Tuck: Texas A&M’s One-Man Wrecking Crew

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

Texas A&M was famous for it’s hard-hitting, ferocious defenses of the 1980’s and 1990’s.  They called them the Wrecking Crew.  If Johnny Manziel wasn’t already Johnny Football, then I think calling him the One-Man Wrecking Crew would be both convenient and clever.  He certainly has wrecked both Alabama and, perhaps, the SEC in both his and the Aggies first season in the conference.

It has been an uphill battle to challenge either Nick Saban’s Tide or the SEC’s worthiness in any kind of football argument.  Pointing out schedule strengths, lack of offense, and lack of quarterback play fell on deaf ears as they kept winning and winning.  Sure, they’ve certainly been worthy of praise, but it has been a bit over the top at times.  Johnny Football may quieted some critics as it concerns football outside the SEC’s mighty walls.

Even CBS’s Gary Danielson, in a moment of unintentional honesty, said something that thousands have suggested about the SEC’s stranglehold: “You better have a quarterback if you are going to beat these defenses.”

That is what would have been so appealing about Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma State last year.  Or Andrew Luck if we had a playoff.  The idea that you couldn’t penetrate these defenses was fueled, and rightfully so, by some impressive conquests of Florida over Troy Smith and Sam Bradford, amongst others. Finally though, Johnny Football came through.  Texas A&M came through.

Yes, the Aggies are a SEC team now.  But let’s face it, I’ve heard numerous people still reference them as a Big 12 team trying to making it with the big boys of the South Eastern Conference.  I think they are going to be okay.  You may have noticed that defense played pretty well against the Tide, and they have all year long.

Yes, spread offenses and speed will work.  This isn’t a news flash.  Easy to forget people said the same thing about Urban Meyer when he came to the SEC with his “gimmicky” offense.  Cam Newton and Auburn won with offense too.

This is just a story because Manziel and the Aggies may have wrecked the SEC’s reign on BCS titles.  It’s also a reminder good football is played elsewhere, and that one player, one very special player, can change everything.

Texas A&M replaced a first round pick (Ryan Tannehill) with a better player.  Johnny Football will give them a chance to win every game he plays in.  I’ve been talking him up all year, and now, with this signature win, he’ll get his Heisman mentions.  He can’t speak to the media as a freshman per A&M rules.  He might become the first Heisman winner that can’t deliver a speech or do an interview.  And he deserves it if he gets it.  The same way Marshall Faulk did.  And Mike Vick.  And Adrian Peterson.  He truly is a one-man wrecking crew.

Oh, and the SEC isn’t worse for this.  They still are the best conference (at least the top) in the land.  And they got better with Texas A&M.

Unbeaten count: 4.  Of course Alabama, but also Louisville exited.

Winless count: 1.  Yes, UMass earned it’s first win as a I-A school besting Akron.  Southern Miss, we’re looking at you now.

My Top 25

1. Kansas State
2. Notre Dame
3. Oregon
4. Ohio State
5. Alabama
6. FSU
7. Georgia
8. Florida
9. Clemson
10. LSU
11. Stanford
12. Oregon State
13. Oklahoma
14. Texas A&M
15. UCLA
16. South Carolina
17. Nebraska
18. Texas
19. Louisiana Tech
20. Louisville
21. Arizona
22. Oklahoma State
23. Wisconsin
24. Texas Tech
25. Kent State

+

Worth Noting:

– Florida, you have a really good football team.  You just refuse to look good all the time.  The Gators still beat LSU, South Carolina, and Texas A&M.  That is more than what anyone else has done in the SEC.  Unfortunately, they lost to Georgia (check out their schedule, yuck) and the Tide have still done more than the Dawgs.

– Miami lost, as I expected, but have no fear, they did NOT need to beat Virginia to advance to the ACC Title Game.  Simply beating Duke in Durham in two weeks will get them back to North Carolina (Charlotte) for their first championship game (if they elect to go).  They did lose to the Cavs without arguably their three best defensive players (Perryman, Johnson, and Bush).

– Crying no tears of sympathy for Miami would be Oregon.  The Ducks started their game against Cal without 4 of their top 5 defensive linemen.  They lost the 5th in the first half!  They had to remove a redshirt from a freshman and convert a tight end to defense.  They all had QB Marcus Mariota and RB Kenjon Barner hurt too, although they returned.  Stanford is looming like a tall order this week.

– Mariota, by the way, only leads the nation in QB efficiency…as a freshman.  All this talk about Johnny Football has overshadowed the equally effective Ducks quarterback.  They also broke the NCAA record with their 13th straight game scoring at least 40 points.

– If you are wondering, I think Oregon (my preseason pick) is the best team in the country, but they don’t deserve to be ranked 1 or 2 yet.  If they keep winning, I will probably have them #1.

– Congrats to Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey who ran 25 times for 366 yards and 5 touchdowns.  The 366 is a new Pac-12 record, breaking a mark that stood for almost 3 decades.

– Colby Cameron wins the “last to throw an interception contest” this season.  The La. Tech signal caller has 27 TD’s and zero picks this year.  AJ McCarron threw two INT’s in the loss to the Aggies.

– The final ever WAC title should be decided this week as Utah State travels to La. Tech.

– The Vols fired Derek Dooley.  Had to be done.  They were 1-13 in their last 14 SEC games.  Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss all have been better.  ‘Nough said.

– Vanderbilt is going bowling in back-2-back seasons for the first time ever!

– Very, very cool of Mack Brown and the Longhorns to line up in the wishbone on the first play of the game to honor the late, great Darrell Royal.

 

STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE

1. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State

2. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

3. RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

4. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

5. LB Manti T’eo, Notre Dame

Of note or worth bringing up: WR Marqise Lee, USC, QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State, LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia, DE Jadaveon Clowny, South Carolina

 

 

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