Everyday, more details appear to emerge regarding the autographs for money scheme involving last year’s Heisman winner, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. While the futures and fortunes of Manziel, Texas A&M, and even the NCAA remain in the spotlight, the SEC West race will be one of the most affected by this alleged scandal.
The SEC West, arguably the toughest division in all of college football, has produced five of the last seven national champions. At this point, it figures to be extremely relevant once more as three teams, which include Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU reside in the top 13 of the initial coach’s poll. Thus, the outcome of this division has a significant impact on the direction of this year’s road to the national championship.
Alabama enters as the favorite in the division after coming off of a second straight national championship. LSU and Texas A&M join the Crimson Tide as the seemingly only teams with a chance to win the West. Each team had 1-1 record against the other two last year, but the key to the matchups this upcoming year is Manziel. He is the most electrifying player in the game and an indispensible piece of the Aggie offense. With “Johnny Football” potentially ineligible, what will become of this divisional race?
With Arkansas rebuilding and teams like Auburn, Mississippi, and Mississippi State undermanned but possessing promise, the loss of Manziel would derail Texas A&M and turn the SEC West into a battle to be decided in Tuscaloosa on November, 9th when the Bayou Bengals take on Alabama. This gives an advantage to Alabama to win this game and go to Atlanta to compete for the conference championship.
What was shaping up to become an exhilarating three-way battle for SEC West supremacy is now heading to become a two-horse race and potentially another divisional championship for the Crimson Tide. Manziel is the most important player in the division, and he could have just signed away the chances of he and his team’s ambition for a trip to the Georgia Dome this December.