Shocking. There’s no other way to describe Texas A&M’s 26-22 loss at home to Mississippi State on Saturday. Shocking that the Aggies lost to the lowly Bulldogs, who claimed their 1st SEC win of the season — a program that hasn’t had a winning conference record since 2014.

Shocking how the game was lost. A defense that 2 weeks ago led the nation against the pass and hadn’t allowed a passing touchdown through the first 3 games was dizzied by the Bulldogs’ Air Raid attack. Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers torched that once proud defense for 408 yards and 3 TDs on 46 completions. Rogers finished with a QB rating of 152.8.

Shocking how average the offensive line is and has been throughout the first third of the season. Let’s not call it terrible, only because the Aggies did run the ball with some effectiveness. Isaiah Spiller ran for an even 100 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Devon Achane gained another 69 yards on the ground and averaged 8.6 per tote. So there was some success in the trenches.

As a team, the Aggies rushed for 162 yards. That includes Zach Calzada’s brilliant 25-yard touchdown run that felt like it would give Texas A&M the boost it would need to get over the hump.

While Calzada wasn’t afforded much comfort in the pocket, the offensive line did provide enough blocking to gain decent yardage via the run. That’s as positive as it gets at the moment for a beleaguered line that continues to be the team’s biggest liability. And let’s face it: Until that gets fixed, there will be more games like Saturday’s.

Shocking that just 5 games into the 2021 season, not even halfway through, there is only the slimmest of chances anymore for Texas A&M to compete for any type of championship, even for division honors. All that went out the window Saturday with a loss to a team many consider the division’s bottom-feeder. But at least for 1 week, the Aggies have shockingly fallen to that level.

The only thing left to play for this season, relative to preseason expectations, is to get better and maybe pull an upset of their own down the road. Maybe even next week against Alabama at Kyle Field? Laugh if you must, but that’s about the only thing that could salvage this season anymore.

A victory of that magnitude could heel some wounds in a season of such high expectations and such huge disappointment; shocking, really. Who could have foreseen that with Alabama coming to town, the Aggies would be at the bottom of the division standings looking up at the top-rated Tide?

This was supposed to be the SEC West game of the year. The game that finally put an end to the Red Tide nightmare that has haunted this division since Nick Saban returned to the college scene.

Instead, after the way Alabama pummeled Ole Miss on Saturday, Aggieland will watch the game either through paper bag cutouts or peeping through hands over their faces. Cringeworthy comes to mind in describing what the Aggies are staring at next on their schedule.

But this has been one strange season already, not only for the Aggies but for many teams that had high hopes for 2021. Alabama and Georgia appear immune to the madness, but the season is still relatively young. And who knows — the pressure is off, and maybe that will settle down the O-line and the team? Maybe they’ll play more relaxed? Maybe that will allow them to play up to expectations?

If shocking is indeed the way this season is to be remembered, why not continue that trend next week and make it really shocking. Nothing this season so far would be more shocking than the Aggies taking down No. 1 on Saturday at Kyle Field.