Defending Johnny Manziel

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Johnny Football has had a Frantic Offseason

Since he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Manziel has been the talk of college football enthusiasts. The kid they call “Johnny Football” is still just that, a twenty year old kid. As a result of his lack of life experience, the Texas A&M quarterback has spent the offseason making questionable choices.  Most of those decisions have been made public by Manziel himself, as he has been using Twitter to tweet  his Heisman winning heart out.

Twitter Tipping Point
There seems to be a discernible moment when Johnny Manziel’s public approval rating shifted from positive to polarizing. The perception of Johnny Football’s character changed drastically after he tweeted “Bullshit like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station…whenever it may be.”  In Johnny Football’s defense, those that are now using that tweet as ammunition to knock him down a peg have absolutely no idea what precipitated it.

johnny_football_haircut Johnny Manziel’s new found celebrity has certainly come with a lot of perks, one of which is not the target it put on his back.  After all, Manziel resides in an environment where his peers likely have too much to drink and then approach the Texas A&M star quarterback in search of their own fifteen minutes of fame.

Where the Hell Are the Other Aggies?
Sometimes people need to be reined in.  This principle holds true for almost every human being on earth, and it certainly holds true for a twenty year old kid that can do significant damage to his future with one bad decision.  Somebody in Texas Aggie land needs to protect Johnny Football from himself.   If Manziel has a sophomore slump, the 12th man will not be much of a factor at Kyle Field once the losses start piling up.

According to dallas news, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlan thinks that the Aggies will be fine at the quarterback position.  Apparently, this tongue-in-cheek remark was met with a lot of laughter. Taking a lighthearted approach to Manziel mania is good, as long as both the 2012 Heisman winner and his coaches can do what needs to be done when business picks up on and off the football field.

I am Rooting for Johnny Manziel
As long as he is not playing against the Georgia Bulldogs, I wish Johnny Football all the best.  Most of my peers are chomping at the bit for September 14, when Alabama visits the Aggies.  However, I am hoping that Darth Saban and his Death Star are thwarted once again, while Johnny Manziel becomes the Luke Skywalker of college football by saving the college football world from the evil Crimson Tide empire.

What Does Georgia Need to do to Beat Alabama?

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The Dawgs will battle the Tide for Southeastern Conference supremacy.

Georgia Plays Alabama for the 2012 SEC Championship
Following the upset heard ‘round the college football world against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies of Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to put the Auburn Tigers out of their Southeastern Conference misery on November 24 to clinch the SEC West. Conversely, the Georgia Bulldogs dominated the aforementioned Tigers by a final count of 38-0 this past weekend. The victory earned Bulldog Nation a trip to the Georgia Dome to represent the East in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs Are Not Satisfied With Just Winning the SEC East
Alabama will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 when they punch their ticket to Atlanta. Led by head coach and master motivator Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide will be hell bent on making the strongest possible case to defend their national championship crown.  Meanwhile, Bulldog Nation is determined to attack the wounded Tide, and secure a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.  Let us examine what Georgia must do to catch Alabama coming in, as opposed to trying to hang on to the Crimson Tide when they are rolling out.

Avoiding Turnovers Will be Critical for Georgia
For Georgia to have a chance to defeat Alabama, the Dawgs must avoid turning the ball over. In the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU, Georgia doomed themselves by committing three costly giveaways, along with errors on special teams that translated to easy points for the Tigers. Alabama is the top ranked one loss team in the country for a reason, and the Bulldogs must avoid giving the talented Tide football team easy scores.



Georgia Has to Protect Quarterback Aaron Murray
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs gave up five sacks in the first half against Ole Miss. No slight against the Rebels, but if Ole miss found a way to exploit Georgia’s offensive line, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and company will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to hit the UGA signal caller early and often.

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The offensive line must be stout against Alabama.

UGA Needs to Be Balanced on Offense to Keep Alabama Guessing
Texas A&M was able to defeat Alabama as a result of mixing up run and pass play calls. The Aggies had 253 passing yards, and over 150 yards on the ground. Aaron Murray is not quite as mobile as Johnny Manziel but he can certainly move around well enough to avoid being a sitting target. Furthermore:

  • The Bulldogs must avoid negative plays on offense. If Alabama’s aggressive defense can force Georgia to be one dimensional it will be a long game for Bulldog Nation.
  • Todd Gurley must lead the Georgia rushing attack by being physical and picking up critical yards after contact.
  • Aaron Murray must make all the right decisions with the football. Stephen Garcia is the last quarterback from the SEC East to defeat Alabama, as the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off the Tide in October of 2010. Garcia completed 17 out of 20 passes for 201 yards in that contest. Those would be ideal numbers for the UGA QB to duplicate.
  • Georgia must keep drives alive by converting on third down. Texas A&M was 11 out of 18 on third-down conversions.
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Jarvis Jones is saving his best for the Crimson Tide.

Defense is Essential to Georgia’s Success
Jarvis Jones is the heartbeat of a Georgia defensive unit that appears to be peaking at the right timeJarvis Jones must lead the Georgia defense and wreak havoc against the Tide.  A dominant performance from Jones will give other players the opportunity to put pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. In addition:

  • No big plays. UGA’s defense needs to make Alabama go the length of the football field.
  • The Bulldog defense must cause as many three-and-outs as possible so that they are able to finish Alabama in the second half.
  • It is critical that Georgia forces A.J. McCarron to beat them throwing the football. When Alabama has to pass, they suddenly become a predictable football team. This observation is not questioning the talent of the Alabama QB, but the Bulldogs will increase their chance to win if Alabama has to abandon their potent running game.

A Win for the Bulldogs Over Alabama is Critical to the Future of Georgia Football Regardless of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs have to beat Alabama to legitimize themselves as a championship contender. Consider this: Georgia’s signature win thus far in 2012 is beating a Florida team that nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend at the swamp. The Bulldogs do not need to try to impersonate Texas A&M, but they must be victorious in Atlanta. 

Alabama Losing is Not Good For the SEC’s National Championship Streak

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The phenom nicknamed “Johnny Football” has taken college football by storm.

Alabama Finally Falls
It is safe to assume that nearly every college football fan located outside of Alabama enjoyed watching the Crimson Tide taste defeat this past weekend. After two months of dominating the competition, Alabama has appeared uncharacteristically vulnerable for the past couple weeks. The Texas A&M Aggies utilized a near-flawless effort from their fantastic freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, along with timely defense to stun the Crimson Tide by a final score of 29-24. In all likelihood, the victory by Texas A&M on the road in Tuscaloosa will be remembered as the biggest college football story of 2012.

Kansas State Versus Oregon For the National Championship?
Now that the college football world has recovered from the hangover of this exciting upset, the reality of what is left cannot be very pleasing to supporters of the Southeastern Conference. If the season ended today, the national championship game would feature the Kansas State Wildcats against the Oregon Ducks. The prospect of the fighting Collin Kleins taking on the quack attack of Oregon may appeal to other parts of the country, but it would be a hard pill to swallow here in Dixie.

The SEC Needs a Lot of Help to Compete For a Seventh Straight BCS Title
Fans of the SEC must root for both Kansas State and Notre Dame to lose. Oregon is exempt from this jinx because the Ducks have a good track record in Bowl Championship Series games. If Notre Dame and Kansas State both stumble, the SEC Championship Game becomes a winner-take-all war between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide for the remaining spot in the BCS title game.

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The SEC has been home for the BCS trophy since 2006.

There is Not a Southeastern Conference Bias in College Football
I freely admit being a Southeastern Conference homer. I have enjoyed watching the SEC dominate college football for the better part of the past decade. With that said, perhaps I should accept the fact that the Southeastern Conference dynasty may have an off-year. After all, the rest of America had to sit through a Southeastern Conference-only national championship game this past January. It would be fitting to some fans if the SEC is denied the opportunity to compete for a seventh national championship in a row after the Southeastern Conference hogged both spots in the title game last season.