With eight home games on the 2013 schedule, the Texas A&M football team has a chance to build on last year's 11-2 record.
There are a few monsters lurking on the schedule, though, and the Aggies will need to play a perfect game in order to defeat them.
Heisman winner Johnny Manziel will face immense pressure this season to live up to and exceed his phenomenal freshman campaign. If Texas A&M is to challenge Alabama for the SEC title in 2013, he must continue to grow as a passer and leader for his team.
Losing Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore to the NFL draft will be tough to overcome, but head coach Kevin Sumlin has done a good job of attracting young talent and has his team headed in the right direction.
These are the toughest games on the schedule for Texas A&M this season, and if the Aggies can find a way to win all three of them, they'll likely be contending for a national championship in 2013.
Alabama, September 14, Kyle Field
The biggest game of the year for Texas A&M comes early on the schedule.
Alabama will be a heavy favorite to win the BCS title once again in 2013 and this team will be eager to avenge last year's loss to the Aggies.
A.J. McCarron will be back for another season behind center and sophomore T.J. Yeldon will be an explosive weapon on both running and passing plays.
'Bama's defense is always among the best in the nation and its front seven will relentlessly assault Manziel.
There are two big keys to this game for the Aggies:
- Stop Yeldon from running roughshod.
- Manziel must not turn the ball over and must have a big game on the ground.
Both tasks are easier said than done against the Crimson Tide, but the Aggies will have the home crowd in their favor.
LSU, November 23, Tiger Stadium
Texas A&M only lost twice last season—the season opener at home against Florida and the team's seventh game at home against LSU.
This year's test against LSU will be even tougher, as the Aggies will hit the road and attempt to beat the Tigers in Tiger Stadium.
Les Miles always has his team ready to play, featuring a perennially stifling defense and a conservative offense that doesn't turn the ball over.
The key to this game will be whether or not Manziel can avoid another turnover-laced performance like the one LSU's defense forced him into last season. Manziel completed just 51.8 percent of his passes and threw zero touchdowns compared to three interceptions in last year's contest.
If Manziel can avoid making big mistakes, Texas A&M should be able to generate more than enough offense to beat LSU.
Missouri, November 30, Faurot Field
The Aggies laid the wood to Missouri last season, winning by a score of 59-29 at home.
Missouri will look to return the favor this season in the final game of the season before the SEC Championship Game on December 7.
There's a chance Texas A&M could be undefeated at this point, in which case this game will be one of the most anticipated in recent school history. The pressure will be intense, and though the Aggies have a record of 8-5 over Missouri, it won't be a game won easily.
If Manziel puts together a performance like he did last year, hitting his receivers with efficiency, taking care of the ball and scoring five total touchdowns, the Aggies will roll once again.
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