Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM
Remember when the world revolved around “Johnny Football?” Just a few weeks ago he was the new Tim Tebow. Everybody wanted to talk about him. You couldn’t get away from sports broadcasts blabbering about his every move on or off the field. But, since his Texas A&M Aggies lost to Alabama, the team and their start quarterback have completely dropped off the radar.
*Everyone assumes A&M is out of the SEC West race…even though there’s plenty of time for that to get interesting. The national championship race? No chance according to the media.
*Everyone’s talking about other quarterbacks (mostly Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston) as Heisman Trophy favorites rather than the guy who actually WON IT last year and didn’t get any worse.
Manziel isn’t the flavor of the month…or the flavor of the season any more. Sportswriters have spit him out. ESPN is building other heroes because they’re afraid “Johnny Football” is going to embarrass their hype machine with another gaffe.
Sports handicappers and sports bettors? We don’t have to worry about that stuff. TV can brand whoever they want to brand. We need to pick winners. Is Texas A&M still capable of covering pointspreads? They covered that Alabama loss, and are 60% this season even against very challenging numbers. Heck, one of the two non-covers was the game where Manziel was suspended for the first half. Let’s see if we can find out who’s going to beat the number Saturday Night when Texas A&M is back in a rare national TV showcase on the road against Ole Miss.
Texas A&M (-28) beat Rice 52-31 (losing yardage 509-486)
Texas A&M (-35) beat Sam Houston State 65-28 (winning yardage 714-390)
Texas A&M (+9) lost to Alabama 49-42 (winning yardage 628-568)
Texas A&M (-28) beat SMU 42-13 (winning yardage 581-434)
Texas A&M (-14) won at Arkansas 45-33 (winning yardage 523-483)
The offense is still getting the job done. You can throw out Sam Houston because that’s not a real game. You still see 52, 42, 42, and 45 points on the board for the Aggies, with more than 500 total yards each time out. This is still a very potent offense, led by a quarterback who can make big plays from the pocket…and then make even BIGGER plays after he’s freelancing out of the pocket. The lines are getting steep though. They barely got there vs. SMU, and had too high a hill to climb at Arkansas.
Ole Miss (-3.5) won at Vanderbilt 39-35 (winning yardage 489-426)
Ole Miss (-30) beat SE Missouri 31-13 (winning yardage 532-252)
Ole Miss (+20 won at Texas 44-23 (winning yardage 449-320)
Ole Miss (+15) lost at Alabama 25-0 (losing yardage 434-205)
Ole Miss (-3) lost at Auburn 30-22 (winning yardage 464-375)
Sorry Ole Miss…we’ve barely talked about YOU yet. That’s probably how the Rebels like it. They’re much more dangerous when people aren’t giving them enough respect. Several media pundits talked about what a great chance they had to stay close to Alabama. The offense was helpless all night in a 25-0 squash. Then, last week was the great “bounce back” opportunity where the Rebels would express their shutout frustration against an undermanned opponent. That undermanned opponent beat them outright.
Interestingly, this is only their second home game of the season. At least the team is used to being battle tested. They sure won’t have any fear of Texas A&M. Do they have a defense that can slow him down? We’re talking about a unit that fell apart in the second half at Vanderbilt…that disappeared late vs. Alabama…and that couldn’t keep Auburn out of the end zone. When your highlights are beating SE Missouri and shutting down the backup QB of Texas…that’s not a very good sign.
The numbers above suggest both defenses could be in trouble. The Aggies have struggled all year on that side of the ball. Ole Miss has faded vs. offenses that aren’t nearly as good as what the Aggies bring to the field. That’s why you see such a high Las Vegas Over/Under in this game.
Current Vegas Line: Texas A&M by 6, total of 75
We know we’re going to have a shootout unless weather becomes an issue. Will a rabid home crowd mugging for the TV cameras help push Ole Miss over the top? Or, will the game style play right into the hands of the Aggies…who are used to marathon back-and-forth type games under this head coach?
JIM HURLEY believes that INFORMATION is the most important factor in this game. If the Aggies are still on the same page as a team…then they can win this one by double digits as the Rebels wear down. But, if the team has broken into factions that don’t have each other’s backs…then an outright upset is more than possible. Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze badly needs a statement in front of his home fans.
To see if Texas A&M/Ole Miss made the cut as a major release or a key component of our weekly TV Triple Crown, check out Saturday’s slate. It will be available for credit card purchase in the morning before the early games kick off. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget to ask about adding the exciting baseball playoffs to any football package.
It’s back to the NFL tomorrow in the NOTEBOOK. We’ll preview Sunday Night’s Washington/Dallas game on NBC, then return the next day for Indianapolis/San Diego on Monday Night Football.
Johnny Manziel may be “Johnny Football.” In sports betting circles, the real MR. FOOTBALL has always been JIM HURLEY!