The Texas A&M Aggies stormed into the SEC under first year head coach Kevin Sumlin, compiling a 10-2 regular season record (11-2 overall) in a year that resulted in a Heisman Trophy for freshman Johnny Manziel.
What was meant to be a rude welcoming party for the Aggies turned out to be quite the opposite, as the boys from College Station ran circles around some of the best defenses in the country.
The lone blemish on national champion Alabama’s schedule from 2012 belongs to the Aggies and a Johnny Football performance that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
Texas A&M would cap off its 2012 campaign with a Cotton Bowl beat down of former Big 12-rival Oklahoma, 41-13. The Aggies finished in the top 5 for the first time since 1956, and just the fourth time in program history, earning Kevin Sumlin a contract extension through 2017.
All of those accomplishments, however, are in the past now. What’s on the slate for this year, and can the Aggies improve upon the last?
With Johnny Football returning for just his sophomore season, the offense will surely keep ticking. The Aggies lose arguably the best offensive lineman in the nation in Luke Joekel, but future top 10 pick Jake Matthews will be sliding to the left to protect Manziel’s blindside.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies lose first round pick Damontre Moore, along with his 12.5 sacks and 21.5 TFL.
As far as the schedule goes, the Aggies have a more than favorable road to navigate next season. Eight of their games will be in the comfy confines of Kyle Field, including the highly anticipated rematch with Alabama.
- Aug. 31 – Rice
- Sept. 7 – Sam Houston State
- Sept. 14 – Alabama
- Sept. 21 – SMU
- Oct. 19 – Auburn
- Oct. 26 – Vanderbilt
- Nov. 9 – Mississippi State
- Nov. 16 – New Mexico
The road schedule sets up quite nicely as well, with just one game that could go either way (LSU), and one against a team on the rise (Ole Miss).
- Sept. 28 – Arkansas
- Oct. 12 – Ole Miss
- Nov. 23 – LSU
- Nov. 30 – Missouri
Also weighing in the Aggies’ favor is that they do not have to face any of the big boys from the SEC East (Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina).
The SEC West should come down to Texas A&M and Alabama, with LSU having an outside shot at making it to Atlanta. The two road games (LSU and Missouri) to end the season will be tough. However, the Aggies will field the better team in both cases.
With Alabama traveling to College Station and one more year under Manziel’s belt, A&M has a legitimate shot at competing for the SEC Championship in just its second year in the conference.
Worst Case Scenario: 9-3
Best Case Scenario: 12-0
Projected: 11-1 (Loss coming against Alabama or at LSU)