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Texas A&M: The triumph of the spread?

Texas A&M has become the hot story in college football since upsetting heretofore indestructible Alabama on Saturday. Yes, that would be the same A&M featuring coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Klif Kingsbury's gimmicky Air Raid offense that was supposedly going to get trucked by the SEC's big boys.

A&M's spread attack rang up more than 400 yards of total offense, including 165 on the ground. For the game, the Aggies converted a cool 11 of 18 third-down opportunities. A&M scored 29 points, the most allowed by the Crimson Tide since early in 2010.

For Nicktator fetishists who bought into the idea of grinding, pro-style offense as the Sabonic form of football, it probably felt like watching a speeding bullet bounce off a Kleenex.

As Sumlin's team has defied expectations in the school's first season playing in the SEC, the Aggies are challenging the southern-fried dogma that "grown man" football is a superior scheme to five wides and flinging it around. While other programs went out seeking Process-loving Saban disciples in hopes of beating the master at his own game, A&M brought in an expert in the exact scheme that supposedly couldn't work.

So far, it has been pretty hard to argue with the results. The Aggies deserve bonus points for doing it in their first year with a new coaching staff and – Johnny Football hype be damned – a freshman quarterback replacing a top 10 pick in April's NFL draft.

Has the genius of the spread been vindicated? A&M's success will almost certainly entice some holdouts to embrace wide open, fancy pants offenses.

Let's slow that roll. After all, recent history offers plenty of examples in which SEC teams have shut down high-powered spread teams. That even goes for A&M this season, given that Florida and LSU slowed the Aggies considerably in their meetings this year. Not to mention, spread-heavy Missouri isn't exactly setting the world on fire in its first season in the SEC.

Count it instead as a compelling rebuttal to the argument that there is some style or scheme that is truly superior to all others.

Ultimately,  the lesson should be that football is about match-ups – how teams attack their opponents and who is doing the attacking. As Texas A&M showed the college football world over the weekend, there's more than one way to skin an elephant.

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