Matthew Bartlett (@_MBartlett_) is a national college football writer and a stats junkie. He always hopes for the upset and has never wavered in his support for Texas A&M. Matthew currently serves as the site expert for Saturday Blitz. Matthew is making his third appearance on the Other Sideline.
1. What is a Texas A&M fan’s first thought about Auburn football right now?
Lots of uncertainty. The Oregon win was a big one, but they Auburn could have just as easily lost that game as well. Texas A&M didn’t show much against Clemson, so it’s hard to really know which team is closer to being a contender in the SEC West right now.
2. What’s the vibe like in College Station right now?
A mix of nerves and excitement. The difficulty of Texas A&M’s schedule has been national news and Auburn is the first real test of the games that will determine whether or not the season goes as expected. Texas A&M doesn’t have much wiggle room if they want to make it past the 7-5 threshold, so beating Auburn is a must.
3. Would you rather have lunch with Cam Newton, Charles Barkley, or Frank Thomas and why?
Charles Barkley, hands down. I’ve seen enough of his outtakes on tv to know I’d probably be laughing the entire time.
4. I’m scared of College Station, even though Auburn has never lost there. Is that becoming something to think about with the Aggies?
Texas A&M has had arguably more marquee wins on the road than at home since joining the SEC (including knocking off Auburn). Right now, it’s more of a strange quirk. The home field advantage of Kyle Field is as strong as it’s ever been.
5. Name two Aggies that Auburn fans should be worried about.
Quarterback Kellen Mond’s play will set the tone for the Aggies on Saturday. His ability to stand in the pocket and make calm, effective throws to his myriad of passing targets will be huge.
On defense, Justin Madubuike is going to bring some intensity to a Texas A&M pass rush which is going to make life difficult for Bo Nix.
6. Who are two Tigers that worry you and why?
Nix is still such an enigma. His comeback against Oregon was special but he hasn’t had to do much in the other two games Auburn has played this season. If he gets put into a corner, will he be able to pull off a similar rally?
On defense, Jeremiah Dinson has been having an impressive season. Him against a veteran corps of Texas A&M wideouts will be a fun battle to watch.
7. What’s going to be the biggest matchup of the game?
The Texas A&M offensive line against the Auburn front seven. If the Aggies can stay on script, control the clock and force Auburn to play their style of game, things should work out in their favor. But, for the umpteenth year in a row, that’ll be easier said than done with a pass rush that will be a challenge to defend.
8. What is your score prediction for the game?
Texas A&M 31, Auburn 28
9. Where do you see Texas A&M and Auburn ending up this season?
Somewhere in the 2-3-4 range in the SEC West. Not only does the gap behind Alabama seem to be narrowing, but that second tier behind the Tide is also starting to solidify. At least until Auburn does eventually get tired of Gus Malzahn and roll the dice with somebody new.
10. What are three things that you’ve gigged and rank them?
If we’re taking gigging at a literal level as things I’ve speared in some form for fashion, it’s all food …
3. Corn on the cob