Bear with me, because this is going to take a moment to explain. My wife, Susan, has a sister, Jeannie. A little over a decade ago, I fixed Jeannie up with my friend, Travis. Travis and Jeannie were married in 1999. I refer to him as my brother-in-law, although, technically, he's my sister-in-law's husband. You with me so far? Good.
Anyway, Travis has a sister, Vera. Vera is an alumna of Texas A&M University, where she met her husband, Neil. Neil is the actual brother-in-law of the guy I refer to as my brother-in-law who isn't really my brother-in-law. (If you're my age, you should be thinking of a line from "Spaceballs" right about now.)
In any case, Neil, being a Texas A&M alumnus, is a dedicated Aggie fan. (How serious are Neil and I about our football? I named my daughter Elizabeth Rose King; her initials spell out the name of my favorite Bulldog defensive coordinator. Neil named one of his daughters Maggie, so his alma mater's mascot appears in his daughter's name. I don't care who you are, you have to admire that.)
Anyway, Neil read my conclusions about the Independence Bowl and he sent me a Facebook message in which he stated the following:
I think your conclusions are pretty accurate, however, the Aggies are a very young team, and they improved greatly as the season went on. Both of the games you are comparing are from the first half of the season. Our offensive line gelled toward the end of the season and true freshman Christine Michael started to carry the ball more. In the Texas game we had 190 yards rushing to go along with 312 yards passing. Texas is no slouch against the run, so I would say we are not the same running team we were against OSU and Arkansas.
Our real problem is we play like a young team. Sometimes the wheels fall off and we look absolutely terrible (KSU and Oklahoma), and sometimes we play way above our heads (Tech in which we rushed for 321 yards and Texas).
I'm glad I'm not a gambler, because I really have no idea which of either of our teams are going to show up.
I am grateful to Neil for those cogent insights, partly because they provide legitimate context to my admittedly limited examination of the games against the two opponents common to both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Texas A&M Aggies, but mostly because they undermined any slight scintilla of confidence I had allowed to creep into my thoughts regarding this game. In the almost two years since the shelling of the Hawaii Warriors in the Sugar Bowl, faith in any Red and Black squad not coached by Suzanne Yoculan inevitably has been the prelude to disappointment, so being given cause to doubt the 'Dawgs is the best Christmas gift I could have been given.