Almost no one saw Thursday night coming. Many in Texas are ready to crown Kenny Hill; many in Carolina are ready to wait for next year. Of course it’s not as good or as bad as it seems. Until more games are played, it’s tough to say what to make of Thursday, but consider these two possibilities.
What if Texas A&M is a little better than South Carolina, say 6 points or so? And what if they had a good game plan and a good night, that stretched that advantage to 10? Then what if South Carolina dropped a touchdown and missed a field goal? Then that 10 point advantage became 17. And what if early frustrations exacerbated problems on a young defense, a defense where sophomores are counted on to be veterans? Could you lose by 24 in that scenario, but not really be that inferior to your opponent?
If that’s possible, then it’s possible this South Carolina team can rally, win some games, perhaps more than some.
But, what if Texas A&M is good, but not great? What if you simply can’t miss on defensive ends every year and expect to compete? What if young corners may do great things in their careers, but not yet? What if the offensive line, hailed as the greatest in a decade, had a crucial injury relegating it to merely good? What if youth and inexperience are a perpetual mismatch for Kevin Sumlin’s kind of offense? Could you lose by 24 in a game that didn’t feel that close?
Yeah, that could happen, and it could presage a long season.
Or, what if you only had to wait one week to know? Carolina plays an up tempo team that will try to exploit every weakness the Aggies found. If they can win that game, with or without style points, don’t you have to think the former explanation is more likely than the latter?