SEC SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN: TEXAS A&M
Aggies looking for a new start, transfer QB takes over
Welcome back to our SEC schedule breakdown, We start week number three with my pick to finish 10th in the SEC. So far I have picked Auburn to finish 14th, Kentucky 13th, South Carolina 12th, Missouri 11th, Mississippi State 10th, and Vanderbilt 9th.
The Pick: Texas A&M
League Finish: 8th
Division Finish: 5th
SEC Record: 4-4
Overall Record: 7-5
Bowl Game: AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Texas A&M is a team that I just can’t really seem to make up my mind about. Part of me thinks they could go 9-3 and finish third in the West and the other part of me says they could finish sixth or seventh in the West.
Trevor Knight is a great player and a very talented quarterback, I don’t think he lost the job at Oklahoma because he is a bad QB. I think it just came down to the fact that Baker Mayfield is just the better of the two.
Knight is definitely the type of quarterback A&M needs and he is more than capable of leading the Aggies to an SEC title game.
Myles Garrett may be the best defensive player in the nation and he has one of the best defensive units surrounding him. Garrett has a proven ability to get to the opposing quarterback and we know John Chavis loves to send the blitz.
A player the caliber of Garrett is someone that can take an average Chavis defense and make it one of his best defenses he has ever had.
Kevin Sumlin has a lot to prove this season and while I don’t think he is coaching for his job in 2016, a bad season will give him the hottest seat heading into 2017. It hasn’t been a quite offseason like he would have liked, but if he can keep things quiet and Trevor Knight can be an elite level QB than it could be a big year for the boys in College Station.
Week one Texas A&M vs. UCLA. Sat, Sept. 3rd
Things won’t start off easy for the Aggies as they host the Bruins in week one. A&M gets UCLA at home and the Texas heat could play a major role in how the game is played. If UCLA isn’t properly prepared to play in possible 100 degree temps or higher, than the Bruins could be in trouble. We could also see the best QB matchup in week one in this game. Trevor Knight and Josh Rosen are both capable of lighting up the scoreboard. This one could come down to two things, which QB makes the lest mistakes and witch defense can make a big play in a critical spot. This one could very easily go the Aggies way, but right now I’m picking UCLA to win because I could see Knight getting off to a slow start week one.
Week two Texas A&M vs. Prairie View A&M. Sat, Sept. 10th
This one is pretty simple as the Aggies will have the far superior roster and the talent advantage at every position. Knight should be able to find his rhythm in the offense in week two and it should be over quickly. The Aggies win big in week two and get ready to head into SEC play.
Week three Texas A&M @ Auburn. Sat, Sept. 17th
This week three matchup will be a very important one for both Auburn and the Aggies. Not like every early season conference game isn’t important, but there may not be two teams that need an early win in league play more than these two. This will come down to two things. Texas A&M having the better defense and we know barring injury who will start at QB for the Aggies. Texas A&M actually having a stable quarterback is why they win this game.
Week four Texas A&M vs Arkansas. Sat, Sept. 24th
In the second of five straight SEC games the Aggies welcome the Razorbacks into ‘College Station’. This will be the first SEC game of the season for Arkansas and the fact it’s on the road verses a quality team like A&M will make it hard for the Hogs to get a win. While I Think the Hogs will be one of the SEC’s best teams later in the season, they are replacing six starters on offense and their back up running back so they could get off to a slow start. Losing a one-thousand-yard rusher is hard to replace, but losing two is near impossible and that is the task Arkansas faces in 2016 that scares me the most about picking them in this game. That being said this is a swing game for both teams and it could come down to which team wins the momentum battle. I think Arkansas finds a way to win, but this is one the Aggies could easily steal.
Week five Texas A&M @ South Carolina. Sat, Oct. 1st
The Aggies get their two SEC East opponents in the first half of the season, starting with this week five trip to South Carolina. The Gamecocks could have some level of mystery around them early in the first year of the Will Muschamp era, but with four weeks to scout the Gamecocks the Aggies defense will be hard to surprise. Texas A&M has the better roster and a coach that we know is capable of winning. Muschamp on the other hand has a lot to prove before I will say he is capable of making a game winning decision. Kevin Sumlin will find a way to make Trevor Knight unstoppable verse the Gamecocks and the Aggies win, moving to 3-2 and 2-1 in SEC play.
Week six Texas A&M vs. Tennessee. Sat, Oct. 8th
The Vols will prove a much harder task than the Gamecocks for Texas A&M. Tennessee has a defense that is more than capable of stopping the Aggies expulsive offense. John Chavis, will have a tough time slowing down what could be the best three-headed running attack in the country in Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara. The thing is Tennessee could very easily come into this game undefeated, with a match up the next week with Alabama in Neyland Stadium. This could be a steal game for the Aggies as the Vols could fall into the looking ahead trap and drop a game they should win. Tennessee could be looking at a two loss season and it’s two games verses the SEC West are definitely two of its hardest games in 2016. When all is said and done I think the Vols avoid the trap game and take home the win, dropping the Aggies to 3-3 and 2-2 in the SEC.
Week eight Texas A&M @ Alabama. Sat, Oct. 22nd
The Aggies will be coming of a much needed buy week as they head down to Tuscaloosa to play the Crimson Tide. The Tide however could be worse for wear entering this matchup. Alabama will have already played USC, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee before they host the Aggies. Now, I’m not trying to say Alabama is a weak team, but it’s their games in weeks six and seven that could make them ripe for the picking. Alabama has back to back road games verses Arkansas and Tennessee right before its matchup with the Aggies. The Hogs and Vols will give the Tide their most physical games of the season and Bama could be beat up entering week eight. That’s why I’m picking the Aggies to get the upset at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Hogs and Vols should get an assist on this win for A&M, despite the fact both teams should have handed the Aggies a loss on the season they wouldn’t beat Bama if they weren’t hurting form the last two weeks’ road trips. On top of that, it wouldn’t be the first time a transfer QB beat the Tide in Bryant-Denny for the Aggies.
Week nine Texas A&M vs. New Mexico State. Sat, Oct. 29th
The Aggies take a break from SEC play after their major upset of Alabama last week. This much like the Prairie View A&M game should be over early. The Aggies have the more talented roster and superior bench. The Aggies defense alone will be an impossible mountain for New Mexico St. to climb. Texas A&M wins big and moves to 5-3 overall.
Week ten Texas A&M @ Mississippi State. Sat, Nov. 5th
This one is a swing game for both teams in my book and could help shape the last month of the season for both squads. A&M should have the slightly more talented roster, but Miss State might have the deeper team. I think this one comes down to the wire and the Aggies find a way to win in Starkville.
Week eleven Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss. Sat, Nov. 12th
The Aggies take on an opponent from the state of Mississippi for the second straight week. While they got lucky and found a way to win late on the road verses Mississippi State, they won’t be as lucky at home verse Ole Miss. The Rebels have to replace a lot on both offense and defense and could get off to a slow start, but by the end of the season should be running on all cylinders. Chad Kelly will prove to be just a bit much for A&M to stop completely and the Aggies fall in week 11. Dropping to a record of 6-4 and 4-3 in the SEC.
Week twelve Texas A&M vs. UTSA. Sat, Nov. 19th
The Aggies host the Roadrunners of Texas San Antonio in week 12 and this won should go how you would expect an SEC vs. C-USA matchup to go. The Aggies will win big and pick up win number seven on the season for Kevin Sumlin. Also the starters should be able to get plenty of rest before next week’s regular season finale verse LSU.
Week thirteen Texas A&M vs. LSU. Thu, Nov. 24th
This SEC West battle might be the marquee matchup in the league this week. LSU will be playing for a possible trip to Atlanta and a shot at both the SEC and National Championships, Texas A&M on the other hand will be playing for a better bowl game. The Aggies shot to get to the SEC title game ended with the loss to Ole Miss. This one won’t be an easy one for the Tigers, but it will be a must win game to win the West. Les Miles finds a way to get his team to Atlanta and ends the Aggies SEC season at 4-4, but a 7-5 regular season will be okay with the fans in ‘College Station’.
The Aggies will go bowling and could even wind up with a SEC West title in 2016 if everything works out. They might just be the hardest team to figure out in the entire league this year. The Aggies are just as capable of winning the West as they are of coming in last place. This much I can guarantee, the Aggies and Trevor Knight will be fun to watch in 2016.
Stay tuned later this week for my pick to finish seventh in the SEC this season.