Texas A&M fans have already experienced a roller coaster of emotions just two weeks into the 2023 college football season. There was elation after Week 1, when the offensive woes seemed to have been cured against an albeit inferior New Mexico squad, only to see the defense (secondary in particular) falter in Week 2 in a disappointing loss to Miami.
The Aggies host Louisiana-Monroe in a buy game this Saturday before beginning SEC play against Auburn on Sept. 23. So what is the range of outcomes for this team? Much like it was going into the season, the variance for what this team could do remains remarkably high.
While you won’t find many Aggies fully buying into this, there still exists a scenario where A&M turns things around and wins a lot of games this season. The offense seems effective enough to keep the Aggies in almost every game, and defense has the potential to improve over the course of the year. Not to mention that the SEC looks to be about as wide open as it has been in recent memory. LSU, Alabama and South Carolina have already lost, Auburn and Mississippi State are breaking in new head coaches. Tennessee hasn’t looked like a world-beater losing a lot of players from last year’s offense.
While A&M running the table seems pretty unreasonable, there aren’t many guaranteed losses sitting on the schedule this season. Every team has shortcomings. If A&M can manage to improve or at least mitigate theirs, there could be a ton of winnable games left. As bad many Aggie fans feel right now, going 6-2 in the SEC and 9-3 overall is still very much on the table. If you can then win your bowl game, you notch a 10-win season and DOUBLE your win total from a year ago. It would be difficult to paint that as anything but a rousing success, especially considering what we endured in 2022.
Go 6-2 and win 10 games, and the recruiting train gets up to full steam again. And we start to yet again hear how the Aggies could do big things in 2024.
Here’s the bad news: While there aren’t really any guaranteed losses on the Aggies’ schedule, there are also hardly any guaranteed wins. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that simply trying to out-talent other SEC teams is not very effective. You need talent, and experience, and scheme, and execution. All eight of our SEC games are losable games if the team does not play well. Now I don’t think there’s any way you lose ALL of them, but if issues from last season linger, if the secondary and the pass rush do not get better, another 5-7 finish is not outside the realm of possibility.
If that happens, you remove any doubt that it’s time to move on from Jimbo Fisher, regardless of how much the buyout is, and we’re looking for the next leader of this program. Let’s all pray it does not come to that.
But what’s the truth?
Just like always, the truth of where this team will be likely lies somewhere in the middle. My preseason prediction was 8-4, and I think that’s probably still the most likely outcome. But it might also be the least satisfying (not god enough to be optimistic but not bad enough to fire anybody). The next three games (Monroe, Auburn, Arkansas) will be a good barometer for what this team’s true ceiling could be.
As bad as last season felt, and as bad as many of us feel right now, this season is not over. A big turnaround is far from a foregone conclusion, but it’s also way too early to write off this team completely. If the story of the season was already written, there’d be no reason to watch. There are a lot of twists and turns left, let’s hope they take this program in the right direction.
How many regular season games do you think Texas A&M wins?