Texas A&M football is finally back, y’all. In just five short days, the Aggies will get the 2023 season underway, with cautious optimism starting to bubble up from the fanbase. This should be a good season (or at least a better year than the last one). Let’s see what your esteemed group of GBH contributors think about the Ags’ prospects for the coming season.
Bowl: Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin
This roster is good enough to win 10 perhaps even 11 games. The only team that at all scares me on our schedule is the one in the damn mirror. I can talk myself into being worried about linebacker, corner, and tackle, but i can just as easily talk myself out of being worried about those spots.
That being said, it’s still this head coach and somehow he’s managed to underachieve. The Durkin, I think, will be fine. But I have no idea what the Jimbo/Petrino experiment will be like.
Like I said. Roster is good enough to win 10/11. I’m gonna go with 8-4 pre-bowl, with a win over Wisconsin in the Citrus Bowl to get to 9-4.
Bowl: Citrus or something in that range
It’s the end of the off-season which means I’ll never be higher on this team than I am now. I don’t think Petrino is a miracle worker when it comes to this offense but I think he gets it more than serviceable. Delay of games and random timeouts after a false start at an all time low. Front end of this defense will be so much better than last year and it will make a huge difference. Fans will screech about Durkin’s three-man fronts, all while Mckinnley Jackson strip sacks the QB while the opposing team tries to triple team him at the line of scrimmage.
I think the Aggies take 1 of 3 from Bama, Tennessee, and LSU, with Bama being the most likely. From there I think they drop another game they “shouldn’t”, something like Ole Miss or Arkansas. It’ll be a breath of fresh air from last year, but also incredibly frustrating with the Aggies being just outside an SEC West championship and a NY6 bowl game. Going to be a real “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” Type season.
Bowl: Liberty Bowl
Aggie Football will improve in 2023 but it won’t feel like it. Struggling to put away bad teams early will frustrate Aggies from the onset. Fisher and Petrino will quietly clash and it will eventually feel like Jimbo is running the offense again. The defense won’t be able to do enough to impress in some low-possession contests, often breaking on crucial third downs. The arguments over firing Jimbo will reach a fevered pitch, but the modest improvement and bowl bid will get him one more year.
Bowl: Peach Bowl vs. Clemson
Lack of talent hasn’t been the issue for the Aggies as of late, but rather lack of experience, health, and effective coaching on offense. A&M appears to have all four as they enter 2023. With Conner Weigman, an improved OL, and one of the top receiver rooms in the country, new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino will produce a balanced and explosive offense.
On defense, the trenches will tell the story. If a slew of highly rated defensive linemen reach their potential, the Aggie defense should be able to dominate the line of scrimmage against most of their opponents.
However, the SEC West is as tough as ever and the Aggies probably won’t be poised to run the table just yet. I look for A&M to sweep the home slate, while dropping a hard-fought game in Baton Rouge and one other road game somewhere along the way.
Bowl: Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State
Aggies get out to a 3-0 start, look good on the road in Miami, but the Auburn Kyle Field curse strikes again as a defensive collapse on a late drive gives the Tigers a win. A&M rebounds with a win over Arkansas but drops another close one to Bama despite a strong performance from the offense. An impressive road win over the Vols restores some faith, but Kiffin’s Rebels run the Ags out of Vaught-Hemingway in a blowout. Jimbo and Petrino right the ship and close out the regular season with 3 straight wins, including an epic performance from Max Johnson in Death Valley after Weigman is injured a couple weeks earlier against Mississippi State.
Before the Aggies take care of Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl, Petrino is announced as the new head coach for Arizona to replace Jedd Fisch after the Wildcats go 5-7 again. Ags are calling for Durkin’s head early in the season and the calls only get louder after an overall mediocre season punctuated by 3 massive collapses. Jimbo takes too long to make a decision on Durkin, eventually cuts ties, but only does so after the best candidates have already been snatched up. Jimbo returns himself to play calling duties, and supplies of colored card stock and lamination film at Copy Corner reach critical lows.
Bowl: Texas Bowl vs. UCF
I want so badly to believe in this team, and could talk myself into this team winning 9 or even 10 games. But in each of the past two years, I’ve overshot A&M’s win total by at least four games in my preseason predictions, so I’m trying to keep this a bit more tempered.
Overall I think A&M will be better on both sides of the ball than they were a year ago, but I also think their schedule (and the SEC West) are tougher than they were last year. Miami should be improved, and there’s reason to believe that Arkansas and Auburn will be better as well. Tennessee subbing in for Florida (on the road, no less) is a more difficult game.
In some ways, I think 8-4 is the worst place this team could end up. Not good enough to generate any real buzz or excitement about the future, but not bad enough to pay Jimbo’s massive buyout. And a Texas Bowl against a team who still hasn’t unpacked all of their boxes since moving to the Power 5 is about as uninspiring as it gets.
Man do I hope I’m wrong (but on the low side this time around).