"We're not in Kansas anymore."
No. No you're not. And don't look to the wizard for any help.
The Texas A&M Aggies open their inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference this Saturday. Unfortunately for them, there will be no more trips to Kansas. Those mid-season trips to places such as Lawrence have been replaced with trips to the likes of Auburn, AL, Starkville, MS and Tuscaloosa, AL. A far cry from the half empty stadiums that occupy much of the Big 12.
The Aggies aren't exactly easing into their season. Most teams not named Alabama spend opening weekend beating up on less than formidable opponents (see Oklahoma State & Florida State). Texas A&M had every intention of doing just that. That is, until a little storm named Isaac rolled through and cancelled their opener against Louisiana Tech. They now get the privilege of opening their season hosting the 24th ranked Florida Gators.
And if having to play the Florida Gators on national television to open their season wasn't enough, the Aggies are having to break in a new coach, Kevin Sumlin, and a new quarterback, Johnny Manziel. A red-shirt freshman quarterback who is having to replace NFL first round draft pick, Ryan Tannehill. Red-shirt freshmen quarterbacks don't generally fare well against SEC defenses. Manziel's last live snap from under center was nearly two years ago in the Texas High School playoffs. The Florida Gators' defense will be a far cry from the Lake Travis Cavaliers (no offense to the Cavs).
Here's where you usually throw in the old adage, "That's why they play the game." But let's be honest, it will take the Gators falling flat on their faces on the fifty yard line of Kyle Field for the Aggies to have any hope in this game. It's true, there's no place like home and the Aggies do have that going for them. But look for Florida to try and prove a point by running the ball down the throat of the Aggie defense and give the new kids on the block a rude welcome to the league.
Especially after an ill-timed billboard showed up in Gainesville, FL just miles from the UF campus.
The billboard reads: “You've been annexed by Aggie Nation. The Best Academics & Cleanest Program in the SEC. WHOOP! Real Football. Real Tradition.”
And even though the Florida players are brushing it off, you can be sure they want to make a statement on Saturday and let the Aggies know exactly where they stand in the pecking order of SEC royalty.
The Aggies may be left clicking their heels saying, "There's no place like Lawrence. There's no place like Lawrence."
Welcome to the SEC.
Where To Watch: Texas A&M v. Florida