Sunday, October 02, 2005

Fightin' Texas Aggie Spin Machine

Yesterday, the Texas A&M football team came extremely close to losing to perennial Big 12 cellar dwellers Baylor. The near loss is part of a greater trend of the Aggie football team declining into Big 12 mediocrity. Although this is upsetting, even more so is that the Aggie media spin machine in College Station is spewing propaganda, the likes of which I have never seen.

Since the Aggies won the Big 12 title in 1998 by beating the top-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in double overtime, it has been all downhill. In 2002, it appeared that a change was coming when the powers that be fired head coach R.C. Slocum and made a major hire in Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione. We knew it would be at least two year before progress would be made and Franchione could lift the Aggies out of the doldrums into which Slocum let the program slide. After a dreadful first season, the Aggies began to show promise in the second. But as we enter the third season of the Franchione era, it seems that the program is actually regressing.

Beginning with a tough loss on the road at Clemson, the Aggies bounced back with a big win over Southern Methodist followed by a lackluster win over Division I-AA Texas State under the threat of Hurricane Rita. This brings us to yesterday's undeserved win over Baylor. Baylor dominated A&M on offense and defense throughout the day and really were their own worst enemies. Baylor squandered several opportunities to put the game away and A&M had only one truly productive offensive drive to tie the game and send it into overtime. And in some way, the Aggies were able to avoid what might have been the most embarrassing loss in school history by winning the game in overtime.

None of the Aggies I talked to about the game yesterday were happy with the performance. In fact, they all agree that there is something seriously wrong with this coaching staff, team motivation and program as a whole. Never fear though! Enter the Fightin' Texas Aggie Spin Machine!

Today's articles on didn't fail to irritate me even more. Most paint a positive picture of a game that has only one positive: the Aggies didn't lose at home.

Robert Cessna
gave the coaching staff a grade of a C-. He claims to have given them an F for the first 55 minutes of the game but the two scores at the end gave them two letter grades because "the coaching staff kept A&M in position to win." I guess when the head coach is getting $2 million a year, The Machine has to justify it by claiming that the poise and game plan were always in place.

Robert Premeaux, Jr.
is very excited about the revival of this rivalry. "Aggie fans, pull out a green highlighter. Baylor faithful, find your maroon crayons. Now, together, grab your 2006 calendars and circle Oct. 28. The Battle of the Brazos is back." I remember when the rivalry game was against Texas. Sadly we haven't won that since 1999 and over the past ten years have even been on the losing end of the rivalry with Texas Tech. Baylor has been a pretty easy win for a while, so it saddens me that this has become a rivalry. Every dog gets his day but that is just pathetic.

And in case there was any question about the ability of defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, they made sure to list a quote from a former A&M defensive coordinator:

Former A&M defensive coordinator Melvin Robertson (1972-78) attended his first Aggie game since leaving with former coach Emory Bellard to Mississippi State.

A&M was ranked No. 1 in total defense in 1975 under Robertson, who was known for his blitz packages.

Robertson, who is retired and lives in Grapevine, had nothing but praise for current defensive coordinator Carl Torbush. Robertson watched Torbush at Baylor (graduate assistant in 1975) and Ole Miss (1983-86).

"He's a good man and a good coach," said Robertson before the game. "He'll be all right."

I can't speak for all of my Aggie brethren, but I wouldn't mind having a guy like Robertson back at the defensive helm. I'd love to see at least one blitz in a Torbush coordinated game.

Baylor head coach Guy Morris had this to say about their loss:
"Just playing close is like showering with your sister. It's no good. We take no satisfaction in coming down here and just playing close." This quote applies to A&M as well. The coaching staff should feel very dirty after this win.

Now all this talk might sound like a lot of bitching from a fairweather fan, but I have been an ardent A&M supporter for years. I just care so much about the team that it pains me to see bad decisions and stubbornness relegate the Aggies to watch other Big 12 schools compete for national prominence. I want them to bounce back from this next week and give Colorado a really good game in Boulder, but it just seems like the problems are too deep to fix in a week, or even a season. I'm just glad that I will be at Jody's wedding next Saturday night and won't have to waste four hours in front of a TV being irritated by bad playcalling and underachieveing.

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