver and once again a very strong offensive line led by left tackle Jake Matthews who might be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, certainly the first offensive lineman off the board.
However on defense, the Aggies lost six starters who combined for 169 starts including linebacker Sean Porter and defensive end Damontre Moore. The defense returns five starters who've combined for 59 starts. So they've got some big question marks on that side of the ball that prevents them from being a preseason top national team in my book. They’ll get a chance to change that opinion starting in two weeks.
Aggies change Fan Day autograph policy
Texas A&M is following in the steps of many other programs who are now limiting what fans can get signed during these fan day events that every school holds. Fans in College Station, Texas will now get an autograph card when they arrived at “Meet the Aggies” and that will be the only thing players can sign.
Another example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The way I see it, if the school licenses it and sells it—helmet, jersey, poster, jock strap, whatever—and a fan wants to buy it and get it signed, then they should be able to. However, I would limit it to one item per person to try to cut down on brokers.
On a side note, I’m all for college football players being able to make money off their autographs. This is America, free enterprise. If your name or likeness is worth something, you should be able to capitalize. Ironically this whole Manziel controversy may be the tipping point that finally brings an end to this antiquated NCAA rule, much like the Alabama-LSU national championship game brought an end to the BCS and brought forth the four-game national playoff that starts next season.
Bama’s running game is scary good
This is what makes Alabama so frightful. If starter T.J. Yeldon goes down, or just needs a rest, they've got six guys who could step right in and would pretty much be starters or battling to be starter at any other Southeastern Conference school.
I'm partial to Derrick Henry. Dude is a beast. Called one of his games on CSS when he was a junior at Yulee (FL) High School and I was down on the field before the game and he scared me. He looked like an NFL linebacker. He broke his fibula in the spring but he's back and I think he could be the No. 2.
Altee Tenpenny is another incoming freshman who could step right in. He was a top five running back recruit in the 2013 Class. Plus there's sophomores Dee Hart (who was a US Army All-American) and Kenyan Drake.
I’m guessing that Atlanta freshman Tyren Jones and In the Huddle 2013 All-CSS Most Valuable Player Alvin Kamara (who just had his injured knee scoped) could be candidates to redshirt. Bama has questions if A.J. McCarron goes down but not if Yeldon gets hurt.
Vols going gray
The Tennessee Volunteers are the latest team to unveil a new gray “alternative” uniform. Personal preference: Not a big fan. Don't understand the sudden fascination with gray uniforms around college football.
However from a professional standpoint, I love it. I can read the numbers. The Vols white numbers on bright orange jerseys and orange numbers on white are so hard for me to see when I'm calling a game, especially a day game. So yeah, I'm all for the gray, think it'll make it easier to call a game.
Hope I make it to Rocky Top to call a game on CSS this season. Always one of my favorite places.
Still waiting to find out Vols #1 QB
No official word out of Knoxville yet on who the Vols quarterback will be but Justin Worley is the only guy with game experience in the four-man race. That's the good news for Worley.
The bad news is that Worley's experience came in the last two years while the Vols went 2-14 in the SEC. He was not recruited by Butch Jones. The other three were, including Nathan Peterman who Jones recruited ironically when he was the head coach at Cincinnati.
That said, Jones is going to go with the guy that gives Tennessee the best chance to win right now. As I've said so many times, I really like freshman Josh Dobbs who earned In The Huddle All-CSS honors playing at AlpharettaHigh School last season. He might not win the battle right now but I like him a lot for the future.
Dogs line depth shortens with loss of Long
Austin Long arrived on Georgia’s campus with so much promise, but now his college career has come to a sad end after being ruled academically ineligible.
He was a five-star prospect coming out of Memphis, but had two back surgeries and his career never seemed to get going. Long was listed as the No. 1 right guard coming out of spring practice, mainly because starter Chris Burnette was out with shoulder surgery. He played in only 15 games and never started, but would have played this season.
Long hadn't practiced at all during the preseason because of this academic issue. Georgia was already preparing to be without him. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Georgia is ridiculously deep on the offensive line. Recently re-instated Kolton Houston could end up sliding into that No. 2 guard spot.