When Alabama takes the field next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field in College Station, they will do so with revenge in mind.
It has not been a year yet, but Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24 as the final score on the scoreboard at Bryant-Denny Stadium last Nov. 10 will still be in the mind of all the Crimson Tide players and coaches‑and even the fans for that matter.
Last year, the Aggies under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin shocked the Crimson Tide nation as they raced out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and held on for the five-point win to hand Alabama their only loss of the 2012 season.
The Aggies hit the Crimson Tide at the right time as Alabama was coming off a battle with LSU the week before in Tiger Stadium in Louisiana. Alabama prevailed with a 21-17 last minute win.
But while revenge will be on the mind of all Alabama Crimson Tide people next week, there is a little common history between the two teams‑and it all started with legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
By the way, Alabama leads the overall series with the Aggies 3-2.
In 1954, Bryant, who played end at Alabama and won a national championship in 1934, became head coach of the Aggies. Bryant’s first year as head coach of the Aggies saw Texas A&M go 1-9. That season is said to be Bryant’s only losing season in his career.
Bryant then left A&M to come to Alabama after four seasons in Texas.
In his 25 seasons at Alabama, Bryant won six national championships, 13 conference championships and retired as the winningest coach in college football.
While at Alabama, Bryant hired a former Aggie player of his to come with him to Alabama that would eventually go on to be head coach of the Tide. That player would be Gene Stallings.
Stallings became the head coach of A&M at the age of 29 after helping the Crimson Tide to the 1964 national championship as a defensive assistant. Luck would have it that in the 1967 Cotton Bowl, Stallings’ A&M team met Bryant’s Alabama team and Stallings’ Aggies won 20-16.
After things went sour for Stallings at Texas A&M and he ventured to the NFL, Stallings returned to college football in 1990 when Alabama offered him the head coaching job. Stallings led Alabama to the 1992 national championship as his Crimson Tide team took down the the Miami Hurricanes 34-13 in New Orleans. Stalling coached Alabama until 1997.
After Stallings, the common history between Texas A&M and Alabama did not quit as Alabama would later get Dennis Franchione as head coach in 2001. It was then that Franchione did a reverse of what Bryant did. Instead of coming to Alabama from Texas A&M, Franchione left Alabama for the Aggies. Franchione took over the Aggies after the 2002 season when A&M fired R.C. Slocum as their head coach.
In just a few days, the rivalry will carry on again for the 2013 season as the two teams will meet.
While earlier this offseason, it looked as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel would be doubtful for the game against Alabama. Manziel was alleged to have sold autographs for pay and Manziel was forced to set out a half last week against the Rice Owls in the Aggies season opener. Manziel came back in the second half and helped lead the Aggies to a 52-31 win.
Texas A&M led 28-21 at the half. In the second half, Manziel went 6-for-8 passing with 94 yards and had three touchdown passes. He also ran the ball six times for 19 yards. While the numbers were pretty good for only playing one half of football, there was another glaring number: a 15-yard personal foul penalty.
So as they used to say for the legendary Johnny Carson…”Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny”, you can insert whatever name you want to as his last name: Manziel, Heisman, Football, Sideline, or Hancock.
Last year against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Manziel solidified his Heisman campaign as he passed for 253 yards and accounted for 345 yards of total offense to lead the 15th-ranked Aggies to a 29-24 upset of top-ranked Alabama.
Overall, Manziel led the Aggies to touchdowns on their first three offensive possessions of the game before the Crimson Tide could rally. Even though Alabama outgained A&M 431 to 418, three turnovers proved fatal to the Crimson Tide comeback. Two turnovers in A&M territory, a fumble at the Aggie 34 and an interception on the goal line ended potential Alabama scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Even though the Crimson Tide struggled some on offense last week against Virginia Tech, look for them to have corrected those mistakes during the bye week and with the loss last year making Alabama out for revenge. Look for the Tide to come away with a 27-13 win.
Story by Adam Robinson