For the first time in a decade, Tennessee has one of the top football teams in the country — the Vols are ranked inside the AP Top 10 for the first time since 2005. However, as any seasoned college football fan knows, anything can happen during the season and although some games appear to be cupcakes, football is unpredictable.
The Vols could be susceptible to the “trap game” phenomenon in 2016.
Tennessee, now a top 10 team in the country, has massive expectations, talent and now experienced depth as well. All these factors came together to create an enormous hype machine that could make it difficult for the Vols to focus.
That leads us to Tennessee’s biggest trap game of 2016 — Texas A&M.
There are many who are (surprisingly) predicting the Vols to go 12-0 this season. But even most of those who expect a loss or two are overlooking the Aggies.
Texas A&M’s impressive receiving corps poses quite the dilemma for Tennessee. Outside of Cam Sutton, the Vols don’t have any exceptional corners who can match up with the Aggie receivers. Assuming Sutton shadows Christian Kirk for the game, that leaves Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil with favorable matchups.
On the other side of the ball, the Aggies will field arguably the best defense they have lined up under Kevin Sumlin. In particular, the defensive line down in College Station is poised to wreak havoc. Led by All-American Myles Garrett, the entire line is filled with talent. Daeshon Hall, Keke Kingsley, and Daylon Mack are just a few that have the ability to give opposing offenses headaches. Because Tennessee’s Chance Hall expected to miss the game against Texas A&M, the Volunteer offense may run into a road block when dealing with the front seven of the Aggies.
The Aggies have premier talent on the field. Don’t forget about the premier venue the team plays in.
Kyle Field is one of the toughest places for any team to visit. When Tennessee comes to town, the Aggie faithful should be plenty invested and hyped for the showdown. With all 102,733 Aggie fans going wild, the Vols will have to maintain focus if they hope to leave College Station with a win.
Tennessee will be coming off a pivotal matchup with Georgia to likely decide the SEC East champion. The Vols return home after the trip to College Station to play defending national champion Alabama the week after. Tennessee might be emotionally exhausted after a big win or disappointing loss to Georgia, but then the Vols could be caught looking ahead to the next week against the Crimson Tide. If Tennessee is not fully focused against Texas A&M, watch out, Vols.
Edited by Nathan Odom
Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics