Texas A&M has started the season 6-0 for the first time since 1994. The Aggies have looked impressive in wins over tough opposition like Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee so far. But their biggest game of the season comes next weekend when they visit Tuscaloosa to face Alabama as the Aggies playoff hopes are on the line.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have been very impressive this season with only Ole Miss really troubling them on their way to a 7-0 start. They are currently the #1 team in the country according to the Last Word on Sports poll and in a very strong position to make the college football playoff. The Crimson Tide showed against Tennessee last weekend how dominant they can be against quality opponents.
While the Aggies have certainly exceeded expectations in 2016, they have ridden their luck at times. They have squandered some sizeable fourth quarter leads against Tennessee and UCLA but managed to escape with overtime victories. For Texas A&M to go into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama like they did in 2012 with Johnny Manziel at quarterback they are going to have to play nearly flawless football for four quarters.
Trevor Knight has made big plays when needed this year but has been prone to mistakes when throwing the ball. He’s thrown five interceptions in six games so far and is only completing 53.5% of his passes. Therefore its key that Texas A&M is able to move the ball and make first downs on the ground with the rushing attack of Keith Ford and Trayveon Williams. They can’t afford to be in a situation where they need Trevor Knight to be consistently making plays through the air to stay in the game.
Unfortunately Texas A&M almost has to win this game if they are to make the college football playoff at the end of the season. A defeat here would almost certainly end the Aggies hopes of winning the SEC West which would end their playoff chances. They would need Alabama to lose two of their final three SEC games against LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State. The only other scenario would be a three way tie at 7-1 if Auburn beats Alabama in the Iron Bowl and they all win out in their other games but that’s an unlikely set of circumstances at the moment. The battle for the SEC West could be settled in Tuscaloosa this Saturday and could have a big say in which SEC team makes the playoff in 2016.