Texas A&M Football: Biggest Tests For Aggies in 2013
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Expectations are sky-high for Texas A&M football after the team lost just two games last year—the program's first year in the SEC.
Johnny Manziel will attempt to improve upon his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign from a year ago, and this young man is certainly talented enough to make it happen.
Will the Aggies have a better record this year than they did in 2012?
The team's defense is still rock-solid, and head coach Kevin Sumlin has done an excellent job recruiting new talent to compete with the other big programs in the SEC.
The Aggies have a few difficult tests in between an otherwise relatively easy schedule. With excellent execution and a bit of luck, Texas A&M could certainly improve upon last year's stellar record, and a BCS title game berth isn't out of the question.
These teams will provide the stiffest test in 2013.
Alabama: 9/14/13 at Kyle Field
After a couple of cake walks to start the season against Rice and Sam Houston State, Alabama comes to town in Week 3.
Nick Saban's program will be in search of its third straight national championship in 2013, and the head coach has a lot of returning starters on both sides of the ball. The Aggies embarrassed the Crimson Tide last year in their own stadium, and you can be sure this team is out for revenge.
Bama's offense will be explosive with returning quarterback A.J. McCarron behind center and electric running back T.J. Yeldon carrying the load.
C.J. Mosley, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Adrian Hubbard, Ed Stinson and Deion Belue will make life difficult on Manziel and the Texas A&M offense, and execution will be key to victory.
Vanderbilt: 10/26/13 at Kyle Field
Don't fall asleep on the Commodores this year, folks.
Head coach James Franklin has his program headed in the right direction. After winning less than half its games with a record of 6-7 in Franklin's first year, Vandy went 9-4 last season and won the Music City Bowl against North Carolina State.
Wide receivers Jordan Matthews (who could be a first-round pick in 2014) and Chris Boyd will be a huge test for the defensive secondary of Texas A&M, and running back Brian Kimbrow will take over for Zac Stacy at the starting tailback spot.
Vanderbilt's defense held opponents to just 18.7 points per game last year, and returning starters Andre Hal, Kenny Ladler and Chase Garnham will have this unit playing well again in 2013.
LSU: 11/23/13 at Tiger Stadium
The Tigers handed Texas A&M one of its two losses last year, winning a tight contest by a score of 24-19 at Kyle Field thanks to a superb second half on the defensive side of the ball.
Manziel had his worst game of the season against the Tigers, completing just 51.8 percent of his passes while throwing zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
Even though Les Miles lost many key defenders, he always manages to restock his cupboard with top-shelf defensive talent. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and defensive end Danielle Hunter will be tough for the Aggies' offensive line to handle as they attempt to make Manziel's life miserable.
On the other side of the ball, LSU's offense should be improved, as Zach Mettenberger, Odell Beckham Jr., Alfred Blue and La'El Collins all returned for another season.
One thing is certain about this contest: It's going to be brutal.
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