Was there a more disappointing team in college football last season than the Texas A&M Aggies football team? The Aggies were early favorites to reach the College Football Playoff, coming off a subpar 8-4 season. But their real momentum came from having the No. 1 overall ranked recruiting class coming into last season, which was the highest-ranked class in history, per 247Sports. The Aggies quickly showed that none of the hype was warranted, starting as early as the second game of the season. In Week 2, they lost to Appalachian State by three at home, which pretty much set a precedent for the rest of the season. How will the Aggies fare going into 2023? Let's make some bold predictions.
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4. Texas A&M football will be best in College Station
One of the greatest things about college football is the home stadium and crowds. There's no better home-field advantage in any sport than in college football. Luckily for Texas A&M football, they have one of the best stadium atmospheres in the entire country in Kyle Field. Although they did lose to Appalachian State at home in their first loss early last season, the Aggies saved their best football—loosely speaking—for home.
Apart from the neutral site game against Arkansas in The Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, four of the Aggies' five wins came at home in College Station. That means that all their wins came in the state of Texas. In fact, the Aggies even pulled off an upset win over LSU to end their season, giving the Tigers only their second loss of the regular season. The home schedule gets a little tougher this year, however, with Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi State coming to Kyle Field. But they'll also face three non-Power Five schools that they should be able to defeat. They won't win them all at home—especially speaking of Alabama here—but they should still be as strong as usual on their home turf.
3. The Bobby Petrino hire won't work either
After giving his former Arkansas team a scare last year, Bobby Petrino's Missouri State Bears left little else to be desired. The team regressed from an 8-3 team two seasons ago to going 5-6 last year. Petrino, who Fisher is looking to bring in to revive his old, outdated offense at Texas A&M, has been known to do just that. Last season, the Bears finished with the second-best total offense in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, but they were 65th overall in the FCS, where they averaged 366.3 yards per game.
We'll have to see if Petrino's style of offense isn't now as outdated as Fisher's once prolific offense has become. From the start, this seemed like an odd hire, one that Fisher made out of desperation. He knows that his job is likely on the line this season, so the need for something drastic was evident. But was Petrino the right answer? This hire feels just as out of touch as the rest of Fisher's decisions at this point. Plus, Fisher and Petrino are two massive egos who most are predicting will immediately clash. This likely won't lead to good things for Texas A&M football.
2. Texas A&M football defense will be the strength of the team
The Texas A&M defense is likely to be the driving force of the team once again in 2023. What was a baffling setback in the previous year, finishing at the bottom of the SEC in run defense, hopes to be an anomaly for a program that had showcased its prowess in this aspect over the previous five seasons. The ensemble of talent within their defensive lineup suggests that plummeting to the league's worst run defense is simply not in line with their capabilities. It's evident that health and depth were contributory factors to last year's slump. Should this year's group remain unscathed, there's a high likelihood they will reestablish themselves as premier run-stoppers in the league. The infusion of improved performances from linebackers Edgerrin Cooper and Chris Russell Jr. will only augment this resurgence.
Similarly, the secondary of Texas A&M has been the team's strongest unit. Heading into 2023, this trend is poised to continue uninterrupted. The skillset possessed by Tyreek Chappell and Demani Richardson positions them among the elite defensive backs in the league, fortifying the team's pass coverage. Adding to this is the inclusion of Tony Grimes, a transfer from North Carolina, who is expected to make a seamless transition to the Aggies.
1. Texas A&M will finish 7-5
As has been well-established, the Aggies were just beyond terrible last year. Nothing can change that. But does anyone really believe they'll be that much better this season? Even with the talent they have and even in an age where the transfer portal can completely change the outlook and output of a team, this team has far deeper issues than just talent. Whether that's Fisher's fault or something else within the Aggies' administration, Texas A&M just can't seem to find the right head coach, no matter how much money they throw at them.
Texas A&M football will likely be better than last year, increasing their win total by two, but this team might need a complete overhaul once again. If finishing 7-5 is indeed their fate, will that also be the end for Fisher and his time in College Station? Perhaps Texas A&M's administrators will have to dip into that Johnny Manziel stash of money to pay out the rest of Fisher's contract to see him gone.