Breaking Down Texas A&M's Schedule Actually Builds Hope For the Season
Many writers are selling Texas A&M incredibly short this season. Aggie fans everywhere this offseason have had very little to read that shines any positive light on the Texas A&M program. Every publication seems to suggest that the Aggies will fail to be improved at all. A 4-8 record does not really incline anyone to talk up the Aggies. I am going to do it anyway.
This season's schedule will definitely go a long way in helping the Aggies get back on track. In the first four non-conference games, the Aggie’s opponents finished last year with a combined 16-32 record and no bowl appearances. That will be the difference in the Aggies attempt to get to a bowl in Mike Sherman's second year.
September 5th: New Mexico Lobos at Kyle Field
The Lobos are entering Kyle Field under new Head Coach Mike Locksley. The former University of Illinois offensive coordinator brings in a new attitude to the Lobos program, but will be without last years starting running back Rodney Ferguson, and most of their secondary. The Lobos are a dangerous team for the Aggies. They played the Fightin’ Farmers extremely tough last year at University Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Lobos, this one is at Kyle Field. They are playing a more talented and faster team, looking to avenge the season opening home loss last year. Aggies are going to struggle to get the running game going and will have to rely on the passing game like they did much of last season. Look for the A&M to pick apart a secondary full of new faces. It won’t be a rout, but it will be win number one.
September 19th: Utah State Aggies at Kyle Field
Texas A&M will be coming off a bye week and a much needed win against the New Mexico Lobos. If the greatest improvements are made between game one and game two, then a bye week to iron out their first game mistakes will have Texas A&M entering Kyle Field firing on all cylinders.
Utah State is a bottom dweller in a non-BCS conference. Their highlight last year came during their season finale by hanging 42 points on New Mexico State while only giving up a safety. This game should be A&M’s only easy win of the year. Look for Texas A&M hang 40 or possibly 50 points on the Aggies of Utah State.
September 26th: University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers at Kyle Field
2-0 and a ton of confidence will have the Aggies pumped for their third game against the UAB Blazers. But careful, this could be a trap game for the Aggies.
If the Aggies build too much confidence and get caught looking ahead to the game against former SWC foe Arkansas, the Aggies could suffer a loss equal to that handed to them by Arkansas State last year. UAB statistically isn’t much too look at. This should be another game where the Aggies can get much needed work on their running game before Arkansas and their Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State. Aggies will not pour on the points in this one because I see them controlling the clock to an unimpressive win, but a win none-the-less.
October 3rd: University of Arkansas Razorbacks at Jerry’s World in Arlington
This is Texas A&M’s first true test of the season. The Razorbacks ended the season on a pretty high note last year, defeating LSU at home.
But Arkansas is a hard team to figure out.
Last season they barely won games against teams they should have rolled over. They defeated No. 20 Auburn. Yet they played Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Kentucky down to the wire. If they had any consistency last year, this team could have been 8-4 and played in a respectable bowl game.
A&M will be 3-0 coming into Arlington to face a Razorback team that will be 1-2. A deceiving record considering those two losses will be at the hands of Georgia and Alabama. For A&M to win this game they must to keep transfer QB Ryan Mallett and Arkansas offense of the field. They can only do that by running the ball against the Razorbacks suspect rushing defense that finish last in the SEC. This is a swing game for the Aggies and unfortunately it will swing in favor of Arkansas. It will be close but chalk this one up as the Aggies first loss of the season.
October 10th: Oklahoma State Cowboys at Kyle Field
This game has quietly turned into a rivalry for both teams in recent years. The Aggies have had the edge over the Pokes during Mike Gundy’s tenure. But OSU is generating a lot of hype coming into this season as they return what could be three of the most productive skill players in the Big 12. They routed the Ags at home last season by taking advantage of five first half turnovers. 21 points were from non-offensive touchdowns. This year I don’t expect that to happen again. An improved Aggie football team will be coming off a loss and playing at home. Those two factors alone will keep this game from being turned into another blowout.
If the Aggies are to pull the upset and give Sherman his first signature win, they will need to control the clock against a very suspect defense. They are very capable of putting up points and gaining yards on OSU. Unfortunately, the Aggies lose this one by no more than seven points.
October 17th: Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium
The Aggies first true road game of the year puts them against a Wildcat team looking for a new identity with Bill Snyder back at the helm of the team he resurrected once before. The Aggies have one major thing working in their favor this game, they don’t have to face NFL first round pick Josh Freeman. Freeman single handedly beat the Aggies at Kyle last season and ended K-State’s five game losing streak to the Ags. Jerrod Johnson lit up the Wildcats defense for a combined 487 yards, two passing TDs and one rushing. This year the Aggies will return the favor and exploit Kansas State’s defense and beating Bill Snyder in the stadium that bears his name.
October 24th: Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium
Contrary to popular belief, this game is actually one the Aggies can win. The Aggie owned the lead going into halftime last year at Kyle before Tech ran away with the second half. Tech did a great job getting to quarterbacks last year allowing for the secondary to focus solely on their pass defense. But Tech loses All-Big 12 DE Brandon Williams and a number of seasoned starters from their secondary. In order for the Aggies to win in Lubbock for the first time since 1993, then they need to put QB Taylor Potts on his back, and control the clock. The only way to defeat Tech is to keep their offense off the field. Aggies cannot get into a shootout with the Red Raiders or they will lose big. This game will be closer than what most people think, but the Aggies don’t get the win.
October 31st: Iowa State Cyclones at Kyle Field
This Halloween will be a frightful one for the Cyclones. They will be playing a very angry Texas A&M team coming home off a loss to their most hated rivals. This game looks to be a shootout much like last season’s game was. Iowa State out gained A&M in total yards but still fell at home. After having seven games under their belt, look for A&M to pass early and often. I expect them to pick apart Iowa State's young corners and safety. A&M wins, and could win big!
November 7th: Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field
The Buffs are one of three swing games that could determine if A&M will go to a bowl this season. The others are Baylor and Arkansas. Last year, the Buffs ran a quarterback by committee and heralded running back Darrell Scott really underachieved. Colorado’s defensive side has taken hit with the loss of DT George Hypolite. If the Aggies O-line is healthy at this point in the season, A&M can take advantage of an inexperienced DL. One thing that will help A&M this game is depth at running back which will be needed in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains. It took a couple interceptions to put this game away last year. A&M loses by a small margin.
November 14th: Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
The Aggies were absolutely dismantled early last season by the Sooners. Though the Aggies will be improved, this game will be at Norman. Expect Oklahoma to hang 45+ on the Aggies. That’s a very conservative estimate. OU’s defense will just be to dominant, and the offense again will be a powerhouse. The Aggies have absolutely no answer for the Sam Bradford-Jermaine Gresham combo. Aggies get rolled again by OU.
November 21st: Baylor Bears at Kyle Field
The Aggies have been waiting a year for this game and this game could mean a bowl game for either team. After suffering a humiliating loss to the Bears in Waco last year, the Aggies are going throw everything they have at Baylor. Hopefully, it’s not another four interceptions. The Aggies gave stud freshman Robert Griffin four more opportunities to touch the ball last year and he made them pay. The Bears have been the media’s “pity” pick this offseason. Most are already chalking this game as a loss for the Aggies. Aggie will not lose this game. Baylor may be better, but so will the Aggies and this game is at Kyle Field. The Aggies avenge their loss in the Battle of the Brazos and send Baylor to Arlington to try for their first bowl bid since 1994.
November 26th: Texas Longhorns at Kyle Field
Five days removed from their win against Baylor, the Aggies are going to be riding on cloud nine. Unfortunately, they are going to be playing a Texas team that could very well be undefeated when they walk in to Kyle Field. If Texas is undefeated or sitting with one loss, expect them to do everything in their power to ensure they are not left out of the National Championship game. Aggies always play Texas well at Kyle Field and that will not change this season. It just won’t be enough. Aggies lose by about two scores.
Aggies finish 6-6
The Aggies could very well lose to Baylor and end up 5-7. I just don’t think it will happen. The Aggies also have an opportunity to shock a few people if they can pull off a mild upset and win in Arlington and Boulder. It is reasonable to say that the Aggies could potentially finish 8-4. It is unlikely, but reasonable. I see the Fightin' Aggies finishing 6-6 with no bowl bid or 7-5 at a minor bowl.
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