No. 23 Florida Gators (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday September 8th, 2012. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Kyle Field College Station, T.X.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Fla/A&M -1
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The Texas A&M Aggies were supposed to kick off the 2012 season last week on the road at Louisiana Tech. However, Mother Nature had different plans as Hurricane Isaac moved through the area causing the game to be postponed until October 13th. Instead, the Aggies will now get their first taste of action this Saturday by hosting the no. 23 Florida Gators in Texas A&M’s first SEC conference match-up. New head coach Kevin Sumlin has the lofty task of getting a rather vulnerable Aggies’ team ready for life in the SEC. Still, the folks in College Station believe that they will be able to compete right away. The Aggies will get their opportunity to prove so when a historical SEC tyrant comes rolling into town by way of the Florida Gators.
One thing that is certain for the Aggies is that they will look like a completely different team when they come onto Kyle Field this Saturday night. Whether or not that change spells success, has yet to be determined. Sumlin will implement his version of the spread offense that led the nation in Houston in 2011 and the defense will switch to a more conventional 4-3 scheme up front. Surely the changes will reap benefits but one of the major questions surrounds the immediate future. That question is simple. Does Sumlin have the players to make his new offense effective immediately?
Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel will get the nod behind center but he has absolute zero playing experience thus far in his young career. Luckily the offense has a few playmakers to help Manziel settle into his new role. WR Ryan Swope, a preseason All-SEC player, has posted more than 2,000 yards receiving with 15 touchdowns for the Aggies over the last two seasons. Surely, Swope will be the go to receiver in Sumlin’s new offense and I am sure he will get more opportunities to catch the football in 2012. Additionally, running back Christine Michael will get his first opportunity as the primary back in the rushing game. Michael played a backup role to Cyrus Gray last year but still managed to rack up 899 yards in that backup role. This year Michael will not only get to carry the work load but will get that opportunity behind a pretty solid offensive line.
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On defense the Aggies will return a significant amount of talent. The Aggies defense led the nation with 51 sacks in 2011 despite sporting a rather horrendous pass defense. Texas A&M will return value players in each level of the defense such as Damontre Moore, Sean Porter, and Steven Campbell. With the help of a new defensive system, the defense should be improved overall in the secondary and will still be able to get after opposing quarterbacks extremely well.
On the other side of the field, the Florida Gators will be trying to spoil the Aggies’ opening party in College Station. However, the Gators were one of those ranked teams that struggled significantly last week to a rather weak opponent. Florida found their selves in a 3 point ball game in the 4th quarter against Bowling Green before pulling away to a 27-14 victory. Still, the win was not much of a confident boost considering the Gators passed for a total of 145 yards on the afternoon. QB Jeff Driskel was not necessarily “bad” but missed some opportunities. Outside of a strong performance by running back Mike Gillislee, (24 carries, 148 yards, 2 TDs) the offense was rather vanilla. The Gators have been a running football team over the last several seasons due to their inability to move the football in the air consistently. Florida will face a tough challenge moving the football against a talented Aggies defensive front meaning they will need Driskel to have a better showing.
Florida’s defense and overall talent should give them the upper edge. Still, Florida cannot afford any slow starts on the road again this Saturday in a hostile environment that will be amped for their first SEC prime time match-up. Therefore, the start of this game could set the tempo for the all 4 quarters. If the Gators are going to handle business, it is imperative that the offense gets out to a fast start and scores points quickly
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Odds makers were not fooled in this one or at least from my expectation. I really felt like Florida would come out as 4-6 point favorites. Instead, the Aggies are slight 1 point favorites. I really like the upset here and the line confirms my suspicion. Take Texas A&M -1!
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