IT's A&M game picks

IT's Michael Pearle and Clendon Ross give you their picks, and the reasoning behind those picks, in this Friday's game between Texas and A&M. And FYI, over the last two games, Ross' score predictions have been off by a TOTAL of four points. Will his pick again be that close this week?

IT's Picks:

Pearle -- Ok, I’ve said my piece on respecting the Aggies on their home field (see Aggies are ailing, but beware Kyle Field), which I think Texas must in order to win. But one thing I feel great about is the fact that after the horrible experience of ‘99, what with the Ramada incident and having to endure the Aggies at their sanctimonious worst at the end of that game, Mack Brown is no longer a College Station virgin. The man has taken his team into one of college football’s worst snake pits and, despite handling the situation with the utmost class, brought them out a loser. I believe Brown learned from the experience and will have his team at a fever pitch for this ballgame. I expect Texas to be focused and to play high intensity football for 60 minutes. Chris Simms has dealt with the Kyle crazies before and won’t be intimidated. The receivers are veterans now as sophomores and will catch the football. And Cedric Benson will just keep doing what he has been doing ever since he first picked up a pigskin -- run, run, run. Defensively, Texas, led by the energetic Cory Redding and Rod Babers, will feed off the hostility of the crowd and play jacked up football. Derrick Johnson will remind A&M of the kind of LBs they used to field but now are losing to Texas as he flies to deliver crushing blows to Farris and the Aggie RBs. I see A&M’s defense keeping them in the game for most of three quarters, but I think the Texas defense will play even better, and give the Ag O virtually nothing. I look for a relatively low scoring contest that Texas wins 27-13.

Ross -- Pearle, I believe, hit above on the most important factor in picking Texas to win this football game: the events of '99. The UT program under Mack Brown is distancing itself talent-wise from A&M, but that factor can still be mitigated in College Station. What can't be mitigated is the emotional advantage, barring some unforeseen event over the next few days, that the Horns will take into Kyle Field, largely because of events of two years ago. At a time of unprecedented goodwill between the two teams because of the tragic loss of life in the Bonfire collapse, Brown learned the depth of Aggie depravity with late night phone calls, game morning food depravation and "Beat the hell outta tu" bleating from the bozo brigade in the Kyle Field stands. I guarantee you he has not forgotten, and thus, nor will his team. Texas will play this game with a mad-on. That, coupled with the Horns talent edge, will push UT to 10-1. And, yes, Cedric Benson will become the Horns' all-time leading freshman rusher with his performance on the Ags' sacred field. Texas 33, A&M 14.

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