Texas A&M football: How will this roller coaster of a season end?
I don’t know how it’s possible, but the college football season is already halfway done. We wait impatiently all summer long for this time of the year, and then in what seems like a blink of an eye, it’s halfway finished.
For Texas A&M, however, that may not be the case. In fact, the season just might feel like an eternity after only 6 games. This week’s bye could be coming at the most opportune time for a drained team that has seen more ups and downs in a month and a half than most teams do through the course of an entire 12-game schedule.
The roller-coaster ride of a season the Aggies have taken so far must be exhausting. A home loss to Appalachian State to started it, followed by back-to-back victories against top-15 teams, albeit overrated teams, highly regarded (at least at that point) nonetheless.
And just when it seemed the Aggies finally had put things together and perhaps level out the season, a nose-dive followed in Starkville, Miss., with an 18-point loss to the Bulldogs.
But that’s not even where the ride ended. Heck, the way things are going it just might be getting started. The Aggies came within a play or two of knocking off the No. 1 team in the nation, on the road, finishing 2 yards shy of a second consecutive major upset of Alabama.
Whether or not head coach Jimbo Fisher tipped off Alabama DB Terrion Arnold that the game’s final play was coming his way in the form of a pass to emerging freshman Evan Stewart; whether or not Stewart failed to execute the play and drive Arnold far enough into the end zone to make his cut back to the football and have room to make the catch, is now a footnote.
It’s been whiplash so far in 2022 with injuries and, yes, youth has been a factor out of necessity because of some of those injuries. The result has been a 3-3 record to this point, only 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Aggies are grossly underachieving in the 5th year for Fisher, regardless of how incessantly he uses youth as an excuse.
So, as the Aggies collect their thoughts, their breath and their nerves during this bye week, it’s interesting to ponder how the second half will shape up. In a season with high expectations, as they have all been since Fisher arrived on the scene, will the Aggies make a run? Can they be more consistent in the final 6 games? Or will the roller-coaster ride continue to make the second half of the season just as unpredictable as the first?
The schedule gets a lot tougher, that’s for sure, because it includes 5 SEC games. Two are on the road, Oct. 22 at South Carolina and Nov. 12 at Auburn. The rest, including a non-conference encounter with Massachusetts on Nov. 19, makes it a little more palatable, but not any easier. Home games with Ole Miss, Florida and LSU remain.
Here’s a look at the final half of the 2022 season and a guess as to how each game might play out.
At South Carolina – W
Beginning with the game at South Carolina, the Aggies could be running into a buzz saw. The Gamecocks are 4-2 and like Texas A&M have a bye week leading into the game. But the Aggies somehow find a way to pull off a conference road win at night at Williams-Brice Stadium. An Aggies team that has the capability, according to Fisher, finds a way to escape with a win on the road, their first in SEC play since last October at Missouri.
Ole Miss – L
The Aggies can’t stop the Lane Train and current No. 9 Ole Miss picks up another hard-fought victory on its way to a NY6 bowl. But don’t be surprised if the Aggies knock off a top-10 team. It seems that it’s against that type of competition that the Aggies play their most inspired football.
Florida – W
At 4-4, the Aggies are desperate for a victory, and they get it by smothering the struggling Gators at Kyle Field. Bowl eligibility is now just one more win away.
At Auburn – L
Here comes another one of those head scratcher games. Not so much that it’s a conference road loss – the Aggies are 1-4 in their last 5 SEC road games heading into the second half of this season – but that it’s to a discombobulated Tigers team, regardless of who their coach is by that time, that the Aggies aren’t able to overcome another one of those uninspired performances.
UMass – W
A projected 6th victory here makes the Aggies bowl eligible, and with a young team those extra practice days should prove valuable, right? Sitting at 6-5 heading into the final week of the regular season, the only question left is; will the Aggies finish with a winning record?
LSU – W
They accomplish just that in the final week of the regular season. The Aggies close a disappointing, underachieving campaign with an impressive victory against a heated rival. Kyle Field is rocking once again as Texas A&M wins a slobber knocker against the Bayou Bengals and finishes the regular season with a 7-5 record. It’s a winning season even if it’s one that falls woefully short of preseason expectations.