The 2016 SEC on CBS season gets started on Saturday with a thrilling nonconference matchup as No. 16 UCLA travels to Kyle Field to take on Texas A&M. Let's take a look at the upcoming game.
UCLA: The Bruins are looking to live up to their No. 16 preseason ranking behind the arm of star sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen. Rosen has a new offensive coordinator in Kennedy Polamalu for 2016, who was promoted after Noel Mazzone left Los Angeles to become the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M. The Bruins will be going to a more pro-style system with their talented quarterback at the helm. UCLA hasn't won a division title since Jim Mora Jr.'s first year in 2012, and it can make a statement in the opener against a talented SEC opponent.
Texas A&M: For the Aggies, it's all about making their on-field results match up with their incredibly talented roster. John Chavis enters his second season as the Aggies' defensive coordinator and has some absolute studs on the defensive line, led by star defensive end Myles Garrett. Last year, the Aggies were among the nation's best against the pass, but one of the worst against the run. A better balanced defense could help take them to the next level. Texas A&M's offense is littered with former blue-chip receivers, and Oklahoma transfer Trevor Knight gets his first start as the Aggies' quarterback with all of those weapons around him. Talent isn't an excuse, and coach Kevin Sumlin can cool off his seat with a win at home in the opener.
Players to watch
Soso Jamabo, UCLA RB: Paul Perkins is gone and Jamabo can expect to get a bigger workload in his sophomore season after showing flashes of brilliance as a freshman. He's UCLA's home run hitter in the backfield and against Texas A&M's fearsome pass rush -- and relatively soft rush defense -- he will be crucial to the Bruins neutralizing Garrett and company. If the Aggies' haven't become a more disciplined rush defense, Jamabo could pop them for some big runs.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M WR/PR/KR: Kirk is Texas A&M's sophomore stud that can have a huge impact on the game in multiple ways. Kirk gives the Aggies a threat for big plays on offense and special teams because of his incredible ability in the open field. Kirk showed that ability as a freshman, and with a more seasoned quarterback in Knight, the Aggies are hoping to get the ball to him on target more consistently to let him go to work in space.
Matchup to watch
Texas A&M's defensive line vs. Josh Rosen: This matchup could very well feature the next two No. 1 overall picks in the 2017 and 2018 NFL Drafts, respectively, in Garrett and Rosen. Chavis is going to look to heat up the sophomore with pressure and get him to make mistakes. If UCLA falls behind the chains, Rosen will feel that pressure. Mora has talked about giving Rosen more responsibilities at the line of scrimmage this offseason and making the right reads and checks to get the ball out quickly in the face of pressure will be huge for the Bruins. If not, Garrett, Daeshon Hall, Daylon Mack and others are going to make it a long afternoon for Rosen.