The Texas A&M Aggies finished up the 2015 season at 8-5. It was a disappointing final record, given they started out 5-0. At which they were ranked as high as No. 9 in the country.
The Aggies ended up going just 4-4 inside SEC play. Their only winning conference slate came in their first year in the league back in 2012 at 6-2.
Texas A&M enters 2016 in what will be their 5th year under head coach Kevin Sumlin. He’s made two big hires the past couple of years. Last season he landed prized defensive coordinator John Chavis away from LSU. This year he snagged offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone from UCLA.
Landing big time recruits hasn’t been a problem for Sumlin at College Station. The issue has been getting them to stay in the program. Still, there’s a ton of talent on the roster going into the 2016 campaign.
Texas A&M isn’t being talked about as a real threat in the SEC West, at least at the moment. Though some experts see this team as a legit dark horse contender. Oddsmakers aren’t one of them, as they have their win total set at just 7 games. Let’s take a closer look at the Aggies schedule and roster.
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|9/10||Prairie View A&M|
|10/1||@ South Carolina|
|10/22||New Mexico State|
|11/5||@ Mississippi State|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
*We take the win chance by using the college football win percentage chart for each point spread.
Texas A&M has a great shot at sweeping their non-conference schedule. All four are at home and the only real challenging matchup is the opener against UCLA. The other three are against Prairie View A&M, New Mexico State and UTSA. Worse case scenario is 3-1 outside of conference play.
Look at the SEC portion of the slate, the Aggies will have just 3 home games. Due to their neutral site matchup against Arkansas in Arlington. On top of that, the 3 home games are all against elite competition in Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU.
They do have some winnable road games against Auburn, South Carolina and Mississippi State. That leaves their most challenging game of the season at Alabama.
Both sophomore Kyle Allen and true freshman Kyler Murray saw action at quarterback in 2015. The problem is, both were promised playing time and didn’t want to take a backseat to the other. In a bad turn of events, both players decided to transfer prior to the bowl game.
While that could end up costing them down the road, they are in decent shape going into 2016. That’s because Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight decided to transfer here for his senior season. Knight started 15 games in his first 2 seasons with the Sooners. However, he ended up losing his job last year to Baker Mayfield.
Texas A&M’s season rests on whether or Knight can revive his career with the Aggies. He had his ups and downs at Oklahoma. He wasn’t all that accurate and had just 25 touchdowns to 19 interceptions.
Another Oklahoma transfer figures to play a big role in the offense this year. That being junior running back Keith Ford. He’s the frontrunner to replace departed leading rusher Tre Carson (1,165 yards). Also in the mix are junior James White and red-shirt freshmen Kendall Bussey and Jay Bradford.
One of the promising things for Knight, is he will have one of the most talented receiving corps to work with. Texas A&M has all 4 starters back from last year. Led by the two studs in sophomore Christian Kirk and senior Josh Reynolds. It says a lot when Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil are your 3rd and 4th options.
The big question mark outside of Knight at quarterback, is the offensive line. Texas A&M loses 3 starters from the unit. The biggest being right tackle Germain Ifedi, who was a 1st round draft pick. The other two made NFL teams as undrafted free agents.
The key thing to keep in mind, is the Aggies recruit extremely well along the offensive line. Ifedi marked the 4th straight year they had a tackle selected in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. They get back senior left tackle Avery Gennesy and sophomore left guard Keaton Sutherland. It really all comes down to finding a capable new starter at center.
As expected, the Aggies defense improved with Chavis calling the shots in 2015. Texas A&M allowed just 22.0 ppg and 380 ypg after giving up 28.1 ppg and 441 ypg in 2014.
The only real significant loss was starting corner Brandon Williams. With 7 starters back and a better understand of Chavis’ scheme, more improvement should be on the way.
Texas A&M does lose both starting defensive tackles, but are in great shape. They have two sophomores ready to emerge inside in Kinglsey Keke and Daylon Mack. At defensive end, they have two of the best the SEC has to offer in Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. The duo combined for 19.5 sacks last year, with Garrett leading the way with 12.5.
At linebacker the Aggies get back their leader in senior Shaan Washington. He’ll be joined by a couple of promising sophomores in Otaro Alaka and Richard Moore. Still, this is easily the weakest unit on this side of the ball.
The secondary has all kinds of talent. Big things are expected out of senior safety Armani Watts, who led the team last year with 126 tackles. He’ll team up with returning free safety Justin Evans. At corner, UCLA transfer Priest Willis will fill the void left by Williams. Juniors Nick Harvey and Donovan Wilson will compete for the other starting corner spot.
Regular Season Win Total
SEC West Odds
SEC Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
*Odds updated live on our college football odds page
As you can see, there’s a lot to be excited about in the potential of Texas A&M in 2016. They certainly have the talent across the board to compete against any team in the country. However, this has been the case the past few years and they haven’t been able to deliver.
That’s a big reason why I’m not getting carried away with my predictions for 2016. I have the Aggies going just 3-5 inside conference play and 7-5 overall.
My biggest concern comes at quarterback. Knight is a known commodity, but he struggled on the field at Oklahoma. Keep in mind the Sooners run a very quarterback friendly offense like the Aggies. If he doesn’t produce at a high level, I just don’t think they can compete with the big boys in the SEC. At the same time, if he plays well, this team has the potential to win as many as 11 games.
Win Total Prediction