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College Football Predictions: No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies

There were so many peaks and valleys for Texas A&M a season ago. The Aggies followed back-to-back losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State with a stunning win over Alabama. However, any momentum from that win ended when the Aggies dropped their final two SEC games.

While many of the other SEC teams were rather active on the transfer portal, Texas A&M only brought in two transfers while losing more than 10 players including two players who remained in the SEC.

The Aggies devoted more energy to put together a recruiting class that was rated as the top group of incoming freshmen in the country. Defensive linemen Walter Nolen, Evan Stewart, and Lebbeus Overton are among the top 15 recruits in the country and they could continue immediately.

Texas A&M (+1600) is third in the odds to win the SEC championship. Those odds have risen from +850 since early June according to the college football picks. The Aggies (+600) are second only to Alabama in the odds to win the SEC East Division title.

Texas A&M (+2200) is sixth in the odds to win the national championship according to the sportsbook.

Texas A&M Aggies

  • 2021 record: 8-4
  • 2021 conference record: 4-4
  • Head coach: Jimbo Fisher
  • Odds to win conference title: +850

The Aggies lost their leading passer, rusher, and receiver as well as some key defensive players so there are some questions for the Aggies.

With Isaiah Spiller off to the NFL, Devon Achane could emerge as the unquestioned No. 1 back for the Aggies. Among SEC players with at least 100 rushing attempts during the 2021 season, Achane led the conference with an average of seven yards per carry. Achane went from having 50 carries in the first six games of the season to having 80 over the last six games. That increased workload should be something Texas A&M fans should get used to seeing.

Amari Daniels and L.J. Johnson could see expanded roles after combining for 41 carries as freshmen.

There is a change at quarterback. Starting QB Zach Calzada is at Auburn while former LSU starter Max Johnson is with the Aggies after throwing 35 touchdown passes with seven interceptions in his two seasons at LSU.

While Jalen Wydemyer is now in the NFL, Ainias Smith is back after leading Texas A&M with 47 receptions and finishing second with 509 yards a season ago. Achane should be a key part in the passing game after he was third on the team with 261 receiving yards in 2021.

Jalen Preston could see a larger role after recording 17 catches in 11 games as a junior. Chase Lane and Moose Muhammad return after combining for 22 catches.

Kenyon Green was a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft leaving a huge hole to fill on the offensive line. Reuben Fatheree, Bryce Foster, and Layden Robinson are the returning starters on the line. Robinson is earning plenty of preseason recognition.

Leading tackler Aaron Hansford is among the key losses on defense.

Antonio Johnson and Demani Richardson return after combining for 144 tackles. Johnson is being touted as a potential top 10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The linebackers will be led by Edgerrin Cooper, who had 58 tackles as a freshman, and Andre White.

Some new faces will need to emerge on the defensive line. Not only is DeMarvin Leal off to the NFL but Tyree Johnson, Michael Clemons, and Jayden Peevy are also gone after teaming up for 26 of the Aggies’ 39 sacks last season.

Keep an eye on 300-pound sophomore Shemar Turner while McKinnley Jackson and Fadil Diggs could also emerge as key pieces up front.

Nik Constantinou (46.6 yards per punt in 2021) is back but a new kicker will need to be found to replace Seth Small, who had 71 field goals over the last four seasons. Top kickoff returner Jashaun Corbin and No. 1 punt returner Roshauud Paul are both gone.

Receivers Demond Demas and Caleb Chapman, linebacker Antonio Doyle and defensive lineman Jahzion Harris join Calzada among the players to transfer.

Outlook

Jimbo Fisher put together some impressive recruiting classes during his time at Florida State. After back-to-back top-10 classes, Fisher and his staff took it to the next level by putting together the top group of incoming freshmen in the country at Texas A&M. That led to an interesting offseason with Alabama coach Nick Saban accusing Fisher and his staff of using the Name and Image Likeness guidelines to buy these recruits. That should make the Oct. 8 game at Alabama must-see TV.

After facing Sam Houston and Appalachian State, the degree of difficulty will increase with games against Miami and Arkansas. Back-to-back games against Ole Miss and Florida won’t be easy for the Aggies. Other than the Miami game, the non-conference schedule is a bit on the soft side.

Texas A&M has won its last four season openers and will be heavily favored in the season opener against Sam Houston. Something to keep in mind for those who bet online, five of the last eight Texas A&M games in 2021 finished over the total.

The expected regular-season win total of 8½ according to the college football odds features -155 odds for Texas A&M to go over that total compared to +125 to go under.

2022 Schedule

Sept. 3 vs Sam Houston

Sept. 10 vs Appalachian State

Sept. 17 vs Miami

Sept. 24 vs Arkansas (at AT&T Stadium, Arlington)

Oct. 1 vs Mississippi State

Oct. 8 vs Alabama

Oct. 22 vs South Carolina

Oct. 29 vs Ole Miss

Nov. 5 vs Florida

Nov. 12 vs Auburn

Nov. 19 vs UMass

Nov. 26 vs Louisiana State

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