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Hot Reads: Are the Aggies as good as the school PR department?

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The atmosphere at Kyle Field was the closest thing you could get to the SEC. Now that Texas A&M is actually in the conference, we'll see how the team stacks up. (Source; Wiki Commons/MECU) The atmosphere at Kyle Field was the closest thing you could get to the SEC. Now that Texas A&M is actually in the conference, we'll see how the team stacks up. (Source; Wiki Commons/MECU)
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(RNN) – It wasn't an exciting first week in the SEC, but then again, with paycheck games and feature matchups that didn't live up to pre-game hype, that pretty much means things went along as usual.

I think if we make an honest assessment, we'll find the true reason why we all get so excited about the beginning of college football season – the Oregon Ducks' uniforms.

Now if those guys played in the SEC, that would make for a heck of a show. It would look something like inmates dressed in flamboyant green and yellow jumpsuits running away from really buff prison guards.

I'm just saying.

But since the rulers of Conference Configuration Land denied us of that privilege, we'll just have to go with what we got. And what we got is pretty good.

SEC, Welcome to Aggieland

No one really believes that the new teams in the SEC will do all that well this season (that is, no one outside of College Station, TX, and Columbia, MO), but Texas A&M does have one thing going for it.

Even before they officially became league members, the fervor of the Aggies' fans made Kyle Field the closest thing you could get to an SEC atmosphere. And boy, did they ever dump a boatload of dough into promoting this season.

The stadium's capacity of 83,000 does not by any means make it one of the largest venues in this conference, but leave no doubt people take college football seriously in College Station. And they get loud … real loud.

But will the famed "12th Man" give them an advantage on game day? That depends on how you look at things.

Remember, this is the SEC, or as one college coaching buddy of mine refers to it, NFL Lite. By the time kids in these programs hit their sophomore years, 80,000 people sounds like nothing more than a hum through their earholes.

On the other hand, look at the SEC teams making trips to Kyle Field this season. Florida still doesn't have a quarterback – or much of anything else on offense, for that matter – so crowd noise might just play a factor against a unit that had a hard enough time putting things together against Bowling Green at home last week.

The next incoming opponent, Arkansas, has a three-game winning streak against Texas A&M since they resumed their annual rivalry in 2009. But the Razorbacks haven't actually won a game in College Station since 1989.

Then there's LSU, and Missouri to close out the season. A 5-1 home record this year for the Aggies? It's not impossible, and it could mean a fairly decent inaugural season in the SEC if they can go at least .500 on the road against SMU, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama.

Mizzou Who?

Put Missouri down as the most likely league newcomer to get lost in the shuffle. The Tigers will invite Georgia into Columbia for their first-ever SEC game.

I really would like to tell you that Missouri won't be the punching bag for other teams this year, but I would also like to tell you that your kids will be millionaires and take care of you when you grow old.

While neither is impossible, the likelihood of each is pretty slim.

The crazy part is Mizzou is not that bad, even without talented running back Henry Josey, who still hasn't fully recovered from a devastating knee injury last November.

They have a receiver who is so prototypical it's like he was conceived in a lab (Dorial Green-Beckham), a good quarterback (James Franklin) and a solid replacement at running back (Kendial Lawrence).

But they also have a defense that is, uh well … we'll just leave it at that for now.

The tipping point could be how the Tigers handle their league road schedule. They travel to South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M, where they're 3-1 against the Aggies in the last four meetings.

Mississippi State vs. History: History wins

The last time the Bulldogs won an SEC opener, people were allowed to wear their shoes through an airport security screening.

The year was 1999. The Bulldogs beat South Carolina 17-0, and they haven't sniffed a 1-0 league start since. Ironically, that was also just the second time in history MSU had a 10-win season.

The Bulldogs also have a four-game losing streak against Auburn and have won just once in the last 11 meetings. Adding insult to injury, Auburn is undefeated under coach Gene Chizik in SEC openers.

You still have to wonder if Kiehl Frazier will appear a little less starstruck than he did against Clemson, but even a mediocre performance could get the Tigers past the Bulldogs.

The key for the Bulldogs is to find a way to win the third quarter. They are unbeaten in their last 25 games when leading after three, and at this point in the season Auburn is probably not a team that is going to come from behind.

So Long For Now

Take a good look because Saturday is one of the few chances Ole Miss will have at a win for the rest of the season.

But don't worry, Rebel fans. Hot Reads will make inclusion a top priority. Just because the football team will die a slow, painful death almost every Saturday doesn't mean they won't get mentioned.

No sir, there aren't going to be any favorites around here. We're going to make sure the folks in Oxford are proud supporters of a two-win team if it kills us.

Call it the Era of Good Losing. Tip one back on The Grove and scream Hotty Toddy until you pass out, Rebel Nation. This one's for you.

This Week's Unique Stat

Five: By show of hands, who can guess what team has the longest active winning streak in the nation? Nope, not Alabama, sorry. But the Tide is one of three SEC schools – along with South Carolina and Missouri – that have the third-longest streak with five wins. It's actually TCU that has gone the longest without losing – a whopping eight games ago.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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