|Johnny Manziel found plenty of room to run vs. Auburn. (US Presswire)|
TEXAS A&M WON. Yes, by successfully bringing 11 players to Jordan-Hare Stadium to play a defeated, lifeless Auburn team, the Aggies were able to narrowly escape Jordan-Hare Stadium's cauldron-like atmosphere (not quite) with a mere 42-point win. It helps when one of those 11 players is Johnny Manziel, of course: the sensational redshirt freshman threw for 260 yards, rushed for 90 more, and scored a total of 5 touchdowns as Auburn proved totally unable to cope with the Aggies' spread offense. The 672 yards were the most allowed in Auburn history; the 63 points were the most allowed since 1917; the 42-point margin tied for the worst home defeat in program history.
WHY TEXAS A&M WON. Because Auburn has the uniforms and the stadium and most of the coaching staff left over from their glorious 2010 run -- and even a handful of players, like senior wideout Emory Blake, one of the team's precious few bright spots -- but in every measurable way, it's simply a shell of the program that lifted the crystal football only two seasons ago. The offense has no identity, its quarterbacks a mystery from snap-to-snap; the defense looks clueless against any team (say, not LSU) that dares to spread the field out, particularly to run; the squad as a whole looks entirely devoid of belief or emotion. Gene Chizik can still save his job with a big win over the Tigers' rivals from Georgia or Alabama, but the despair that seemed to blanket Jordan-Hare Saturday night suggested that's his only way out -- and on the basis of the Tigers' performance, wins like those are about as likely as Chizik growing wings and flying into the sun.
Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies deserve credit for putting their boot to the Tigers' metaphorical throat -- they were up 28-0 before Auburn even had a first down. But the team they beat Saturday appeared to have been beaten before it ever took the field.
WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. Manziel hit Ryan Swope for a 16-yard touchdown on A&M's opening drive, giving the Aggies a 7-0 lead with 11:18 left in the first quarter. That pretty well did it.
WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. A nice 6-2 start, but also the permanent right to point to their Big 12-style offense as more than enough to hold their own against certain SEC defenses. If there was a team that didn't belong in the SEC Saturday, it wasn't the visitors.
WHAT AUBURN LOST. All hope.