Texas A&M football is finally back, y’all. In just four short days, the Aggies will get the 2022 season underway, with a ton of optimism emanating from the fanbase. This should be a good year. It could be a great one. Let’s see what your esteemed group of GBH contributors think about the Ags’ prospects for the coming season.
Record: 11-1 (2nd in the SEC West)
They say “it’s the hope that kills you,” but I am a sucker for this team. I have no problem with the QB race dragging out as long as it did because I trust Jimbo as the QB whisperer. King knows the offense best, is a legit dual-threat and a tough kid with the highest upside right now. Let Weigman redshirt and learn, and Max is arguably the best backup in the SEC. Even with all that upside, the production from the QB position is the biggest question mark. I see upgraded OL and skill position groups on offense, and both of those groups will only help King develop quicker. The defense should be very solid, DJ Durkin will provide a fresh voice to an extremely talented group. The secondary is experienced and loaded, the D-Line is reloaded and deep, and the LB group just needs to find out who is gonna rock with Cooper. I think Bama gets revenge on their home turf in a close game… then I think the Aggies win out. The fact that the Aggies only loss is a tight one in Tuscaloosa, gets them in the CFP this time around as the No. 3 seed. The season falls short in a loss to Ohio State in the national semifinal, but that hope and momentum continue to build.
Record: We need 10 wins but I’m not actually predicting 10 wins
I’m gonna cheat here. 3/4 years with Jimbo have been pretty predictable. We lose to teams that are more talented than us, and we beat teams that we have a talent advantage on. I can only think of maybe two games that have been surprising under Jimbo, and both of them happened in 2018.
Last year totally broke me as a fan. I never knew which offense would trot out and even if we did play somewhat well I had no dang clue whether we’d find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory through an errant interception, or a rocketed pass of our center’s helmet.
So I don’t know that I have a prediction this year. But I know that we need 10 wins to sustain any level of recruiting momentum we have. I don’t know if it’s 9-3 and going to a Florida bowl and beating big 10 team, or maybe it’s 10-2 and a NY6 bowl. But I know that we need 10 wins. And I think we’re capable of getting there given the talent on roster. That’s my prediction. That we need 10 wins.
Truthfully, I have no idea what to expect out of Texas A&M football in 2022. There are so many possible scenarios when playing in the meat grinder that is the SEC West. Then you also toss in a very tough non-con match-up in the Miami Hurricanes. I see a range of possibilities from 7-5 all the way up to 10-2 as feasible. Factors impacting that outcome include the ability of the left side of the offensive line to step up, improved play out of the quarterback position and the replacement of all four starters along the defensive line.
My current expectation for the Aggies is a record of 9-3. The Aggies will notch wins against Sam Houston and Appalachian State, though the Mountaineers are likely to put a scare into the Aggies for a time. Miami will be the biggest test of the season early on but I do think Texas A&M will come out on top. The first loss I see on the schedule is against Arkansas in Arlington. The Aggies will rebound against Mississippi State before heading to Tuscaloosa for a match-up that Alabama will absolutely have circled on their calendar. The Tide take that one. I expect the Aggies to get back on track against South Carolina but that contest will be a doozy - the Gamecocks will be much improved in year two of Shane Beamer. Ole Miss is a team that I think matches up well against the Aggies and will hand them their third and final loss of the season. Texas A&M will finish the year with four straight wins over Florida, Auburn, UMass and LSU. Of those, only the UMass game is likely to be comfortable. I know Texas A&M fans want to compete for championships but I really think 2023 is more likely to be the year. A 9-3 record is still respectable and should be a good outcome for 2022.
Damn, do I want to put 11-1 or 12-0 up there, but Chuck D always said, “Don’t believe the hype.” Don’t get me wrong, I am super high on this team, and I think our defense is going to be top tier, if not elite. But, youth often shows itself in unexpected places. I think our Ags will roll off five straight to begin the season, that Arkansas game is not going to be one for the weak. Saban exacts his revenge on his protégé Jamesbo in week six, but holy hell is the hype for that game going to be unbearable. Ags get right against South Carolina, and then I think our inexperience will show up against Ole Miss. Joey Freshwater just might have it in him this year. Ags persevere through the rest of the season and that puts us in a NY6 bowl. I could be very wrong about the Ole Miss game, maybe the team gels quickly and we are ahead of schedule. Either way hope springs eternal for 2023.
2023 may be the season many are targeting for when the Aggies can be a true national title contender, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be really good right now. A&M went 8-4 in 2021 after sustaining key injuries at their two most vulnerable positions: QB and OL. Fast forward a year, and the depth and the starting talent at both of those positions is improved. That plus the infusion of talent from that record-setting 2022 recruiting class means this team absolutely has the horses to compete in the SEC, and I’d argue they should be favored in every game but one (you know which one). QB play may be what ultimately takes this team from good to great, but if I’m making predictions, I go 10-2. One loss is to Bama (it’s so hard to beat them two years in a row, especially now on the road). The other? I have no idea, because the SEC West is such a question mark this year; so many teams could be really good or not very good at all. But probability says A&M drops at least one more game along the way, even if the talent on the roster says we shouldn’t.
A 10-win season likely sends the Aggies to a New Year’s Six bowl, silencing the doubters and firmly ramping up the massive hype train that is coming in 2023.