Texas A&M and the SEC used this week to formally announce that the Aggies will join the conference in 2012. Perhaps there was no better timing, because this weekend Texas A&M will face Arkansas in the third annual Southwest Classic in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It remains to be seen if this rivalry game will continue in Cowboys Stadium once the Aggies join the SEC but the most important aspect of this game this season is getting back in the win column. Texas A&M blew a second half lead last week against Oklahoma State and Arkansas never had enough steam to keep up with Alabama.
Our panel takes a look at this game and suggests who is more likely to bounce back in week five.
Texas A&M let a game slip away from them last weekend against Oklahoma State, and Arkansas never was able to keep up with Alabama. With both sides looking to rebound this week in a non-conference tilt (for now), who has a better chance to pick up a win this weekend in Cowboys Stadium?
Kevin, National College Football Examiner: Texas A&M’s second half collapse against Oklahoma State last week was stunning, and I think it will service as a wakeup call for the Aggies. And with a big week in College Station filled with news and celebrations about joining the SEC in 2012, what better way to get back in the win column than by beating an SEC team?
Arkansas may not have Ryan Mallett at quarterback any more but Tyler Wilson has proven to be worthy of replacing him by throwing for 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns after four games, leading the offense to 12 red zone touchdowns (Arkansas is 15-for-15 in the red zone this season). He will be under constant pressure by the Texas A&M defensive line on a defense that averages 4.7 sacks per game.
I think A&M avoids a second straight loss, but this should be very close.
Gerald Nicdao, San Diego Sports Examiner: When Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson looks at the film of Texas A&M’s loss to Oklahoma State, his mouth is going to water. The Aggies allowed Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden to complete 78.3 percent of his passes and throw over 400 yards.
And though Alabama’s defense stifled the Razorbacks’ offense last week, Wilson still completed 62 percent of his passes. The difference? The Tide was able to close out on the short, quick passes that allow Wilson’s skill players to make plays with.
I don’t see Texas A&M’s secondary being as quick or on the ball as Alabama’s. Look for Wilson to have a big day and unofficially welcome the Aggies to the purgatory known as “middle-of-the-road” SEC team.
Razorbacks should win behind Wilson’s passing attack.
Rich Kurtzman, Colorado State Rams Examiner: Texas A&M has the home field advantage in Cowboys Stadium, but there will certainly be lots of Alabama fans in Jerry’s palace too. Both teams will be hungry after losing last week, and each knows they need this win. For the Aggies, Cyrus Gray will be the most hungry since he was held to only 35 yards, breaking his nine-game 100 yard streak. But for Arkansas, the entire offense will be extra hyped up for a huge day as they were held to 226 yards last week after going for 450-plus yards in each of the previous three games. Both teams are well rounded and both are strong on each side of the field. This will be quite a close contest, but Texas A&M will pull it out in the end.
Troy Hyde, Iowa Hawkeyes Examiner: I think Texas A&M is still a very good team and I actually still have them in my top 10 rankings. I like Ryan Tannehill even though he would love to have that OSU game back. The Aggies also are playing close to home in Dallas so I think they come out on top and get back on track. I think Arkansas may be a bit overrated.
Sean Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes Examiner: The edge goes to the Aggies. While Texas A&M endured a tough loss, they looked much more competitive whereas the Razorbacks looked outmatched against Alabama. Texas A&M has the better defense and should be able to make enough big plays on offense to rebound with a win.
Schimri Yoyo, Big East Examiner: I think A & M has a batter chance to rebound because I think they have a couple of things to prove. First, they dominated a good portion of the game last Saturday and let it slip away. They want to show that their collapse was an aberration. Also, they want to prove that they are worthy of a spot in the SEC, so a convincing victory against an SEC opponent would bolster that argument.
Meanwhile, Arkansas pretty much got manhandled by Alabama. I don’t know how much confidence they can draw from that game. However, they can wipe the slate clean this weekend, knowing that Texas A & M is no Alabama. I like the Aggies to win by a narrow margin.
Max Price, Oregon Ducks Examiner: If there’s any consolation here, it’s that both Texas A&M and Arkansas lost to extremely talented squads this past weekend. Unfortunately for the Aggies, many expected them to win and they certainly should have won against OSU. For that reason, I think they’re going to be looking to prove their talent to themselves. Both teams are very evenly matched, with the only clear advantage being Texas A&M’s rushing game. I think Mike Sherman will recognize that and use it early and often, giving the Aggies the better chance to win in Cowboys Stadium.
Jordan Caldwell, Utah Utes Examiner: Texas A&M showed that they have a lot of talent this year. Turnovers killed them against Oklahoma State and I expect the Aggies to fix the problem. However, it is on the players to be in the right mind set mentally. If they let the loss linger, Arkansas will make them pay. Texas A&M needs to have a short memory and look at Alabama’s blue print to stop the Razorback offense. Texas A&M still has a good chance to steal the conference championship before they bolt to the SEC, so they need to keep moving forward if they want to leave with a bang.
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