Week 10 – Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope
Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope
Posted Oct 31, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - Texas A&M at Mississippi State


Texas A&M (6-2) at Mississippi State (7-1) Nov. 3, 12:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: In 2000, these two teams played one of the most memorable non-BCS bowl games ever with Mississippi State coming up with a 43-41 thriller in an Independence Bowl snowstorm. This one might not be quite as thrilling, but it should turn out to be more important.

Texas A&M is effectively out of the SEC title chase, needing a few major miracles to have a shot, but it has represented itself well in the first year in the new conference. The offense leads the lead in yards, points and rushing, but this is the fourth game in an unbelievable run of five road games in six weeks. The Aggies got through the first three away dates fine, but with Alabama up next, getting a victory now over MSU would be a big step to be high in the bowl pecking order. The O has scored 58 points or more four times in eight games, and while that might not happen this week, the pressure will be on the Bulldogs to get over an Alabama letdown.

Just when it seemed like the Bulldogs were going to pose a huge challenge to the Tide, nothing worked in an ugly 38-7 loss. Even so, there's still an outside shot of being in the West title race by winning out – highlighted by a win next week at LSU – and hoping for an Alabama loss to the Tigers. There might not be an A&M-like scoring pop, but the team doesn't make a slew of big mistakes, there's a nice offensive balance, and the O line is playing great. Starting out 7-0 was nice, but now the Bulldogs have to actually beat someone other than Tennessee. This would qualify.

Before the wild bowl game over a debate ago, the two teams met four other times with MSU winning in 1937 but A&M pulling out victories in 1913 and 1915. Now it'll be a yearly happening.

Why Texas A&M Might Win: The MSU defensive front doesn't generate enough pressure to slow down Johnny Manziel and the A&M ground game. The Bulldogs have been great defensively and they're not giving up much against the run, but they haven't played too many teams with a ton of offensive pop and they're having big problems getting behind the line on a consistent basis. There was just one tackle for loss and no sacks against Tennessee, and the defense got rocked for 213 rushing yards. There was just one tackle for loss and no sacks against Troy, too, and the defensive front gave up a season-high 223 yards and three scores. A&M is coming off a 352-yard rushing day against Auburn and have taken off for over 200 yards six times in eight games, but …

Why Mississippi State Might Win: The two Aggie losses came on the two worst rushing days of the year. Part of the reason for the bad performances was because of the competition coming up with 134 yards against Florida and 134 more against LSU. MSU is giving up 144 yards per game thanks to an active linebacking corps that's doing a great job of swarming around the ball against everyone but Alabama. It also helps that the safeties can cheat up and rely on the corners to get the job done. The Bulldogs have NFL corners in Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks, but …

What To Watch Out For: All the attention is going towards Johnny Manziel and his phenomenal freshman season, but he's getting help from another first-year budding star, Mike Evans, who leads the team with 47 catches for 705 yards. He hasn't had many blow-up moments, but he has three 100-yard games and he has been a solid, steady target game-in-and-game-out. With Evans combining with veteran Ryan Swope, who has blown up over the last two weeks catching 16 passes for 221 yards and two scores, the MSU corners are going to be pushed and pushed hard.

What Will Happen: Mississippi State is the real deal, and it has the ability and the toughness to grind out a tough win, but A&M is too explosive and too strong in too many areas. The A&M O line will control the MSU defensive front, and Manziel will be Manziel.

CFN Prediction: Texas A&M 31 … Mississippi State 27
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Texas A&M -7 O/U: 59
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 4