Auburn vs. Texas A&M: Top Prospects, Storylines, Odds for B/R's Game of the Week

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2021

Auburn vs. Texas A&M: Top Prospects, Storylines, Odds for B/R's Game of the Week

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    B/R's Game of the Week is bound for the SEC West showdown between the No. 13 Auburn Tigers and No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies.

    The lone Top 25 contest on the Week 10 slate, it's a matchup with considerable bowl implications. The winner will enter the final stretch as a lead contender for a New Year's Six berth, especially if both the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff.

    Of the B/R community's 5,306 votes, Auburn/Texas A&M attracted 66.7 percent of the ballots. This clash beat out LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama (17.0 percent), No. 9 Wake Forest vs. North Carolina (9.0) and No. 5 Ohio State vs. Nebraska (7.3).

    Ahead, we've highlighted top NFL draft prospects to know, two major storylines and the latest betting information.

Top NFL Draft Prospects

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    In a previous Game of the Week featuring Texas A&M, we included star offensive lineman Kenyon Green and defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal. Instead of repeating that, we're looking at new players.

              

    Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M

    The team's leading receiver, Jalen Wydermyer has made a valuable impact since his freshman year in 2019. He owns career totals of 103 catches, 1,306 yards and 16 touchdowns. Wydermyer notched 75 yards and two scores in last weekend's win over South Carolina.

               

    Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M

    Devon Achane is a key contributor to Texas A&M's run-first offense, but Isaiah Spiller is the featured back. The junior has scampered for 761 yards and five touchdowns this season, rushing for at least 95 yards in six of the Aggies' eight contests this season. Spiller has also reeled in 21 passes for 179 yards and a score.

               

    Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

    After passing up the 2021 NFL draft to improve his perception as a prospect, Roger McCreary has done exactly that. He's collected 32 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass breakups so far, establishing himself as one of the SEC's top corners.

Major Test for Auburn Offense's Rising Balance

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    Tank Bigbsy
    Tank BigbsyGerald Herbert/Associated Press

    As an offensive concept, "balance" can be overrated. Few teams ever have an ideological split of passing and rushing yards.

    Auburn, though, is most successful when quarterback Bo Nix is efficient and the running game is reliable. In victories over Arkansas and Ole Miss, the Tigers have posted an excellent 10.0 yards per pass attempt and serviceable 4.2 yards per carry.

    Nix isn't turnover-prone, but he's often been unspectacular. Prior to those two wins, he failed to crack 6.4 yards per attempt in five straight games. That frustration is nothing new to Auburn fans, and the absence of a productive passing attack has regularly made it difficult for the running game against top competition.

    Perhaps the recent success is the earliest sign of positive change. But the Aggies are capable of shattering that optimism.

    Heading into Week 10, Texas A&M ranks 13th nationally at 4.8 yards allowed per play. The Aggies have ceded only 5.9 yards per pass attempt and nine touchdowns to nine interceptions, and their run defense is a respectable 3.7 yards allowed per carry.

    In a raucous Kyle Field environmentone that already saw an upset of Alabama this seasonAuburn needs its balance to continue.

What Will A&M Need from Zach Calzada?

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Relative to preseason expectations, nothing has changed. Defense has always been Texas A&M's superior unit, and the question was always how productive the offense would be.

    Every week, we're asking the same thing.

    Zach Calzada put together a career-best performance in the victory over Alabama, notching career-high marks of a 67.7 completion rate, 285 yards, three touchdowns and 9.2 yards per attempt. The best version of Calzada is clearly quite good.

    During the Aggies' four other SEC games, however, he's averaged just 5.9 yards per throw with five passing scores to four interceptions. Calzada has been a quarterback Texas A&M has won with, not because of. That's fine if the Aggies' rushing attack and defense is thriving too.

    Auburn has the nation's No. 17 run defense, though. There is a reasonable chance Spiller and Achane have a tough day.

    Texas A&M will lean on them and let Calzada be his typical "game manager" self. But if Auburn slows A&M's ground game, can Calzada be a playmaker? He rose to the challenge against Alabama, but not in losses to Arkansas or Mississippi State.

Game Information and Odds

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    DeMarvin Leal
    DeMarvin LealSam Craft/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Nov. 6 at Noon ET

    Where: Kyle Field in College Station, Texas

    TV: CBS

    Stream: CBS Sports

    Spread (via DraftKings): Texas A&M -4.5

    Total: 49

    Moneyline: Texas A&M -200 (bet $200 to win $100); Auburn +170 (bet $100 to win $170)

                

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