The Texas A&M Aggies belong in the SEC. After a slow start and loss to Florida at home, the Aggies turned things up a notch and proved they belong in college football’s best conference. And in doing so, they got a signature win over Alabama (something Georgia, LSU and Notre Dame could not do) and all but secured the Heisman Trophy for Johnny Manziel.
This year, what will this team do for an encore? Riding the wave of momentum that comes with a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma and Johnny Football coming back to try and win another piece of hardware, this year could be just as exciting as last.
But like all teams, this one comes with questions, losses to graduation and the NFL draft. Kevin Sumlin may need to do a more masterful job this year then the one he did last season. And with a SEC West division that might be a little less in the strength department, who knows what can happen for these Aggies.
Here are 10 things you need to know about this team this season.
1. Johnny Manziel will not win two Heisman's in a row. If Tim Tebow cannot win two in a row or Adrian Peterson cannot win the big one, Manziel will not win it this season.
2. The offensive line will really miss Luke Joeckel. While Joeckel was one part of the Aggies offensive line, his presence was surely the biggest and most important. It can be inferred that Joeckel was a big reason Manziel won the Heisman by blocking and protecting his blind side.
3. Jake Matthews is now the biggest part of the offensive line. The son of former NFL All Pro Bruce Matthews and the nephew of Clay Matthews, has a great pedigree in the pros. Will it translate to NFL success? He could conceivably be the best offensive linemen in college this year.
4. Kevin Sumlin will move on. After this season, if the Aggies are successful, Sumlin will be on short lists for head coaching jobs both in college and the NFL. Sumlin could be the “hot” name we all talk about.
5. Everyone has seen him. Now that Manziel has been the poster child of the NCAA season, all teams have seen his talents and this time, they can better preparing for him. It’s like seeing a rookie pitcher for a second time around.
6. How the West was won. LSU will more than likely take a step back. Alabama continue to lose players to the NFL and needs to rebuild its offensive line. Does this mean Texas A&M can step forward? If any team can, they can.
7. A four-headed monster. The Aggies will use a balanced running attack of Ben Malena, Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson. Add Manziel to the mix and the Aggies may have the best running attack in the country.
8. Offense will win out. Texas A&M may be the highest scoring team in the SEC. While this conference is known for its defense and athleticism, this is a team that run a track meet all season long.
9. The Aggies were basically injury-free last season. In order for this team to be as good, the same thing will have to happen in 2013. One can never predict injuries, but let's just say that the Aggies had a pretty blessed run in this regard in 2012.
10. Ryan Swope will be missed. Of all the players this team will miss this season, Swope will be the biggest. And that includes Joeckel. Swope had 72 catches for 913 yards and eight scores to lead the team from the receiver position.