SDS Roundtable: Texas A&M's over/under is 9.5 wins. How many games will the Aggies win in 2020?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: How many regular-season games will Texas A&M win in 2020?
A bit of background …
Texas A&M won 10 games 1 time in the previous 21 seasons. They did so in 2012, their first year in the SEC. They’ve averaged 8 wins in the 7 seasons since.
Optimism is building, though, as the Aggies enter the 2020 season as dark-horse favorites to win the SEC West.
Part of it is the schedule, which is considerably friendlier than last year. Part of it is the fact that Kellen Mond is a 3-year starter entering his senior season. And it’s also Year 3 under Jimbo Fisher, who won a national title at Florida State.
The over/under win projection for the regular season is 9.5. Is this the year the Aggies break through?
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
Texas A&M has 1 of the most manageable schedules in college football. Out-of-conference games against Abilene Christian, North Texas, Colorado and Fresno State should be 4 wins. Match that with SEC crossover games against South Carolina and Vanderbilt, and the Aggies should go undefeated in non-SEC West games. Wins should also come against Arkansas, Mississippi State, Auburn and Ole Miss. Playing Alabama and LSU in back-to-back games will be brutal, but I just talked myself into 10 wins for Texas A&M.
In order for that to happen — and the Aggies not lose a team they’re favored against, Kellen Mond has to take a big step this year against the better teams and defenses. He struggled against Alabama, Clemson and LSU last season, and that simply can’t happen if 10 wins are on the horizon.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
I know, I know. I’ve seen the schedule. I know that A&M’s only real test in those first 10 games should be that trip to Auburn. Everyone is anticipating a 9-1 or even a 10-0 start in College Station. If Jimbo Fisher isn’t 9-1, yikes. He won’t be on the hot seat, but the “is he still an elite coach” question will be a tough one to defend for the pro-Jimbo crowd.
Here’s what I keep coming back to. I’ve seen a lot of Kellen Mond over the past 3 years. He’s a decent college quarterback. He can beat you in more ways than any SEC quarterback heading into 2020. But you know what I don’t like? If he was as good as he said he was, his team would’ve led for more than 7 minutes and 42 seconds against top-15 teams last year (based on the final AP Top 25). A&M hasn’t beaten a quality SEC foe on the road since Sept. 2016.
I need to see it to believe it before I put my chips on the Aggies to make that jump.
Michael Bratton, News editor
This is a stay away for me. I’ve been saying Texas A&M could very well be 10-0 heading into the final 2 games of the season and I have confidence the Aggies will be able to play with LSU and Alabama this year, but it’s tough for me to predict them winning either game.
If the Aggies lose a single game before hitting the trip to Tuscaloosa and hosting LSU in College Station, I feel like the under will be the safer option.
I’m high on the Aggies, but until we actually see Jimbo Fisher’s program elevate into an elite program in the SEC, I would put my money on the under given that there are no automatic wins in the SEC West.
Adam Spencer, Newsletter editor
The over/under is pretty much spot-on. I have the Aggies at 9-1 entering their final 2 games, which are at Alabama and at home against LSU. Going into Bryant-Denny Stadium against a Crimson Tide team that should still be playing for a potential spot in the College Football Playoff won’t be easy.
I’ll chalk the Alabama game up as a loss, which puts them at 9-2 entering the LSU game. Considering all the talent LSU lost from last year’s title-winning team, I wouldn’t expect a 50-7 beatdown like the Tigers handed the Aggies in 2019. This game will answer the question of whether Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies are ready to take the next step forward or not.
I say they beat LSU this year, so give me the over on 9.5 wins. They’ll finish the regular season 10-2 and in second place in the SEC West behind Alabama.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
If Texas A&M doesn’t win 10 regular-season games in 2020, then when will it?
If Jimbo Fisher doesn’t win 10 games in 2020, then the Aggies hired the wrong guy.
Paying a coach $1M per win seems a bit, well, generous, but that’s where the Aggies are: Fisher is making $7.5 million a year and in 2 years has delivered 15 regular-season wins, or 7.5 per year. He’s 2-0 in bowl games, but let’s be honest, the Aggies didn’t give him a record contract to win the Texas Bowl.
This has to be the year the Aggies jump LSU and Auburn and challenge Alabama for the SEC West crown. Even a 6-2 SEC season would be disappointing, even though that’s the best the Aggies have ever done.
They should be no worse than 9-1 when they visit Alabama on Nov. 21. They have the easiest crossover among West contenders. The nonconference slate is so worry-free that it will be called into question if the Aggies find themselves in the Playoff discussion.
The schedule screams 10-2, at worse.
If the Aggies finish 9-3, boosters will be screaming. And rightfully so, too.