Your Fighting Texas Aggies open the 2018 season five weeks from today.
It’s hotter than shit down here in Texas, but the sweet reprieve of football is finally in sight.
Now that we can see the start of the best time of the year, I thought we could talk shop and crack wise about the 2018 schedule. I am not going to do anything hacky or tired like predict the record, or worse - throw out INDUSTRY CRYSTAL BALL score predictions for each game. Nah nah you guys. I am going to break these games into buckets that will ultimately categorize what Jimbo Year 1 might look like.
BIG games but not necessarily the most IMPORTANT games
vs. Clemson | Kyle Field | Saturday, September 8
at Alabama | Bryant-Denny Stadium | Saturday, September 22
Significance: welcome to Aggieland, Jimbo. Your first Power 5 game is against one of the best programs of the last 10 years. Your second? Oh, it’s on the road against the best coach in college football history and his modern dynasty.
What would win(s) mean? Expectations from our rabid (and a lil entitled) fan base will inexplicably get even higher.
What would loss(es) mean? Barring blowouts, taking Ls here is nothing catastrophic. The Ags will be 7-13 point dogs in both games. Look for grit and effort.
Mindless deposits into the Bowl Eligibility account
vs. Northwestern State | Kyle Field | Thursday, August 30
vs. Louisiana Monroe | Kyle Field | Saturday, September 15
vs. Kentucky | Kyle Field | Saturday, October 6
vs. UAB | Kyle Field | Saturday, November 17
Significance: Very little. This batch should get Jimbo 50-66% of the way toward a bowl game in Year 1. Make the Hate Barn Hateful Again #MHBHA
What would win(s) mean? See above. Hopefully depth gets to develop and our starters get to rest.
What would loss(es) mean? A shitload of overreaction from fans and pundits. A cruel confrontation with reality that we are, in fact, in rebuild mode. Probably a kick in the nuts for recruiting.
The early swing games
vs. Arkansas | AT&T Stadium | Saturday, September 29
at South Carolina | Williams-Brice Stadium | Saturday, October 13
Significance: I can see you getting out your pen - your ink - ready to chalk Arky up as a W. Don’t. Recent history suggests this game will be close - like more overtime-close. This represents a huge game for Chad Morris in his Year 1 - recruiting, against his alma mater, etc.
Also, A&M is coming into this game seven days after a roadie to Tuscaloosa. How will the team be emotionally and physically? It has the makings of a huge letdown spot.
Two weeks later, the Ags are back on the road to play a Carolina program that is quietly building something strong.
What would win(s) mean? Survival. Taking care of business in the SEC. You don’t get pizza parties for beating the Pigs and the Cocks.
What would loss(es) mean? The very plausible scenario takes shape that has A&M under .500 in the middle of October.
The “are y’all still soft?” gauntlet
at Mississippi State | Davis-Wade Stadium | Saturday, October 27
at Auburn | Jordan-Hare Stadium | Saturday, November 3
vs. Ole Miss | Kyle Field | Saturday, November 10
Significance: Gut Check time. These three games are certainly not big on a national scale, but I believe they are enormous for the program. These games will show us very clearly if there has been a cultural shift with Texas A&M football. Each of these games is winnable. Each opponent should make the upperclassmen’s blood boil based on previous year’s outcomes.
The 2016 game in Starkville was, in many ways, the beginning of the end for Sumlin. The team of swag and talk got kicked in the teeth and run out of town by a very average Mississippi State squad. This should have people fucking pissed.
The Alabama and Clemson games are the hot tickets, but you will know if a foundation is being established based on how this A&M team competes against the Mississippi schools. If the Ags play angry and physical, they can win both games by 2+ touchdowns. The talent disparity is there.
What would win(s) mean? The Ags are positioning themselves for an 8-10 win season with a promising trajectory and a solid bowl bid.
What would loss(es) mean? Quite simply, that the rebuild is going to require Fisher getting his guys. A&M has no business worrying about Alabama, LSU, and Auburn if it can’t take care of the state of Mississippi.
Thanksgiving Feast or Famine
vs. LSU | Kyle Field | Saturday, November 24
Significance: it’s time. This is not a good LSU team and it’s being coached by a lovable man who has no business being in his current job. In truly bizarre fashion, A&M has severely hampered LSU by losing to them in recent years. Humans are emotional in many ways to their own detriment - cajuns particularly! By losing to LSU, A&M kept Les Miles at LSU longer than he should have been. By losing to LSU, A&M gifted one of the best jobs in the country to interim coach Ed Orgeron.
It’s way past time that A&M started winning against LSU.
What would a win mean? A big ol’ Tiger off the back. Some momentum, for once, heading into bowl season.
What would a loss mean? See above. A soft football program has more soul searching to do. Kyle Field remains a far too easy place to play for road teams.
How do you like dem buckets?