Texas A&M survived one of the most impossible schedules in recent memory a year ago. The Aggies’ rewards should come in 2020.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher is heading into Year 3, when many programs ultimately take the big step forward. Additionally, a senior quarterback, senior-heavy offensive line and vastly improved defense will take center stage.
Texas A&M hasn’t competed for 10 wins since Johnny Manziel was on campus. However, the program might actually be in a better place now. Here’s how we see the Aggies’ 2020 campaign unfolding.
Sept. 5: Abilene Christian
Before ACU coach Adam Dorrel came to Abilene, he was the head coach at Northwest Missouri State for six seasons. All he did was win three national championships. It won’t help much in this game, but it’s a fun fact regardless.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
Sept. 12: North Texas
The Mean Green are in full rebuilding mode after losing quarterback Mason Fine to graduation. There really isn’t an advantage anywhere on the roster.
Prediction: Win (2-0)
Sept. 19: Colorado
The Buffaloes head into 2020 with a new coaching staff after Mel Tucker left to take the head job at Michigan State. Colorado turned to NFL assistant Karl Dorrell, who hasn’t coached at the college level since a 35-27 stretch at UCLA in the mid-2000s. Point, Aggies.
Predication: Win (3-0)
Sept. 26: Arkansas (AT&T Stadium)
The Razorbacks haven’t beaten the Aggies since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012. With a first-time head coach and unproven roster, there’s little reason to see that changing in 2020.
Prediction: Win (4-0)
Oct. 3: at Mississippi State
The Aggies make their first true road trip of the season to go visit an old friend. Mike Leach is now based in Starkville, and the Pirate has been the bane of the Aggies’ existence. Between 2001 and 2008, the Aggies went 1-7 against Texas Tech, despite oftentimes having better recruiting. This Texas A&M team is different, though, and will prove it in Starkville.
Prediction: Win (5-0)
Oct. 10: Fresno State
New Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer shockingly helped Indiana become a borderline AP Top 25 team with his strong offensive coaching. However, the transition from Jeff Tedford to DeBoer won’t be immediate, especially coming off a 4-8 season.
Prediction: Win (6-0)
Oct. 17: at Auburn
It seems like we constantly alternate between seeing Gus Malzahn on the hot seat and riding high. Last season was something in between. The fearsome defensive line that dominated Texas A&M a year ago is gone, but the offense should improve dramatically with a second-year quarterback. Finally, the Ags look mortal.
Prediction: Loss (6-1)
Oct. 24: at South Carolina
The Gamecocks missed a bowl last season for the first time under Will Muschamp, and there aren’t any major infusions to see that changing fast. The Aggies are on a different level right now.
Prediction: Win (7-1)
Nov. 7: Ole Miss
The Rebels are always pesky, and should be even more so now that Lane Kiffin is leading the program. Still though, Ole Miss’ roster is a mess thanks to the inconsistency of the Matt Luke era.
Prediction: Win (8-1)
Nov. 14: Vanderbilt
Vandy coach Derek Mason is trying everything, but there really just isn’t much a coach can do to make this program a consistent winner short of recruiting Jay Cutler.
Prediction: Win (9-1)
Nov. 21: at Alabama
All eyes will be on this game. With a win, the Aggies can earn a trip to the SEC championship game. A loss would leave them just short. Alabama’s list of losses under Nick Saban since 2008 is hilarious. Three of the five were against Heisman winners. Another came against a team that played in the national title game. Can Texas A&M join the list again? It’s a tough ask.
Prediction: Loss (9-2)
Nov. 28: LSU
Even after losing to Alabama, all eyes will remain on what is becoming a fierce rivalry. The Aggies beat LSU two years ago in seven overtimes. Last season, the Tigers took out their anger with a bloodbath in Baton Rouge. What will happen in year three? Who knows.
Prediction: Win (10-2)
Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma State
It will sure feel funny for Texas A&M to go through a magnificent season and still end up with a bowl game in the South against Oklahoma State, just like the year before. Trust us, this won’t have any similarities to last year’s ugly game. OSU has its eyes set on the sport’s highest honors with RB Chuba Hubbard and WR Tylan Wallace both returning, along with a huge chunk of defense. The Cowboys will have revenge on the mind after a close game last season in the Texas Bowl.
Prediction: Loss (10-3)
Record Prediction: 10-3, 6-2
The 2020 season is when Texas A&M marks its arrival to the world. The Aggies only have one 10-win season – Manziel’s Heisman year – since Y2K. Not only will this be a 10-win season, but it will also be a year where Texas A&M proves that it can compete with the top tier of the SEC.
An easier schedule certainly plays a part in a much-improved program, but the performance will be there too. Year three is often when improved recruiting really starts to pay off. The defense could be good enough to get defensive coordinator Mike Elko a head coaching job. The scariest part? Texas A&M could easily out-perform these expectations.
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