To describe my feelings as 'excited' would be a drastic understatement. The fact that the Aggies have beaten the #1 team in the nation and become so competitive in their first SEC season is unbelievable, and I couldn't be happier for the players and for Aggieland.
When Texas A&M announced its move to the Southeastern Conference, the deafening guffaws from Big 12 and SEC fans alike were enough to drown out a sonic boom. Texas, Baylor and Tech fans waved good bye with a smirk on their face, wishing us luck with all the sincerity of a bully’s apology. Members of the SEC greeted the Aggies with "open-arms", all the while placing back room bets on how long it would take A&M to reach 'SEC' caliber play.
It's hard to ignore those kinds of criticisms. To be labeled the “little brother who can play, but must wait two or three years to be relevant,” is a real knock to the ego. Some (and by “some,” I mean t.u. fans) even made the argument that this was the Aggies role in the Big 12. Granted, A&M had been competitive in the conference, but not nearly to the same extent as Texas or OU. Longhorn fans saw A&M's move to the SEC as a kind of brush off, an attempt to play out of big brother's' shadow. And you know what, I kind of agree with that. Why not make your own way? Take the road less traveled and step out into the light.
I commend Coach Sumlin and the Aggies for ignoring all the nay-sayers and for going out there and getting the job done. No one, not even the most faithful members of the 12th man, could have seen this year coming. After a 2011 season that saw heartache after gut-wrenching heartache, you had to wonder how players would adapt to the even bigger obstacles when faced with the giants of the SEC. To this, Coach Sumlin had only one reply: "Bring me my sling-shot."
Many will give all the glory to quarterback Johnny Manziel and his magic “happy feet”. In many ways, they're right. He has shown himself to be an undeniable talent and has proven that he can shoulder the load of a Top-ten team, all the while making his case for the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. But don’t be so narrow-minded as to think Johnny Football is the only play-maker. It takes a whole team to win a game, and the amazing emergences of Damontre Moore and Mike Evans have been detrimental to this season. Seniors like Ryan Swope and Sean Porter, who were repeatedly punched in the gut last year, have risen up and made this time their own.
If this year has shown us anything, it's that A&M is ready to win in the SEC. NOW. Not next year, not the year after that, NOW. The kind of swagger and pride that Aggie athletics has given to the 12th man this year is truly something to be-hold, and I'm just glad to be here and watch it catch fire.
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