This Saturday at 2:30pm, Number 15 Texas A&M plays Number 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
“Nobody panics when things go according to plan…Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything become chaos. I’m an agent of chaos.” – The Joker
Now when arguably cinema’s greatest villain made this speech to Harvey Dent/Two-Face, he was alluding to society and the human psyche. None of what he said related to college football. But will I use it in relation to Texas A&M’s upcoming showdown with #1 Alabama? In the words of Kevin Sumlin when he receives a verbal commitment from a recruit, “YESSIR!”
Last Saturday, three of the top four teams in the nation were moments away from catastrophic defeats. Oregon outlasted Matt Barkley and USC by simply scoring the most points ever against a Trojan defense. Notre Dame was resuscitated by a missed Pitt field goal and eeked out an overtime victory. And just when there couldn’t be any more drama, Alabama overcame being outplayed in every phase of the game in the second half, and Zach Mettenberger suddenly realizing he can throw a pass and his receivers can catch it, to defeat LSU on a game-winning fourth quarter touchdown.
Such mayhem occurs every season, but since 2006 one constant remains. A SEC team always finds itself at the top of the pack. When other conferences slip or fall short, the SEC holds steady and leaves little doubt that they will falter with the rest. Perhaps no team has held that image better than this year’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
Before last Saturday, no opponent had yet to make Nick Saban sweat—the closest call being a 19-point victory over Ole Miss. Now that they’ve survived the biggest test of adversity, they look like the safest bet to end up at the BCS National Championship. In fact, when watching any college football show, the question is not “Who will play in the BCS Title Game?” but “Who will play Alabama in the BCS Title Game?”
So if the Crimson Tide were to fall this weekend, the college football world would be in, well…chaos. And it seems fitting that the agent of chaos be the newest member to nation’s most prominent football conference.
When asked about what this game could mean for the future of A&M, Coach Sumlin replied, “It’s hard with preparation, but I’m sure at the end of the year we’ll look back at it and see it for what it is.”
What it is for A&M is a chance to earn arguably the most monumental win in its program’s history. In the land of recruiting and the image change they set out for when they made their exodus to the SEC, beating America’s unanimous #1 team would send the Aggies into uncharted territory of national exposure.
Already, the Aggie’s have experience a perfect storm of fortunate events this season. Stir together the new conference with a transcendent superstar named Johnny Manziel along with the Big XII-but-not-really falling on its face this year—most notably the grumbling going on in Austin—and A&M’s goal of separating itself from the Texas pack may, and could be argued already has, come to fruition.
Saturday, the Aggies may “upset the established order.” If so, they may establish themselves in the SEC as the agent of chaos.