Johnny Manziel’s latest actions leave him with one option: Beat Alabama

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has been no stranger to the spotlight this offseason. Saturday, reports surfaced that he was kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party late last week. He then published a series of defensive tweets Sunday in response to his latest exploit becoming the lead story for many college football websites and the subject of social media sports discussions.

This is how he started:

https://twitter.com/JManziel2/status/361541751556673536

And he continued:

He even fired barbs at a couple of national college football media members for their statements about him:

https://twitter.com/JManziel2/status/361554314336010241

ESPN.com senior columnist Wright Thompson wrote an illuminating piece on Manziel, his family, and what built him into what he is today.

For the purposes of this column, I will focus on how his off-field incidents impact what he can do between the lines.

One important factor in this ongoing saga that may get overlooked is the Aggie fan base. The ’12th Man’ is observing this continuous trail of Johnny Football headlines like the rest of America. How do you think they feel?

Last year’s success certainly caused the expectations for Texas A&M’s 2013 campaign to explode, not to mention what is expected of Manziel himself.

Coupling the above tweets with Manziel’s behavior during the past few months, I think he has pinned himself into a corner. Texas A&M fans will continue to like and advocate for him as long as he continues to bring success to the Aggies. That success this year will most likely be measured by the game against Alabama.

Observing the schedule, A&M seems to have a fairly comfortable road after the game against Alabama. If the Aggies can secure a victory over the Tide, the largest remaining obstacle will be a November 23 trip to Baton Rouge.

With a win over Alabama, I think they will find themselves in Atlanta on the first weekend in December competing for an SEC Championship. If they reach that game, there is a good chance they will win it. The opponent will likely be either Georgia or South Carolina.

So that brings us back to Manziel’s tweets. He said, “Championships are what matters.” That is true, but last time I checked, he has not been involved in any of those since he first donned the Texas A&M uniform.

I believe he is right, though. If he wins a championship this year, many, particularly A&M fans, will forget his offseason run of questionable behavior. Winning a championship of any kind will require beating Alabama. That game will be played at home. The eyes of the nation will be watching, and Johnny Football will have a chance to create new memories for millions about himself.

In Thompson’s feature article, Johnny Manziel’s father, Paul, is quoted as saying he believes this will be Johnny’s last season in College Station. Assuming that comes true, this would provide an opportunity for him to beat Alabama twice in a row, both times at the height of Saban’s tenure. That would be a major feat.

For Manziel, the season creates an opportunity for things to get better or worse. If things go south, it could be a long season for him. The criticisms will continue to come and will be more pointed. On the other hand, more success this year will help Manziel move forward, which is something he desperately needs ahead of next year’s NFL Draft. But the only way to achieve that success is to beat Alabama on September 14th.

Contact Jacob Bunn at jacob@bunnsports.com

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