Both Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have raced off to undefeated starts, but if you look beyond the box scores, a clear picture starts to form: the Aggies are frauds.
Why the sudden hype for the Aggies? The schedule, for starters, as A&M has cruised to victory over hapless Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International. Except here’s the problem — the Aggies only beat FIU 27-20 despite being overwhelming 29-point favorites. In fact, A&M needed 21 fourth-quarter points to get the job done. Why then is Oklahoma State such a tempting small home favorite?
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Perhaps the biggest reason people have jumped on the bandwagon is A&M’s supposedly high-flying offense. But despite the gaudy numbers—the team is averaging 41 points per game—all is not right. Most importantly, quarterback Jerrod Johnson is struggling. The senior was touted as a Heisman candidate entering 2010, but he underwent offseason shoulder surgery and it’s clear his mechanics are a complete disaster; this isn’t the same guy who was under center a year ago. Johnson was horrendous against FIU, completing just 11 of 31 passes while tossing four interceptions—all in the third quarter.
He’s not the only one to blame, however. The quarterback was sacked six times by the Golden Panthers, reminding Aggie fans of offensive line struggles over the past two years.
A&M allowed 39 sacks in 2008, and wasn’t especially good last season when it gave up another 29. The rushing attack has certainly been better—Texas A&M is averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground—but the Aggies have already allowed 10 sacks, and it’s not like they’re facing All-American competition or anything; we’re talking about Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International.
Oklahoma State, meanwhile, is gunning for its third consecutive season with at least nine wins (9-4 ATS last season). The offense was supposed to achieve big things in 2009 but failed because of injuries and suspensions. But with Kendall Hunter carrying the ball again, there’s little reason to believe it can’t deliver on its promise. Hunter racked up 1,555 yards and earned All-Big 12 honors in 2008; he’s already racked up 473 yards at 7.9 per pop this year.
Throw in first-time starter Brandon Weedon, who is looking legit at quarterback, and you have an offense with tons more potential than Texas A&M. Yes, both Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are 3-0 straight up. But the Aggies have already disappointed against the spread, and there’s plenty of evidence to believe they’ll do it again.