The Alabama Crimson Tide and Texas A&M Aggies are facing off for the second time in 10 months on Sept. 14. Before the Tide and Aggies’ first meeting in Nov. 2012, pairing them together didn’t seem to be anything special, at least for reasons other than Bear Bryant’s connections to both schools. Now Alabama and Texas A&M are being built up as arch rivals, as their second meeting together is expected to change the BCS picture -- even if the first meeting didn’t.
The original showdown was Johnny Manziel’s coming out party -- which means that technically, all the madness, scandals and aggravation Manziel has caused ever since can be laid on the Tide’s feet. If they had shut Manziel down in Tuscaloosa last November, the legend of Johnny Football and the backlash it caused would never have come to pass. Instead, he tore the Tide apart and hasn’t looked back, even if many onlookers wished he would have.
Yet for all the impact last year’s game had on Manziel and Texas A&M, it technically changed nothing for Alabama. The Tide did appear to be finished in the BCS race when they lost to the Aggies, with only a month left to make up for the loss. But everything broke their way after that, as the Tide rolled back into the top two and then cruised to a second straight national title anyway.
If the Tide lose again to the Aggies, there would be even more time to come back and roll towards a third straight championship. However, Alabama would need Texas A&M to lose twice in the meantime, and that may be a tall order.
If Manziel can beat the Tide again, after everything he’s been through and after public opinion turned against him -- to the point where die hard Tide hater Charles Barkley may cheer for Alabama today -- then it’s hard to imagine anything else getting in his way. If that’s the case, then it’d be hard to imagine anything else getting in Texas A&M’s way for an SEC and BCS title run.
But last year’s Tide-Aggies showdown ultimately did nothing to keep Alabama from the championship, just as it didn’t help Texas A&M get any higher than the Cotton Bowl. Will this rematch of the two newest arch rivals in college football do anything different?