Conventional college football wisdom suggests that the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta will be the very last college game played by Johnny Manziel.
The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has electrified SEC fans for the past two seasons, and it appears that Texas A&M’s New Year’s Eve showdown against Duke will most likely be his last hurrah in an A&M uniform. Although he didn’t repeat as Heisman winner, Manziel enjoyed another fantastic season this year, producing a total of 41 offensive touchdowns.
The Aggies’ opponent in the Georgia Dome will be ACC runner-up Duke. The Blue Devils churned out 10 victories in 2013 under David Cutcliffe. The former Ole Miss head coach and long-time Tennessee offensive coordinator is no stranger to SEC speed.
On Tuesday night, Cutcliffe will attempt to slow down the high-powered Texas A&M offense. Manziel draws most of the attention, but Mike Evans, A&M’s 6’5” wide receiver, also serves as a dangerous threat to any opposing defense.
While limiting Manziel, Evans, and the explosive Aggies offense will be key to a Duke victory, the other side of the ball is just as important. Led by offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, the Blue Devils have a potent offense of their own. Roper is coaching in his final game at Duke before taking over the same position with the Florida Gators. The unit is led by wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who hauled in a school-record 96 catches this season. Crowder will be looking to take advantage of a shaky A&M defense that yields 460 yards per contest. Translation: Expect lots of the scoring in this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The Blue Devils will find the A&M defense to be much more manageable than the Florida State unit they faced in the ACC Championship Game. While Duke will be able to produce points, they won’t be able to keep up with Manziel and company for four quarters. This one will be fun to watch, and the Aggies will prevail. Texas A&M 44, Duke 31.
Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN