Texas A&M Football: 4 Games That Could Ruin Aggies' 2014 Season
The Texas A&M football team will play one of the toughest schedules in the country in 2014. There are multiple games on the Aggies' 2014 schedule that could ruin their dreams of a championship season.
The goal of every team is to win enough games to qualify for the four-team College Football Playoff at the end of the year. In order to do so, the Aggies will likely have to win the SEC title or turn in an 11-win regular season.
That means the Aggies can only lose one game in 2014. That is a tall order while playing in the SEC West.
There are a couple teams on the schedule that are more talented than the Aggies, and a couple that have the ability to beat the Aggies on any given day. There are teams on the schedule that, if Texas A&M were to lose to them, it would be deemed acceptable by the playoff committee. There are also those that would be considered a bad loss.
This is a look at the teams who could ruin the Aggies' season.
The Aggies will play the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 27 in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. Texas A&M has won its two previous meetings with Arkansas but has not beat the Razorbacks in Dallas since the series resumed in 2009.
The Razorbacks were 3-9 in 2013 and did not win an SEC game. They should be improved in the second year under Bret Bielema's system.
Arkansas running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams rushed for a combined 1,985 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013. They are one of the top running back duos in the nation.
Those running backs make Arkansas a dangerous team. If the Razorbacks can control the clock with their running game and keep the Aggie offense on the sideline, they can shorten the game and give themselves a real chance.
The Aggies will have to stop the run and get pressure on Arkansas' junior quarterback, Brandon Allen. The Aggies were able to get a 45-33 win in Fayetteville in 2013. The Aggies are going to have to play better on defense in 2014 if they want to get a win over what will be an improved Arkansas squad.
The Aggies will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, on October 4 to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Texas A&M beat MSU 51-41 in 2013 in College Station.
The Bulldogs return a veteran team with 14 seniors in its starting lineup. This is a year that a lot of State fans have been pointing to as a breakthrough year.
If the Aggies want to get out of Starkville with a win, they are going to have a contain MSU quarterback Dak Prescott. In 2013 he passed for 149 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 154 yards against the Aggies.
Texas A&M will have to keep Prescott in the pocket and force him to beat it with his arm. It cannot afford to let him extend plays with his feet and get the home crowd revved up and into the game.
The game against the Bulldogs is a prime example of why the SEC is so tough. The Bulldogs do not have the national reputation of Alabama or LSU, but they are a talented team that can beat whomever they line up against on any given day.
The game against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks on November 1 is a trap game for the Aggies. It is a no-win situation for Texas A&M.
If they beat the Warhawks badly, then they were supposed to. If they lose the game, it is a horrific loss. The reality of the situation is that Louisiana-Monroe is a solid program that can line up and compete with anyone.
It returns 16 starters from a 6-6 team in 2013. This is a program that in the past few years has gone on the road and beaten Alabama and Arkansas. It will not be intimidated by playing at Kyle Field.
With two weeks off to prepare, the Aggies should be healthy for this game and capable of putting up a big number on offense. This is a win the Aggies have to have before they go on the road to play Auburn. If they lose to Louisiana-Monroe, they can forget about any kind of championship aspirations.
The Aggies will face Missouri on November 15 at Kyle Field. Missouri has won at Kyle Field on two of their last three visits. The Tigers beat A&M in Columbia, Missouri, in 2013 by the score of 28-21.
Missouri only returns eight starters from the 12-2 SEC East champion team from 2013. One of those starters is sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk, who passed for 1,071 yards with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 2013.
Mauk is a dual-threat quarterback who rushed for 290 yards in 2013. The Mizzou offense was very effective when he was under center.
By the time the Aggies face them in November, the Tigers will have their offensive and defensive issues sorted out. They will be an experienced team. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has shown that he knows how to beat the Aggies.
On paper this is a contest that the Aggies should win, but the games are not played on paper. The fanbase will likely be looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day showdown with LSU, so this is a dangerous matchup.