Week 9 – Texas A&M at Auburn

Posted Oct 26, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Texas A&M at Auburn

Texas A&M (5-2) at Auburn (1-6) Oct 27, 7:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: There's no bigger SEC novelty act than Texas A&M, with its first year in the SEC to go along with the fun and brilliance of Johnny Manziel, but this is a serious time for Auburn and it's worrying about a lot more than whether or not the Aggies are going to roll into town to put on a good show.

This is turning into a disastrous season on a historical scale for a Tiger team that has one basic, fundamental flaw it can't seem to get past – it's bad at playing college football.

Yes, it's a young team. Yes, there are new coaches in the mix. Yes, some of the recruiting classes have to mature and this is a down period with a big step being taken back to potentially take a giant leap forward. However, 1-6 is 1-6 and there isn't much hope to turn things around even with a four game homestand starting this week. The Tigers aren't leaving the state of Alabama the rest of the way, and unless they win out – including a victory over Alabama – they're not going to exit the borders for a bowl game, either.

A&M has represented itself well since joining the SEC with the two losses coming to Florida and LSU teams still in the national title chase. The offense leads the conference in scoring, yards and rushing, while the defense has been decent enough to get by. However, while beating Arkansas and Ole Miss might sound nice, the best win probably came against a high-powered Louisiana Tech team. With road games at Mississippi State and Alabama to follow, the Aggies aren't going back home until mid-November and could use the win to get bowl eligible so there's no sweating until the layup against Sam Houston State. Plus, A&M doesn't want to be the team that loses to this Auburn team.

This is only the third time the two programs have met, with A&M winning the 1986 Cotton Bowl and pulling off a 16-0 victory in 1911.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: It might not take too many points to put the game away. Texas A&M might not have a loaded defense, but Demontre Moore and the pass rush should be able to fly into the backfield early and often against an Auburn offensive line that's getting destroyed. The Tigers have put up more than 20 points just once all season long, and that came in the overtime win over ULM. While Auburn might be 0-6 when scoring 20 or fewer, Texas A&M is 0-2. The difference is that the Aggies could get to the mark against Florida and LSU, and Auburn's defense isn't anywhere near the same zip code. Auburn's run defense has been non-existent at times and the secondary is getting burned deep way too often. The SEC's top offense shouldn't have any problems unless Auburn forces a slew of turnovers, but the Tigers haven't come up with a pick since the loss to Clemson.

Why Auburn Might Win: Auburn was able to stay alive against Vanderbilt by coming up with three fumble recoveries, and while the team has been awful in turnover margin so far this season, Texas A&M has been almost as bad because Manziel, for all his brilliance and schoolyard balling ability, has a horrendous habit of giving the ball away. Not counted on the stat sheet is how many times he has gotten away with plays that easily could've been turnovers and a total disaster for the Aggies. As a team, A&M has all of a sudden had a lot of problems with ball security, giving it away 13 times in the last three games after turning it over just once in the first four weeks. Auburn has to take advantage of any and all opportunities; the offense isn't good enough to keep up the pace.

What To Watch Out For: The Tigers might not be lighting up the scoreboard or the stat sheet, but sophomore running back Tre Mason is turning in a decent year and should start to get a little more work. Originally the complement to Onterio McCalebb, Mason kicked off the season with 106 yards against Clemson and ran for 90 in the win over ULM, but he saw the workload decrease against Arkansas and LSU before picking it back up with a good 82-yard, two touchdown day against Ole Miss and with 85 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt. Texas A&M's defensive front is aggressive and strong against the run, but Mason has to be a factor early on.

What Will Happen: Texas A&M will make just enough mistakes to keep Auburn alive and in the game, but not enough of them to blow the layup. A second half scoring burst will be too much for the Tigers to overcome.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 28 … Auburn 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Texas A&M -15 O/U: 52.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23): 3