Texas A&M Season Win Total Prediction
As recently as a couple of years ago, Texas A&M fans would’ve laughed at the notion of a make-or-break season for Kevin Sumlin. Three straight disappointments, however, mandate a major move forward in 2016.
An absurd quarterback carousel and questionable toughness along the interior of the defensive line combined to render last fall’s 5-0 start useless down the stretch. The Aggies stumbled to an 8-5 finish, losing the Music City Bowl to Louisville. Therefore, online sports book Bovada.lv drops this group’s projected win total to 6.5.
Even the most ardent College Station supporters must concede that a brutal schedule, which features Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee and UCLA in the first half alone, will complicate matters. Credit Sumlin and the university for eschewing cupcakes, but the new offense could honestly use a doormat or two before the heavyweights arrive. Noel Mazzone arrives from Westwood to inject some much-needed balance into the offense. His Bruins performed air raids and had the ability to chew up Pac-12 adversaries on the ground.
There’s a conundrum, though, insofar as Mazzone probably doesn’t have a Brett Hundley or Josh Rosen in the Lone Star State. Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray went elsewhere, so Trevor Knight presumably enters the Sept. 3 opener as Texas A&M’s fourth different starting quarterback since 2013. Then again, perhaps we’re underestimating the addition-by-subtraction element. Sumlin dealt with a ridiculous amount of disarray at the position last year. It’s conceivable that simply removing a few of those headaches may automatically brighten the temperament in the locker room, at the very least.
If Knight falls a bit short of expectations, junior Jake Hubenak represents the next man up. Nonetheless, Mazzone promises to simply things for any and all signal-callers by continuing to refine the running game. The Aggies just jumped from 149.9 yards per contest to 169.1 yards a tilt – good for No. 66 nationally. Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford should receive plenty of opportunities to lift that number even higher.
On D, All-America junior Myles Garrett and senior Daeshon Hall form arguably the conference’s top edge tandem. Prepared for a combined 20-22 sacks and constant disruption in the opposing backfield. The questions actually pertain to the tackle spot, where Daylon Mack and Kingsley Keke still lack legitimacy. With the exception of Otaro Alaka, second-level contributors like sophomore Richard Moore pretty much fall into the same category.
Blissfully, ballhawks litter the secondary. In addition to nickel extraordinaire Donovan Wilson, safeties Armani Watts and Justin Evans fly all over the place. They’ll need to keep doing precisely that for Texas A&M to exceed expectations advancing forward. Unfortunately, Knight’s being asked to carry too heavy a burden – with no grace period. We like the dual-threat dynamo’s skill set and the Christian Kirk-Josh Reynolds pairing at wideout, but the Aggies’ brutal division virtually guarantees a fringe bowl at best.
WEDNESDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M AGGIES UNDER 6.5 WINS