It’s now or never for Texas A&M, head coach Jimbo Fisher and, for that matter, the rest of the SEC West.

The division is wide open like never before.

Sure, last year was rather crazy with 9-3 LSU coming out of nowhere to win the division, even with 2 conference losses. The Tigers advanced to the SEC Championship Game while ranked 14th. It was the 1st time since Arkansas in 2002, which was ranked 22nd, that the West Division representative was not ranked in the top 10.

In fact, take away No. 8 Arkansas from 2006 and 18 of the past 20 West Division champions played in the SEC Championship Game ranked in the top 5.

But if you glanced at the most recent AP rankings, you’d have to scroll all the way down to No. 12 to find the highest-ranked SEC West team. That would be LSU, 1 spot ahead of Alabama and 3 spots ahead of Ole Miss.

And that’s it.

Only 3 SEC West teams are ranked at all. Both Alabama and LSU got whacked by the only teams each played this year with a pulse, and Ole Miss beat a ranked Tulane team that was without its starting quarterback.

The division race looks to be headed in the same direction as last year. Two losses could very well be good enough again to claim the title. Dare I say that 3 conference losses could still get 1 of these 7 teams a ticket to Atlanta?

It’s possible.

No team looks dominant.

Every team has looked vulnerable.

We’re going to find out really quick who’s who in the SEC West. This Saturday, 6 of the 7 teams play within the division. Ole Miss visits Alabama, LSU hosts Arkansas and Texas A&M welcomes in Auburn. Things will begin to take shape in a hurry.

The 2-1 Aggies kick things off at noon ET against an upstart Auburn team that has won its 1st 3 games under new head coach Hugh Freeze. It’s an opportunity for the Aggies to get the jump on the rest of the division as we get into the games that really count.

Texas A&M opened as a 7-point favorite. The game shapes up to be a shootout, with both teams averaging around 40 points per game. The Aggies rank 3rd in the SEC while Auburn is 4th in scoring offense. Texas A&M ranks 5th in the conference in passing yards behind emerging quarterback Conner Weigman and a group of talented receivers.

But it looks like a matchup of strength vs. strength.

Auburn leads the SEC in passing defense. While the Aggies are averaging 337.3 passing yards per game, Auburn is yielding just 155 passing yards per contest. The Tigers have also been opportunistic with their pass defense, picking off 5 passes already over the 1st 3 games of the season while giving up just 2 TD passes, which is tied with 3 teams for the fewest TD passes allowed.

But Auburn hasn’t had to cover a group of receivers with the overall ability that the Aggies wideouts possess. And it isn’t like the Tigers are lighting it up in opposing backfields. They only have 8 sacks this season, which ranks 7th among SEC teams. It will be interesting to see if the Aggies’ still-inconsistent offensive line can give Wiegman enough time to find his receivers.

On the other side of the football, Texas A&M must slow down an Auburn running game — fueled by the quarterback play — that leads the SEC. Tigers junior quarterback Payton Thorne, a Michigan State transfer thought to be the passer in what has been a 2-QB system, actually leads the team in rushing. Thorne is averaging 6.36 yards in his 22 carries this season.

“Running” quarterback Robby Ashford has averaged 5.07 yards per carry so far this season on 15 attempts. Prior to last Saturday he was used primarily in the red zone as a dual threat. Ashford leads the Tigers with 4 rushing touchdowns.

Stopping Auburn’s ground attack will be paramount for an Aggies defense that through 3 games ranks 6th in the SEC against the run. That’s a vast improvement over the 2022 season, in which Texas A&M was last in the SEC defending the run.

So, everything is in play for Texas A&M this season in what looks to be a whacky SEC West race.

It all starts for real on Saturday.