College Football is back, and beginning Thursday night August 28th the chase for the national championship is on!
It starts with a fantastic game right out of the gate in the SEC between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies. This matches a pair of top-25 teams, with the Gamecocks inside the top-10.
Of course for Texas A&M it will be a totally different look from a year ago. No longer are the Aggies led by Johnny Manziel. The Heisman Trophy winner is now a member of the Cleveland Browns. As such, head coach Kevin Sumlin might be facing his biggest challenge yet. But with Texas A&M having moved into the SEC, it’s been great for recruiting and bringing in plenty of talent to reload on both sides of the ball.
South Carolina isn’t without a loss of plenty of talent either though. The ball coach has his work cut out for him as well, losing Jadeveon Clowney (No.1 overall pick) and quarterback Connor Shaw. Nevertheless, Steve Spurrier has changed the dynamic of South Carolina football and turned them into a contender in the SEC year-in and year-out. So much so that the Gamecocks are 10-point home favorites over the Aggies at home on Thursday night according to BetOnline Sportsbook. That means a wager on South Carolina to cover would require at least an 11-point victory. Conversely, a wager on Texas A&M can cover the betting line with a loss by nine points or less. Either way you slice it, the payout is based on a two-possession game, with the Gamecocks’ home-field advantage playing a big role.
South Carolina should be every bit as good as they were on defense last year even with the loss of Clowney. The Gamecocks ranked 12th in the country in points allowed.
South Carolina won 11 games last season and were picked by the media to win the SEC East by a small margin over Georgia. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs play on September 13 in the third week of the season, but South Carolina can’t afford to look ahead to that critical matchup just yet. Neither can Georgia, who opens up against Clemson at home.
The Aggies are a bit of a wildcard coming into this season, mostly because of the quarterback position. Sophomore Kenny Hill will lead Texas A&M into Columbia. He will be a different type of quarterback than Manziel, but Sumlin holds high expectations for him.
It still adds up to a tall task for the Aggies to get a tough victory on the road. A win would certainly go a long way to establishing Texas A&M as an early contender in the SEC West to Alabama, Auburn, and LSU.