Texas A&M football drew a feisty NC State team for their bowl matchup, but the Aggies won’t be getting the Wolfpack’s best shot.
A trend has been gaining steam in college football over the last few years that causes much debate among fans. Players who have a shot a being high draft picks and nothing to play for in their bowl games are skipping said bowl games to make sure they are healthy for the NFL Draft. It will impact Texas A&M football in their upcoming matchup in the Gator Bowl.
One can certainly see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, these players are looking out for their best interests and are about to make millions of dollars, potentially. You don’t have to look very hard for players who lost millions on their rookie contract due to an injury. Jaylen Smith of the Dallas Cowboys is a recent one that comes to mind.
A way to remove this from the equation would be to pay college athletes, but that’s a debate for another day.
On the other side, fans love it when a player shows how much his school means to him no matter what. These players understand the pride fans have from winning bowl games, and what it could mean for future teams to get that momentum with a victory. Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams was recently asked why Texas A&M players wouldn’t skip bowl games, and the answer is incredible.
You can tell he is earnest in his answer, too. The support from the 12th Man is like no other fan base in the country.
Apparently NC State players don’t see it the same way. The Wolfpack will be without two of their best players for the Gator Bowl. Linebacker Germaine Pratt and wide receiver Kelvin Harmon have decided to sit out to protect their draft prospects.
Pratt led his team with 104 tackles and 10 tackles for loss and also has six sacks on the year. The Wolfpack were a top 15 rush defense this season and he was a major part of that.
Harmon was a monster each of the last two seasons for NC State and would have been a nightmare for Texas A&M’s struggling secondary. He had 81 catches, 1,186 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Both Pratt and Harmon were named All-ACC performers.
It’s unfortunate the Aggies won’t be getting NC State’s best shot. It’s a lose-lose in that if A&M wins, critics will still have an excuse, and if they lose, critics will say they lost to a lesser team.
The players won’t be worried about this. They’ll go out and represent the maroon and white with pride. #BTHOncstate.