Top 10 matchup: Aggies-Vols a mirror image

Countless similarities exist between No. 8-ranked Texas A&M and No. 9 Tennessee. Read more to go inside Vols football.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the best team in college football?

The beauty of the sport is that it will be decided on the field with the regular season meaning as much or more than any of America’s pastimes.

Tennessee and Texas A&M have not squared up since the Orange & White took down the Aggies 38-7 in the 2005 Cotton Bowl, which was long before A&M joined the SEC. They’ve never played in the regular season.

It’s uncanny who closely the two resemble each other far beyond their rankings with the Aggies at No. 8 and the Volunteers No. 9.

The one-upping from College Station versus Rocky Top includes Kyle Field’s expansion to a capacity of 102,733, which is now higher than Neyland Stadium’s 102,455. However, the Aggies have not yet played in front of a full in 2016 with the UCLA game figure (100,443) being the closest.

Both have canine mascots on the field with Reveille on one end and Smokey on the other.

John “Chief” Chavis used to bark out defensive calls for the Vols. Now he does for the Aggies.

The second-leading rusher for the pair is the quarterback. Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs has a net of 267 rushing yards with five touchdowns. The Aggies' Trevor Knight has 392 on the ground with six scores.

Both have likely NFL Draft first-round picks at the defensive end position in Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and A&M’s Myles Garrett.

After each won road games over SEC East teams last week, they both face the Crimson Tide after they take on one another, making Saturday something of a first-round College Football Playoff contest, which could include a losers’ bracket for a Power 5 like the SEC that has six teams in the Associated Press Top 25.

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1713818-mckenzie-on-vol-nat... Sumlin is in his fifth year as the Aggies’ head coach, while Butch Jones is in his fourth on The Hill.

Both have fan bases that expect the goose egg to stay hung on the loss column. Bandwagons can empty in a hurry when bragging rights over rivals are lost.

“If we lose this week, it’s not indicative of anything — our season’s not over,” Kevin Sumlin said Tuesday. “We’re playing good football.”

Don’t look for the Aggies to roll out the maroon carpet for Tennessee. They’ve opened up 5-0 three straight years but the sixth contest ended in losses in both 2014 (Arkansas 35-28) and 2015 (Alabama 41-23).

“When people ask me, ‘What’s different?’ How they’ve gone about their business has been different, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon,” Sumlin said.

Each could be without talented starters as receivers Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones as well as offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor didn’t go with A&M to South Carolina last week. Tennessee beat Florida and Georgia without linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. and cornerback Cameron Sutton.

“With the injuries, we’re limited in a lot of spots now,” Jones said Monday. “So, reps are at a premium. So, we need some other individuals to really step up.”

Owning the second half is common for both with Tennessee outscoring its five foes 107-38, while A&M carries a 101-34 advantage.

Neither team has improved to 6-0 this century. The last time the Aggies did it was 1994 and it was 1998 when Tennessee accomplished it.

One vast difference will exist between the two after this dogfight as one will have a loss, one won’t.

Kickoff is Saturday at 2:30 Central (TV: CBS).

Dobbs looks ahead at matchup with Aggies


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