Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but this is the year Aggieland has been waiting for. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has been building toward this, elite recruiting class after elite recruiting class, building quality depth, and now it’s time to reap the benefits. Yes, it’s time.

Here’s a look at what might be and what we hope isn’t for Texas A&M football in 2021, the best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Aggies in the upcoming season.


1. QB emerges

This is a biggie. Zach Calzada or Haynes King must take the reins and lead this offense. If he does, whichever one it is, then the Aggies are in very good shape.

Who that will be is anybody’s guess. Fisher has praised both throughout the competition. Both have good size and strong arms. Both have taken snaps with the 1s. But more importantly than who it is, the question is how quickly will the eventual starter settle into his all-important position.

2. O-line develops

Aside from All-American Kenyon Green, it’s new faces on the offensive line. Well, new faces relative to the 2020 season. Center Luke Matthews returns after a shoulder injury sidelined him all of last season, and Tennessee transfer Jahmir Johnson could be a force.

But Fisher is moving players around to find out where they’re best suited. The talent is there, getting them to play as a unit is the challenge. If they do, everything else surrounding the offense will fall into place.

3. Ceiling record/bowl landing spot

Folks, we’re talking about the ceiling here, the best-case scenario. OK, let’s talk; the 4 nonconference games should result in victories, perhaps easy ones except for maybe the clash in Boulder against Colorado. But winning those 4 should be expected.

Now, let’s get into it. The SEC schedule begins with games against Arkansas and Mississippi State. Shouldn’t be a problem, no matter how tough the Hogs seem to play their former Big 12 foe.

So that leads us into the big one: Alabama at Kyle Field. We’ve heard it before, but it seems as though the stars are aligned for an Aggies victory. Win that one and an extra game in early December is within reach.

The following week at Missouri is a trap game after such an emotional one the week before, but if Fisher has done his job, the Aggies will travel with level heads and take care of business. The same could be said for the following 2 games, both at Kyle Field, against South Carolina and Auburn.

Then it’s a pair of road games at Ole Miss and LSU (with a nonconference home game against Prairie View sandwiched in between). The best-case scenario is 2 more conference victories in the books and a perfect regular season.

Of course, that would likely send the Aggies to their first College Football Playoff game, regardless of what might happen in the SEC Championship Game. That’s the legitimate ceiling for Texas A&M football in 2021.


1. Defensive holes don’t get filled

The Aggies have 2 key holes to fill. At linebacker, where Buddy Johnson led the Aggies with 86 tackles last year. The other is in the defensive line, where Bobby Brown III led the team with 5.5 sacks and trailed only Johnson in tackles for loss. McKinnley Jackson is a candidate to replace Brown. Andre White is expected to start at Johnson’s middle linebacker spot.

If the Aggies don’t get the players to step in and at least come close to those numbers, it will put pressure on the 9 starters who do return and could have a negative domino effect on the team’s defense as a whole. Fortunately, the Aggies return arguably the most dominant defensive lineman in the league in DeMarvin Leal. His presence alone should help the newcomers ease into their new roles.

2. Standout WR corps is wasted

It would be a shame to waste the talents of Ainias Smith, Caleb Chapman, Chase Lane and Demond Demas, not to mention that of tight end Jalen Wydermyer. But if the o-line struggles and the new QB isn’t consistent enough, that’s exactly what could transpire.

With the potential to have one of the best receiving corps in the nation, that possibility won’t be realized without the cooperation and development in the trenches and under center.

3. Floor losses

After reading of a perfect season, you may want to turn your heads for this. Now, we’re going to examine the worst-case scenario, and it begins in Boulder. ESPN’s FPI gives the Buffaloes just an 11.8% chance of pulling off the stunning upset, but a stumble out of the gate could shake the confidence and put the Aggies on the wrong path for the remainder of the season.

A loss at home against Alabama certainly wouldn’t be surprising. Disappointing certainly, but not surprising. Then there’s former Big 12 foe Missouri the very next week. The Aggies have lost the last 3 times in Columbia and haven’t beaten the Tigers on the road since 1999. Again, distant history won’t matter this season, but an emotionally drained Texas A&M squad could be walking right into a trap there.

But wait, there’s more. The very next game after that is Auburn at Kyle Field, where the Aggies have never beat the Tigers. Wait, wait? Yes, the Aggies have never beaten Auburn at Kyle Field, going 0-4 all-time. That includes losses in 2019 and 2017. Uh-oh!

Of course, the regular-season finale at Tiger Stadium will be another battle. It’s a place the Aggies haven’t had a whole lot of success, losing the 4 straight. Texas A&M hasn’t beaten LSU in Baton Rouge since 1994 — before anybody on this roster was born. Worst-case scenario, another deflating loss.

That’s a grand total of 5 losses, worst-case scenario. But that’s the SEC and that’s what makes it so intriguing week in and week out.