Recently, Paul Finebaum said that Texas A&M faces essentially a one-game season. This take was a reference to the Aggies’ matchup against Alabama on October 9th. While this game is crucial for the Aggies, it is not the be-all and end-all for their season. Here are reasons why the Aggies’ success this year is not entirely dependent on their matchup against Alabama.
1. Other SEC Powerhouses
The Aggies have higher expectations after finishing 9-1 last season. Outside of Vanderbilt, every team in the SEC is a threat to the Aggies. Unfortunately, Texas A&M plays in the SEC West, which is by far the toughest division in college football. Thus, Alabama is not the only SEC giant who the Aggies will face this season. The Aggies can’t downplay matchups against the likes of LSU and Ole Miss. Remember, Texas A&M has yet to win in Baton Rouge, and Lane Kiffin is eager to dissect the Aggies’ defense. Although LSU finished 5-5 this past season, they return a ton of talent and are expected to have a strong year. Last year, the Aggies were fortunate to not go up against Matt Corral and the Ole Miss Rebels’ offense. Corral is seen by many as the best quarterback in the SEC, and he is a contender for the Heisman Trophy. Texas A&M must treat its games against Ole Miss and LSU alike the matchup against Alabama to have a successful season.
2. Unranked Opponents Matter
It’s a given that A&M must beat Kent State, Colorado, and New Mexico to start the season; if the Aggies aren’t 3-0 before their matchup against Arkansas, the season is a disappointment. There’s no excuse to take any team lightly, even outside the SEC. Arkansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Auburn are SEC opponents also likely to be unranked when Texas A&M faces them. For the Aggies to win the SEC, these are must-win games. Consistency is what makes teams like Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State so great. The attention to detail is something that the Aggies must follow to reach the pinnacle of the conference. Jimbo Fisher did it with Florida State, and he can do the same for A&M.
3. Aggies’ Success Doesn’t Depend on Playoff
Last year, most would argue that the Aggies had a great season with their only loss coming against Alabama. Granted, it was a blowout loss, but A&M had statement wins against both Florida and North Carolina. If the Aggies can repeat a similar feat, their only loss being to the Crimson Tide, A&M fans shouldn’t complain. The goal of any college football team is to win every game, but Aggie fans should understand what their team is up against. Facing perhaps the greatest dynasty in the sport annually is a difficult task; however, it’s understandable that there’s an expectation for the Aggies to win once after nearly a decade. If the Aggies again reach another NY6 Bowl and win, that accomplishment should satisfy A&M fans.
4. The Aggies Are On The Right Track
Undoubtedly, the Aggies have shown signs of improvement since their last year with Kevin Sumlin in 2017. In the SEC, teams have high expectations from their large fanbases, and A&M fans believe the time is now. Still, the Aggies are on the right path after last season, both on the field and in recruiting; they finished with the seventh and eighth recruiting classes in the nation in 2021 and 2022 respectively. This year, Fisher will need to make slight adjustments on the offense due to inexperience on that side of the ball. Regardless, the Aggies are due for a big year this season.
Aggies’ fans treat the Alabama game as their game of the year, as did Finebaum. Even so, the Aggies must approach every game in a similar manner to the Alabama matchup to maintain focus throughout the season. The detail that makes teams so great at the FBS level and NFL is composure; that quality was clearly present within the Aggies’ squad last season, and it will need to continue this year for Texas A&M to win the SEC and compete for a national championship.