The media believes that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be free to play this season.
Texas A&M fans should feel relieved when glancing at the AP Poll that was released Saturday morning. The Aggies didn't fall off the face of the earth and won't have to dig themselves out of a hole when the season begins.
Instead, Texas A&M starts with solid positioning at No. 7, which is only a one-spot difference from the USA Today coaches poll.
It's always great to begin the season highly ranked because it puts your team in a position to compete for a national championship without having to jump through hoops. Take care of business and a championship bid will be earned.
But this ranking is also a sign that the media thinks Manziel won't be suspended.
Unless you are just waking up for the college football season, you know that Manziel is being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly accepting money for autographs, according to Darren Rovell and Justine Gubar of ESPN.
Obviously, this is a violation of NCAA rules and would likely result in a suspension if the NCAA can prove these allegations took place. What's telling about Texas A&M's position is that voters had to turn in their ballots in the middle of this hoopla, according to Ralph D. Russo of the AP:
@E_ROCK12 Preseason AP Top 25 ballots had to be in by last weekend, so the Manziel/NCAA story was in full bloom when they voted.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) August 15, 2013
If there was ever a time for the media to get cold feet and freak out, that would have been it. The media could have easily assumed Manziel is going to be suspended and dropped Texas A&M drastically in the polls. Heck, Notre Dame fell to No. 14 (Ranked No. 11 in the USA Today coaches poll), which likely has a lot to do with its quarterback situation in losing Everett Golson.
Will Manziel be suspended this season?
However, this wasn't the case with the Aggies, and it should give the fanbase hope that the reigning Heisman winner will remain on the field. Of course, the media doesn't make the decisions, but it must feel better having more people on your side.
Manziel's attorney is another who believes his client will play this season, but that's what he's supposed to say. There's not as much bias with the media when it comes to players.
Manziel is Texas A&M and will carry the team as far as it's going to go this season. Remove Manziel, and there's no chance for an SEC title or national championship. It'd be like removing LeBron James from the Miami Heat, Tom Brady from the New England Patriots or Miguel Cabrera from the Detroit Tigers. The plane doesn't get far without the pilot behind the controls.
Again, the AP Poll isn't a guarantee that Manziel is out of the woods. Where there's smoke, there's usually fire and Manziel could hear devastating news at any moment. But it is at least a sign of faith that Manziel will participate in this season's run for an SEC title.
The last step is getting the NCAA to hop on board.