Texas A&M football: 5 reasons it's time to start taking the Aggies seriously
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Texas A&M was blown out by Alabama and in danger of falling out of the polls.
Oh, how things have changed.
The Aggies moved up to No. 7 this week in the AP poll and are sitting at 4-1. They’re coming off a pair of dominant victories, including a 42-31 win against Arkansas that wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggests. They’re improving each week as the season reaches its halfway point, and they appear to be a legit contender.
Yet, there are still a few A&M skeptics. It’s only natural with how the Aggies have fallen flat in past seasons, and the lopsided loss to the Crimson Tide certainly doesn’t help. But anyone who has watched A&M in the past few games can attest that this year has a different feel than in Jimbo Fisher’s first two.
Here are five reasons to start believing in the Aggies.
1. The progression of Kellen Mond
Mond has really come into his own during his senior season.
It was a shaky start, and he entered the Florida game with a lot to prove. He did that and then some, leading the Aggies to a marquee victory that turned their season around and put them back on the national map.
Since the matchup against the Gators, he has thrown for 8 touchdowns to just 1 interception. He has thrown for 260 or more yards in two of the three games during that span. Not to mention, he is now A&M’s all-time leader in total offense.
A championship team and a great quarterback go hand-in-hand, and Mond has been playing like one of late.
2. The offensive line
The offensive line was one of the most maligned units over the past couple of seasons. But the same group is paving the way for the Aggies’ success this year.
All five starters returned from last season, and the experience appears to be paying off. The line has allowed the Aggies to average an SEC-leading 5.3 yards per carry this season. They have given up just 1 sack in five games. That’s even more remarkable considering they were the worst in the SEC in that category last year.
Coaches often say the game is won up front, and the Aggies are tremendously improved there this season.
3. Jimbo Fisher
Experience matters on a championship team.
Not only are the Aggies led by a veteran quarterback in Mond, but they also have a coach who knows what it takes to win a national championship. Fisher, of course, won the national title in 2013 as the coach of Florida State. He spent eight seasons with the Seminoles and made a New Year’s 6 bowl in five of those years.
His experience should help the Aggies manage high expectations as they finish out the regular season.
4. Defense coming together
After a rough start to the season, A&M’s defense has looked a lot better the past couple of weeks.
The Aggies have 10 sacks in that time, including 4 against Arkansas. The game before that, they forced Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello to throw 3 interceptions. They’re not giving up points, either. Arkansas did score 31, but 2 of those touchdowns came late in the fourth quarter.
The Aggies will need to show they can maintain this success, but, like all areas, the defense is getting better with each week.
5. A favorable path
The rest of the schedule sets up well for the Aggies.
They face one more ranked opponent in No. 24 Auburn at the end of the season. They will need to continue winning in convincing fashion to impress the committee, but there’s a good chance they end the year at 9-1. Thanks to the loss to Alabama, they likely won’t play in the SEC Championship Game.
The Aggies will need to monitor what happens with other contenders the rest of the season. However, they set up very well to be in the Playoff discussion when the year ends.