The 2013 season will feature a second straight year of “bridge” scheduling in the SEC to accommodate the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M. A long-term rotation won’t be in place until the 2014 season.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the schedule for Texas A&M:
Home games: 8
Non-league games: Rice (home), Sam Houston State (home), SMU (home), UTEP (home)
SEC crossover games: Vanderbilt (home), Missouri (away)
SEC no plays: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee
Toughest games: Alabama (home), Ole Miss (away), LSU (away)
Heisman Trophy contender: What will Johnny Football do for an encore? After becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, after setting the SEC record for total yards with 5,116 yards, all eyes will be on Johnny Manziel in his second year as the Aggies' quarterback. He'll be without two big receiving targets, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and left tackle Luke Joeckel, but he'll probably still be one of the slipperiest players in the country. If he grows more as a passer, watch out, because he'll be even more dangerous in 2013.
Verdict: Similar to Alabama, Texas A&M avoids the big boys in the East next season and doesn't face Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. There's also not a marquee nonconference game on the Aggies' schedule, and being able to play eight games at Kyle Field is always a nice perk. Back-to-back road dates at LSU and Missouri to end the regular season will be challenging, but the Sept. 14 home game with Alabama is the one everyone has circled and will go a long way toward shaping the SEC and national race.
Manziel-mania: Where do we start with Johnny Football? For one, he will lead the SEC in rushing again even though defenses will do everything they can to keep him in the pocket, and he will be the most must-see player in college football. But we're not ready to jump out there and predict that he will win a second straight Heisman Trophy. At least, not yet. There's a reason only one person has done that.