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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M bye week is key to success vs. Alabama

Football
Brian Johnson
Football

It has been an entertaining and eye-opening five weeks of college football. After just over a month of games, only one thing is certain — the SEC is uncertain.

If someone had said that in October Florida would be one of the SEC East’s favorites, Auburn would be 0-2 in SEC play and unranked, and Texas A&M and LSU would be the SEC West leaders, people would have probably laughed. 

But that is where we stand as the midway point of the college football season approaches. 

However, we will have to wait one more week to get to what could be the SEC’s game of the year — Alabama at Texas A&M. 

From Johnny Manziel stunning the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa to the 59-0 implosion last season, Alabama is slowly becoming one of A&M’s bigger rivals in the SEC.  And the tipping point to the rivalry might be coming on Oct. 17 in College Station. 

A&M has an all-important bye week before the showdown with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. It is an extra week for film study, to let injured bodies heal and to allow players to mentally prepare to face the SEC’s biggest superpower. The bye week is made an even bigger deal for one reason — Alabama does not get one before its trip to Aggieland. 

Not only does Alabama not have a bye week before they travel to Aggieland, they have to play Arkansas. In case anyone has forgotten, Arkansas has the biggest and one of the most physical offensive lines in all of football. It is an offensive line that just two weeks ago pushed a solid Aggie defense around for a majority of the game. This week, they get to try and push around big, bad Alabama.

Alabama has one of the best front sevens in the nation. The Razorbacks will not simply push them around, but they will be physical and they will take their toll on Kirby Smart’s defense from a physical standpoint as long as the game stays close enough.

And that is going to be the key to the A&M-Alabama showdown next Saturday afternoon. 

In a way, A&M and Alabama are living out each other’s schedules from last year. In 2014, A&M went into Tuscaloosa with no bye week for eight straight weeks. They played tough, physical games, including Arkansas, before falling to Mississippi State. Then they went to Tuscaloosa, and every Aggie fan knows the painful ending that followed. 

This year, Alabama will enter College Station with, most likely, one loss and will come in after playing two very physical teams — Ole Miss and Arkansas. This is where the bye week is crucial. This is not to say that A&M is going to obliterate Alabama in the fashion they did to the Aggies last year. But A&M getting beat up by Alabama is definitely more of a possible scenario for the Aggies after a week of rest. 

With how the SEC has shaped up this year, this game is A&M’s biggest opportunity yet to declare themselves as a true contender for the conference crown and even a shot at a playoff bid. 

And, with a trip to Oxford for the Ole Miss game looming just seven days after, this is the biggest two week stretch of football in Aggie history. 

Andre Perrard is a sports management senior and sports reporter for The Battalion.

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