Texas A&M football: Final 4 games will define program's season, direction
What a season it has been already. The lowest of lows and the highest of highs all crammed together within a matter of a few weeks.
Unpredictable? Certainly; who could have foreseen back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State, especially after a 3-0 start? And then, what person in his right mind would have believed that the very next week, the Aggies would knock off the No. 1 team in the nation in defending national champions Alabama?
And yet, all of that happened.
Now, after a bye week, the smoke has cleared somewhat, and the Aggies find themselves standing at 6-2 on the season and 3-2 in conference play. What does that mean? Well, it depends on how optimistic you want to be.
Simplified, it means that if the Aggies win out — and that’s entirely doable given the team’s trajectory heading into the bye week — and Alabama loses to either LSU, Arkansas or Auburn, the Aggies win the SEC West and head to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Okay, back to reality; Texas A&M has 4 games remaining. Here’s a look at them individually and the chances for victory in each.
Auburn — Nov. 6 at Kyle Field
The Tigers are beginning to find an identity under 1st-year head coach Bryan Harsin. Quarterback Bo Nix isn’t as awful on the road as he has been in the past. In fact, Nix has led Auburn to road wins in both SEC games away from Jordan-Hare. Yes, the Tigers come to Kyle Field 2-0 this season in SEC road games.
Texas A&M has never beaten Auburn at Kyle Field. The Aggies are 0-4 all-time against the Tigers at home. Could this be the year they break the streak?
Chance of victory: 52 percent
Ole Miss — Nov. 13 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Can’t decide if this one or the Auburn game will be the Aggies’ toughest of those remaining. Probably this one, considering it’s on the road. Well, that and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Matt “Golden” Corral calling signals for the Rebels.
Get past these 2 games, and that scenario mentioned here about winning out, etc., kicks in. Yes, despite all that has happened previously, it’s these 2 games that will decide which direction the Aggies are headed.
Chance of victory: 48 percent
Prairie View A&M — Nov. 20 at Kyle Field
For what it’s worth, this is one of the better SWAC teams. The Panthers defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 27-17. Arkansas-Pine Bluff was blown out by Arkansas, 45-3. That’s the only real comparison I can make. For reference, the Panthers also pocketed victories over Houston-area teams Texas Southern (40-17) and HBU (37-27).
Those teams are obviously not anywhere near the same level as SEC programs, but the Panthers have shown this season that they do know how to win games. Still, this should be an easy one for Texas A&M.
Chance of victory: 92 percent
LSU — Nov. 27 at Tiger Stadium
This one closes the regular season for Texas A&M and simultaneously brings the Ed Orgeron era at LSU to a merciful end. It’s Senior Night for LSU; likely, it’s the Tigers’ bowl game. Can’t imagine the Tigers have much else to play for other than sheer pride.
But that probably won’t be enough to turn back a Texas A&M team that continues to build toward its ultimate goal.
Chance of victory: 54 percent
So there you have it. With as much as has already transpired, there’s still an important chapter left to write in this novel. I have the Aggies finishing 9-3, and that should put them in a pretty good bowl game. Probably not a New Year’s 6 game, but one of the Florida bowls would be a distinct possibility.