As the 2012 college football season draws nearer, Crimson White Sports will take a look at each team in the SEC, give our thoughts on how they will do in the league this year, and give some key matchups vs. Alabama, if they are on the Tide’s 2012 schedule. Up next: Texas A&M
2011 record: 7-6 (4-5 Big 12)
Final AP ranking: Unranked
2011 was a serious, serious letdown for Texas A&M. The Aggies entered the season with one of the school’s highest preseason rankings, at No. 8 in the AP Poll, and was expected to make a legitimate run at the Big 12 Title, if not the national title. And for the first two weeks of the Aggies’ season, it looked like they were well on their way to that dream.
The following week, A&M suffered a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma State, giving up a double digit halftime lead to lose 30-29. Then, something weird happened. The next week, the Aggies gave up another huge halftime lead to eventually lose the game, this time to the Arkansas Razorbacks. With the loss, A&M’s national title hopes were over.
Still, the Aggies seemed to rebound over the next three weeks, with wins over Texas Tech, Baylor and eventual Heisman winner Robert Blake Griffin III, and Iowa State. That was about the last good thing to happen to the Aggies that season. The Aggies lost three of their next four games. Even worse, two of the losses featured, yet again, blown leads on the part of the Aggies (two 14-point leads against Kansas State and nine-point lead over Texas.)
The Aggies ended up making and winning the Meineke Car Care Bowl over Northwestern. Even with the win, it was an ultimately disappointing season for Texas A&M.
Key returning starters: RB Cyrus Gray, WR Ryan Swope, LB Sean Porter
2012 outlook: Much like their SEC East counterparts, the Texas A&M Aggies are going to have an interesting year finding out they do in the SEC. The Aggies should have a manageable first month to figure that out, with three cupcake teams and a manageable first game in the SEC in the Florida Gators.
The next month will show how well A&M will fare in the SEC. The Aggies will take on two of the best three teams in the SEC West, in Arkansas and LSU, a decent Auburn team and the Ole Miss Rebels. Two weeks later, the Bryant Bowl will get underway in Tuscaloosa visits the Crimson Tide. A&M will close out the season with a manageable final two games against Sam Houston State and Missouri.
My take on the Aggies? Another good-not-great season. The Aggies have the talent, just not on the level of the SEC, at least yet. And, assuming the Aggies have learned how to not blow their lead, look to see them win seven games in the regular season and make a bowl game.
Final line: 8-5 with a bowl win.
Key games in 2012:
- September 29 vs. Arkansas
- October 20 vs. LSU
- November 10 at Alabama
Key matchups vs. Alabama (11-10 @ Tuscaloosa)
- A&M linebackers vs. Alabama running backs: Texas A&M brings back its top three tacklers at the linebacker position, a unit that helped the defense hold opposing offenses to a paltry 118 yards per game in 2011, ranking them No. 2 in the Big 12. Alabama is a run-first team, so the A&M is going to have to slow down Eddie Lacy, Jalston Fowler and T.J. Yeldon if they want to have a shot at the win.
- A&M receivers vs. Alabama defensive backs: A&M is also bringing back its top three receivers from last year, one of whom had over 1200 yards receiving. And although they no longer have Ryan Tannehill throwing to them, these receivers are used to getting open. And for an Alabama secondary that’s breaking in new starters at three positions, these guys will pose a serious threat.
Filed Under: Around the Country