First, let's see how everyone did with the 2013 regular season predictions. The Aggies' actual record was 8-4. I (cuppycup) was closest with a 9-3 prediction. ColoradoAg, Dr. Norris Camacho, jzimmermann11, and oscarwildecat picked 10-2. OrionHjarvis, rcb05, and SpreadsheetAg called 11-1. And stringsays went with 12-0. You may not want to take our picks to Vegas this season, but here they are.
You're gonna hear a lot of 8-4 or 7-5 predictions. And I get that. We lost our top skill players on offense and the defense is still a huge question mark. But years of photoshopping has taught to look beyond what something is, to what it could be, given some work and some luck.
I think we lose to South Carolina. There, I said it. But after that, this team has a string of winnable games in which they can really find their identity. After that, there's no reason they can't go on a run. Kenny Hill and our stable of running backs will keep the offense rolling, and an opportunistic defense with young playmakers will do just enough to keep A&M in every game they play.
They'll start by sweeping the Mississippi teams for the third straight year, then lose a hard-fought game to Alabama. The Aggies then have a bye week and a non-conference game against Louisiana-Monroe before running the Tiger gauntlet (Auburn/Mizzou/LSU). A&M will shock everyone by sweeping these games. That victory over LSU on Thanksgiving night will be especially sweet.
So that puts A&M at 10-2, and a prime candidate for the Cotton Bowl. Despite the fact that the Cotton Bowl is no longer limited to an SEC/Big 12 matchup, they won't be able to resist pitting the Aggies against a former Big 12 foe...Baylor. What ensues will be the greatest month in Good Bull Hunting history.
Dr. Norris Camacho
8-5 with losses to South Carolina, Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, and Mizzou. I am not drinking the Mississippi State kool-aid this year (nor should anyone else be) and I also think that Sumlin finally turns the corner against LSU. BOLD BOWL PREDICTION: Music City Bowl vs. NC State, we win 38-20. And if you think a wolf mascot's scary, imagine a married wolf couple. Cedric and Drew are All-Americans and Trey Williams has a breakout season. Deshazor targets a ref and does not get flagged.
I see us at 8-4 with the following outcomes:
SC: A true toss-up here. My head says this is a close loss, but my heart says Aggies win. But I'll stick with 8-4.
Lamar - W
Rice - W
SMU - W
Arky - W
Miss State - W
Ole Miss - W
Alabama - L
Auburn - L
Missouri - W
LSU - W
That puts us in the Outback Bowl (they wont pass up on a chance to get us) playing Nebraska.
(Ed. Note: stringsays has adjusted his predictions in the comments below.)
Prediction: 9-4 (4-4; Music City Bowl victory over Miami)
I used to hate the old "four straight cupcakes followed by a full conference slate" Big XII schedule, but we sure could benefit from that in 2014. South Carolina is a game we could win if it were played in October, but youth will ultimately be our downfall in an 0-1 start.
Lamar and Rice will be comfortable victories, and I expect no trouble dealing with the hogs in JerryWorld. The meat of the conference schedule could be interesting, though, given that the Mississippi schools appear to be somewhat competent. I hope I’m wrong, but I think we’ll see an ugly loss to one of those teams… rife with penalties, turnovers, and general "young team" mistakes.
It’s not all bad news, though. I think we’ll grow, and I expect to see complete efforts down the stretch, culminating in either a win at Auburn or a whipping of LSU at home. The good guys will use that impressive late season form to launch into bowl season, and a comprehensive victory over Miami will provide Fran-era revenge and send us flying into an expectation-filled 2015.
Cool Hand Lucas
I’ve consumed the Kool-Aid. We drop a close one in Columbia before reeling off a nice stretch of wins, including a top 15 clash with Ole Miss at Kyle. We also drop tough contests on the road at Bama and Auburn, but close the regular season with a last second win over LSU.
We end up in the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State.
Aside from the USC opener, our soft early schedule will allow this team time to gel and the younger players to adjust to their roles. More depth on the D-Line is crucial. We are deep at corner, and if we can get pressure on the QB, we should get some 3 and outs. I look for Sumlin to rely more on his experienced line and backs, particularly in the red zone.
The key to the entire season is Ole Miss. Win that game and we could have great year. Drop that contest, and we struggle to win 8 games.
Season Prediction: 8-4
Game by game prediction:
@ SC - L
Lamar - W
Rice - W
@ SMU - W
@ Arkansas (Dallas) - W
@ Miss St - W
Ole Miss - W
@ Alabama - L
ULM - W
@ Auburn - L
Mizzou - W
LSU - L
I think we end up in the Gator Bowl, which is virtually impossible to predict. For the next six years, both the BIG TEN and ACC will each be represented three times against the SEC. If I had to guess who we would play, I don't know...Iowa? We beat them and finish the year 9-4.
I think we go 1-1 to close the year against Mizzou and LSU (both at home). I think Mizzou has a let down year, and we are able to knock them off. As for LSU, I think we come out firing and take the lead early, but somehow Les Miles pulls a victory out of his magic hat.
Kyle Allen will start a conference game at some point this year.
College Gameday does not show up at an A&M game this year. However, Tim Tebow will fly to Cleveland and tape an interview with Johnny Manziel for SEC Nation's visit to Aggieland.
Drew Kaser will have a segment on College Gameday this year, and go on to win the Ray Guy Award.
The 2014 Texas Aggies are going to be an exciting team. Unfortunately, I'm not certain they'll be a very good team. A quick glance of the depth chart shows first and second year players throughout the two deep. And that means high variance in terms of performance. They'll have some amazingly awesome moments and some amazingly awful moments, along with a run defense that will still be... um... leaky. Look for a young, supremely talented team to lose a game they shouldn't and win a game they shouldn't. If you want to beat A&M, this is the year to do it. The talent Sumlin is bringing in will make wins against the Ags in 2015 and beyond tough to come by.
Predicted Record: 7-5
Non-Conference: 4-0. A&M's non-conference slate is so quilted soft it should be sponsored by Charmin. Sure, some of this is residue from the upheaval of conference realignment, but these four games are the sort of affairs that are perfect for a young team finding itself.
Now let's take a look at the SEC schedule.
At South Carolina: Loss. Spurrier at home on opening night is too much for the Ags to overcome, though young stars like Speedy Noil will flash on the big stage.
vs. Arkansas (Arlington): Win. Arkansas will have already played Texas Tech, and you can be sure Kliff will share notes with Kevin. The no huddle offense gurus aren't going to show BERT any mercy.
At Mississippi State: Loss. It's the year of the cowbell, with the Bulldogs returning almost everyone from a team that had a good finishing kick in 2013.
vs. Ole Miss: Loss. The ultimate toss up game. It's still October, and our young guys are still young. Pencil this in as the "lose a game they shouldn't" game, which would be fitting considering the thievery we've perpetrated in Oxford the last two seasons.
At Alabama: Loss. Simply too much of a talent discrepancy between the rosters. Throw in the pleasure of playing at Bryant-Denny and this looks to be Sumlin's second loss by a double digit margin in his A&M tenure.
At Auburn: Loss. Another brutal road trip to a team whose strength - power running - matches up painfully well with A&M's weakness.
Mizzou: Win. After a sky high season in 2013, the Tigers lose too many contributors and return to earth before leaving the Ags' schedule for a while (finally!).
LSU: Win. The pieces come together in front of 106,000+ at Kyle Field on Thanksgiving night. This is the "win one we shouldn't game", and it more than salvages what has been a pretty rough crash course on life in the SEC for most of the A&M team.
Bowl Game: Who knows where the SEC office - that's who handles assignments for nearly all SEC bowl games in this new College Football Playoff era - will send us. But we'll be a team that no one wants to play. And get a win.
Final 2014 Record: 8-5
Ah, the enigma wrapped in mystery and shrouded in Conner McQueen’s ginger locks that is the 2014 A&M football team. My heart says the Ags start the season with a win in South Carolina, but unfortunately my head – and liver – expect the Gamecocks' massive offensive line to slowly grind the Ags defensive line down over the 2nd half.
Lamar, Rice and the Boulevard/SMU provide a kind 3-game recovery period from Columbia, and the offense should be firing on all cylinders by the time A&M squares off against Arkansas in Jerry’s Soulless Death Star Mausoleum Cowboys Stadium. Mississippi St. and Ole Miss back to back will be nailbiters, but the offense has just enough to sneak through in successive shootouts.
The next week, however, could be rough: by mid-October Myles Garrett, Nick Harvey, Zaycoven Henderson, and Armani Watts will all be entrenched in the starting lineup, and Tuscaloosa has a way of exposing youth. Thankfully, a week off to watch tape and heal wounds comes after the Tide, and A&M takes their frustrations out on ULM as the calendar turns to November.
The final 3 game stretch will define the 2014 A&M team; after a 7-2 start that most likely leaves them ranked firmly in the top 20, Auburn, Missouri, and LSU each present a unique challenge. Let’s pencil in a loss to Auburn, a close win against Mizzou, and a heartbreaking loss to LSU to end the regular season at 8-4.
Fortunately for A&M bowls love offense, and led by 2nd team All-SEC quarterback Kenny Hill, they accept an invitation from the Outback Bowl. Bo Pelini’s Nebraska career ends with a 42-17 loss to A&M, as well as his being led off the field in handcuffs after assaulting both Lil’ Red and Herbie Husker in a most unfortunate incident.
A&M’s 17 returning starters in 2015 have plenty to look forward to.
As Coach Sumlin said in his press conference the other day, the Aggies have one of the toughest schedules in football this year. A&M has six currently ranked opponents, three of which - South Carolina, Auburn, and Alabama - will be faced on the road. Unfortunately, I think we lose each of those road games and at least one, if not both, against Mizzou and LSU in late November. I’m picking A&M to finish either 8-4 or 7-5, and to be a likely participant in the Liberty Bowl.
If there’s one thing that could completely blow my prediction of 8-4 away, it’s going to be a sports statistician’s most hated term: Momentum. Even though I expect the Aggies to lose against South Carolina in the opener next week, I see them peeling off six straight wins against Lamar, Rice, SMU, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, giving them a 6-1 record as they get ready to face Alabama. If there is a shocking win in store for this season, I could see it being in Tuscaloosa against a Bama team that may be going through some growing pains of their own offensively.
While I think the defense will be better than what we saw in 2013, and the offense will maintain the explosiveness that we’re used to seeing from Sumlin led teams, I think youthful mistakes and self-inflicted wounds will overwhelm a squad that has a lot of room to grow. Without trying to sound overly pessimistic – I’m much more excited about the 2015 season than I am the 2014 season.
@ USCe: 29 - 31 SC (both teams return lots of talent, but the Aggie offense will get rolling early and not be able to hold off the come back on the road)
Lamar: 59 - 10 Ags
Rice: 42 - 13 Ags
@ SMU: 45 - 7 Ags
= Arky: 33 - 19 Ags (Arkansas running game gives the Ag defense fits, but not enough.. the game slows down due to all the running)
@ MSU: 31 - 26 Ags (MSU always plays strong "big boy" football; but their talent is simply not enough to hold off A&M)
Miss: 24 - 27 Rebels ( I don't know why, but I think Ole Miss finally beats us this year... strange game)
@ Bama: 31-20 Alabama (The Ags hang in there pretty well to the end, just can't keep it together for 4 quarters in this one)
ULM: 39 - 14 Ags
@ Auburn: 34 - 24 Auburn (too much on the road for the Ags to overcome 2013 SEC Champs)
Mizzou; 31 - 21 Ags (Pinkel is a good coach, and seems to have the Aggies goat fora while, but its too much in B/CS for the Tigers)
LSU: 23-20 Ags (we finally get that monkey off our back - the only SEC-W team we have not beaten since joining the SEC)
BOWL: Belk Bowl - Ags beat Pitt 38 - 22
First, you'll want to ignore my eerily accurate prediction last season where I even called us getting credentials to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. I'm calling a disappointing 6-6 record for Texas A&M's 2014 campaign. My self-loathing projection includes losses to South Carolina, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. Are we eligible for the BitCoin Bowl? If so, that's where we'll end up. Fortunately, Coach Sumlin will hold on to nearly the entire 2015 recruiting class even though Facebook thinks we should shut down the program for a few years. Our offseason becomes very dark and Hypno-Toad writes a series of Sylvia Plath parodies.