Johnny Manziel's Reputation Rides on Performance vs. Alabama
The oversaturation of Johnny Manziel is reaching former Florida Gators' quarterback (who shall not be named) levels.
When Manziel and Texas A&M take on the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend, not only will Manziel's credibility be on the line, but there will be a camera devoted specifically to Manziel per Paul Myerberg of USA Today. That means while on the field and on the bench. At. All. Times.
Manziel is the nation's hottest commodity thanks to the relentless media coverage he warrants off the field both in part because of his alleged party-boy nature and his part in the latest controversy between the NCAA and players who violate benefit rules via a signature controversy.
Regardless of off-field antics, Manziel would still be the man in the spotlight. A Heisman trophy, 11-2 record with a dismantling of Alabama in Tuscaloosa last season and a shellacking of Oklahoma, 41-13, in last year's Cotton Bowl directly placed Manziel in the spotlight—entertaining personality or coach-speak robot, Manizel was going to be under the spotlight in 2013.
Speaking of coach speak, that's exactly what Manziel is doing as he enters the most anticipated contest of the collegiate season this week when Nick Saban and Co. come to town for revenge.
Manziel told the media it feels like any other week of the season per Andrew Gribble of AL.com:
It feels like another game, feels like week three of the season, Manziel said in quotes distributed by Texas A&M media relations. We have to continue to get better as a team, get better in every aspect: offense, defense, special teams. Having a full lineup and all of our guys back will be nice but for us we have to continue to get better like we did last year and see how things go.
Nice job, Manziel.
Manziel's attempts to keep a low profile heading into the biggest game of his career (so far)—not to mention the biggest game in Texas A&M's history—is simply not going to work. A+ for effort, though.
Will Manziel and A&M defeat Alabama?
This is far and away the biggest game in Aggies' history, and should Manziel fail to down the Crimson Tide for the second-consecutive year, his reputation—especially after on-field antics and trash talking—is going to take an irreparable hit.
We're talking about a school that just moved to the SEC and has already downed the big dog in the country's best conference once.
A&M has not hoisted a national championship in over 70 years, but with a win over Alabama on Saturday, the only true threat to playing in the big game is a trip to LSU on November 23.
That's both a gift and a curse. Alabama lost this matchup last season and still went to the title game courtesy of its strong schedule. A&M may not have that luxury if it loses thanks to an iffy schedule, especially when compared to other potential one-loss championship contenders.
The bottom line is Manziel can act any way he chooses, but more than anything it's his play that will make or break his reputation.
Manziel is under the microscope perhaps more than any player in college football history. One slip-up on the field and his reputation is out the window.
Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station will not only better dictate the teams in the national championship this year, it will also go a long way in defining the reputation of college football's most polarizing star.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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