The Texas A&M football team has a challenging schedule in 2013, which would be expected of any team in the West division of the Southeastern Conference. Everyone knows about the marquee games, but the schedule contains multiple games that could result in a loss if the Aggies do not enter the game focused and prepared.
When making a schedule, the power programs in college football try to schedule seven home games and five road games. They basically pay three non-conference opponents to come into their stadium and be sacrificial lambs on the field in games that will help the home team get closer to bowl eligibility.
The visiting teams like the arrangement because it provides a big boost to their athletic department bottom line. You add in the typical four home conference games, four road conference games and another neutral site or road non-conference game to come up with a seven-to-five home and road split.
That is a typical college football schedule. In 2012, the Aggies played only six home games due to scheduling conflicts created by the move to the Southeastern Conference. The Aggies will play eight home games in 2013 with only four road games.
Even with such a favorable travel schedule, the Aggies still face some opponents they could stumble against. This is a look at the trap games on the Aggies schedule.
The SMU game on September 21 is not a trap game because of what the Ponies will bring to Kyle Field, but because of who the Aggies play the week before. On September 14 the Aggies face off against No. 1 Alabama in one of the most hyped regular season games in recent memory.
If the Aggies beat Alabama they will be flying high and may overlook SMU. If they lose to Alabama then they may be so down after so much focus and energy went into one game, that they are not prepared to play the next week.
SMU was not impressive in a 41-23 home loss to Texas Tech, but any team with June Jones and Hal Mumme on the sidelines is dangerous. The Aggies will need to be focused to beat the Mustangs at Kyle Field.
Arkansas is the first road game of the year for the Aggies. The Razorbacks were impressive in a 34-14 season-opening victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Arkansas gained 292 yards on the ground and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Those are Wisconsin-like offensive numbers for new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.
Road games in the SEC are never easy. Arkansas fans can get very loud when their team is playing well. It has only been one game, but is looks like Bielema has the Hogs pointed in the right direction.
Arkansas does not have a very challenging non-conference schedule. The only thing standing between the Razorbacks and a 4-0 start is Rutgers.
The Aggies could face an undefeated team when they travel to Fayetteville on September 28.
Anyone who thinks that UTEP can be taken lightly did not watch the Rice game. The Miners will bring in an offense led by a quarterback who Aggie fans will recognize.
Jameill Showers transferred to UTEP from Texas A&M during the offseason. He has an arm strong enough to challenge the Aggie defensive backs, yet he is mobile enough to keep the front seven honest.
Showers will play on Sundays and will be a test for every defense that faces UTEP for the next two years. Do not be surprised to see him put up good numbers at Kyle Field November 16.
Missouri is a dangerous team if quarterback James Franklin is healthy. The Tigers' faithful are going to be happy to get A&M at home after playing the Aggie three years in a row at Kyle Field.
Missouri won two of the last three matchups with the Aggies. Texas A&M ran the Tigers out of Kyle Field in 2012 by the score of 59-29.
That Missouri team was beset with injuries and emotionally battered after a tough first year in the SEC. The 2013 version of the Tigers started their season with a 58-14 route of Murray State.
Missouri rushed for 358 yards in their season opener and were led on the ground by 113 yards from Henry Josey. The junior running back sat out the 2012 season while rehabbing a knee injury.
The Tigers have as much skill position talent as anyone in the conference. If they are healthy at the end of the season then they will be tremendous test in Columbia.