As we enter the 2019 Aggie Football season we all know about the difficult schedule. Four games against teams ranked in the Top 6 of the Pre-Season Coach’s Poll. This includes the Top 3. Three of those four games are on the road. The craziest thing about this schedule is it makes games against Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and even Ole Miss and Arkansas seem like after thoughts. Nobody is even talking about the other 5 SEC games on the schedule. We’re all focused on those four games. It’s a daunting task but welcome to the SEC.
For the most part everyone would consider 8-4 a successful season. That would be a solid season beating everyone else except for the teams ranked ahead of you. I think 8-4 is a good barometer for this team in 2019. However, it doesn’t mean this team can’t go 10-2 like the 2012 team. The talent is certainly there but it’s young and inexperienced. It’s even possible this team could catch lightening in a bottle and go 11-1 like the 2013 Auburn football team. They lost to LSU early and then beat Georgia and Alabama in back to back games to get into the SEC Championship game where they won that game too. They then went on to the national title game losing to Jimbo Fisher and FSU. I don’t see A&M making the College Football Playoff but it’s not impossible if a few breaks go their way in close games. College football can be funny sometimes.
It’s also possible this Aggie team loses those 4 games and then loses a couple other games going 6-6. That would be an extremely disappointing season but depending on how those 6 losses played out it wouldn’t mean it’s a terrible team. It would just mean they lost to some really talented teams and then didn’t get some breaks against teams as talented as them.
I did a preview on how I think the position groups look going into 2019 which you can read here:
I think these position groups in this order have the most influence on the final wins and losses for the Aggies in 2019:
- Offensive Line
- Wide Receivers
The Secondary was our worst unit last year but I think we have enough influx of young talent that it will be markedly better. I believe Armani Watts would have been worth at least one if not two wins more last season. I think the addition of Leon O’Neal and Elijah Blades if they play to their talent and potential will make the Secondary much better. I won’t get into details on the other groups as you can click the link but just wanted to clarify why I think our worst unit last year isn’t a higher question mark heading into 2019.
My last two season predictions have been spot on record wise. I predicted 7-5 in 2017 and 8-4 in 2018. I flipped the Florida and Mississippi State games in 2017. In 2018 I was wrong on the Mississippi State and LSU games.
Here’s my game by game breakdown for 2019:
Texas State Bobcats:
Jake Spavital and his index card-based offense return to Kyle Field for his debut as a head coach. Perfectly ironic. You know I’m no fan of Jake Spavital as a coach. I think he’s HIGHLY overrated. I don’t think he’ll be any better as a head coach than he was an offensive coordinator. I just wonder if he’ll have color coded index cards for offensive and defensive items so he doesn’t get confused.
The last time these two historic teams met on a Thursday night Hurricane Rita was barreling towards the coast. That game wound up being closer than expected at 44-31 but I don’t see the same thing happening in this game. That was Fran against David Bailiff and this is Jimbo against Spav. Major advantage to the Aggies.
What I’d like to see in this game is a flawless first half with a score of 35-3 at half. Have the starters play 2-3 series in the second half scoring another touchdown so it’s 42-6 at worst by the time the second units find their way in full time.
More than anything I want to see a healthy game with an offense and defense that control their side of the ball for most of the game. Scores are hard to predict but just give me a healthy Aggie team that executes their game plan and controls the entire game. I think we’ll see that.
Of all the “Big 4” games I believe this is the most daunting game of them all. This will be the first big start for a lot of our younger guys and we’re going on the road to Clemson.
There’s also these factors:
- We’re not sneaking up on Clemson
- This is a different team than we played within 2 points at Kyle Field
- This is the biggest game on their schedule
We’re the highest ranked team on Clemson’s schedule by a large margin. We’ll likely be coming in as the 11th ranked team in the country. They have one other opponent ranked in the Top 25 on the rest of their schedule. That team is Syracuse and they’re ranked at 22 headed into the season and play Clemson the week after us.
Clemson has their toughest two games in back to back weeks early in the season so there will be no surprising them. They know if they can get through weeks 2 and 3 then they’re headed for the playoffs more than likely. We’re their biggest game because if they can beat an SEC team that affords them a loss on their schedule and still easily make the playoffs if they win the ACC. If they lose to A&M then their margin of error for the rest of the season becomes much smaller to make the playoffs.
In addition to motivation this is a different team than played at Kyle Field. Their defensive line might not be as good but their defense will still be really damn good. The big change will be on offense as Trevor Lawrence might be the best quarterback in college football. He only played about 33% of the snaps against us last season. In addition, Justyn Ross barely saw the field against us. He was a true freshman but all he did was go on to lead Clemson in receiving last season. In the national championship game he caught 6 balls for 153 yards including a 74-yard touchdown against the Bama secondary. Against Notre Dame Ross caught 6 passes for 148 yards and two scores. Needless to say we didn’t see what Ross had to offer in our game last season. Lawrence and Ross might be the best QB/WR combo in the country so they’re going to test our young secondary.
This doesn’t even account for the rest of their roster which is loaded with talent.
I’ll likely do a more in-depth piece closer to the game. It’s not an impossible win but it will take everything A&M has to pull off a victory in Clemson. On paper right now I just don’t see it happening. They’re the defending national champions for a reason.
After taking on Clemson the Aggies get to come back to Kyle Field to take on Lamar. This might be a minor let down game where the score is closer than it should be but I don’t see us losing this one.
We’ve got Auburn the week after so I think Jimbo can keep their focus.
I’m not sure what to make of this Auburn team. They were under-achievers last season going 7-5 but they beat us. They should have been 6-6 as we gave that game away.
They lose Jarret Stidham who didn’t quite achieve what he should have at quarterback under Gus Malzahn but he wasn’t terrible. They look to start either Bo Nix who’s a true freshman or Tyler Gatewood who redshirted last season and didn’t take any significant snaps. Gus is calling the plays again which will make things interesting. It usually takes Gus a few games to get his quarterbacks in sync so I don’t think he’ll have his offense humming quite yet. They’ll still be talented and will move the ball but I just question how much they’ll be able to score.
Defensively Auburn has one of the best defensive lines in the country. The rest of their defense is solid as well. Points won’t come easy for the Aggie offense.
This feels a lot like the Mississippi State game of last year with these two exceptions:
- It’s at Kyle Field
- There’s no Nick Fitzgerald
Jimbo appears to be making Kyle Field a home field advantage again and Nick Fitzgerald had our number so it’s good Auburn doesn’t have a guy like him. This will be a game likely dominated by defensive line play shutting down the other offense for most of the game. Welcome to old school SEC football.
I think the Aggies will scratch out just enough points to come out on top of this one but it won’t be easy.
At some point we have to lose to Arkansas. I just hope it’s not 2019 and I don’t think it will be. 2018 should have been the year they beat us but Chad Morris screwed up that one. I’ll never understand why he chose to not attack our secondary from the get go. If Arkansas comes out passing last season we probably lose that game. I’m glad he didn’t as I like beating Arkansas.
Bret Bielema pretty much ran the Arkansas program into the ground from a talent standpoint. Chad Morris has a daunting task in front of him and I don’t think he’s quite there yet. I like Chad Morris and John Chavis as coaches but I don’t think they have the talent they really need to compete in the SEC.
This Arkansas team was 2-10 last season not winning a single SEC game along with losing to the likes of Colorado State and North Texas. The lost to both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt in Fayetteville and then were shut out 38-0 at Missouri to close the season. That’s a really bad season for a program like Arkansas.
Despite that Morris recruited surprisingly well and obviously got Nick Starkel to transfer. I know he’s an Aggie fan favorite and everyone thinks we’d win a national championship with him but I don’t think he’ll make a difference at Arkansas. Aggies keep the winning streak alive.
My heart wants to say the Aggie win this game but my head says they’re not quite ready yet. The Aggies will be coming off a bye week before this game but not sure it will matter. Alabama will be too.
I think the most underrated thing Jimbo Fisher did in 2018 was not lose a conference game at Kyle Field. You must go back to 1999 to find a season where the Aggies didn’t lose a conference game at home. Dennis Franchione, Mike Sherman, and Kevin Sumlin never did that. Jimbo did it in his first season.
I want to believe this trend continues in 2019 but Alabama is going to be a sticking point. All Alabama did in 2018 was go undefeated until they lost to Clemson in the national championship game. What a terrible coaching job by Nick Saban. The dude won 14 games in a row but couldn’t win the 15th for the title. He’s terrible. Bama should just go ahead and fire him.
Tua is back at quarterback along with his fleet of receivers. They’ll be salty through the air. They lost some defenders to the NFL Draft but like a AAA baseball team they’ll have some new ones for the NFL to scout in 2019 for the 2020 NFL Draft.
It’s simply amazing what Saban has done at Bama. I want to believe it’ll change and there’s a slide coming but I must see it with my own eyes first. Until then Bama is Bama under Nick Saban and I think he hands Jimbo his first conference loss at Kyle Field.
I hope I’m wrong and some 2012 magic finds it’s way to Kyle Field.
After Bama the Aggies head to Oxford to take on Ole Miss. Oxford has been a weird place for us and this is a different Ole Miss team than we’ve played in the past. They lost a lot of skill position talent on offense. Even with that talent they were still bad though.
They were 5-7 last season and lost their last 5 SEC games. I don’t think they’ll be any better in 2019 and will probably be worse. I think they’ll battle Arkansas for the worst team in the SEC West.
Even with a potential Alabama hangover I think the Aggies will be fine and win this game.
Much like the Aggies have had Arkansas’ number the Mississippi State Bulldogs have had the Aggies’ number. Since Johnny Football left for the NFL the Aggies have only beat Mississippi State once in five tries.
Outside of the Auburn game last season this loss was the most frustrating. Mississippi State had two things going for them the Aggies simply couldn’t overcome:
- Nick Fitzgerald
- Three first round defensive starters
Nick Fitzgerald simply had the Aggies’ number. In three starts he never lost to A&M. He’s gone. Thank goodness.
To compound matters last season the Bulldog’s had two defensive lineman that gave our offensive line problems all night. Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat. They’re gone along with Jonathan Abrams who was a solid safety.
Mississippi State was 8-4 last year but I think they take a decent step back this year. I think they’ll struggle to make a bowl game as they lose a lot from last year’s team and I don’t think Joe Moorhead re-stocked it or Dan Mullen on his way out of town.
Couple all of that with it being at Kyle Field and I think the Aggies win this one pretty easily.
Win (6-2) BOWL ELIGIBLE
The final crappy game of the season at Kyle Field. Those in charge of college football keep wondering why attendance keeps dropping but they keep putting crappy opponents at home. Nobody wants to see these crappy teams past the first two weeks in September. They really don’t even want to see them then.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – If A&M wins the SEC West they’ll have one game to prove their worth for the college football playoff. You win the SEC championship game and you’re a lock for the college football playoff. It’s as simple as that.
I’m not saying we have to play Texas but we shouldn’t be playing more than two crappy games a year at Kyle Field. I think playing two is even a stretch.
You want attendance to improve? Put some damn home games the fans care about going to. UTSA ain’t one of them.
I know nothing about the Roadrunners but I know we win this game.
I personally think South Carolina is the most underrated program in the SEC since Dan Mullen took off to Gainesville. Will Muschamp has matured a lot since his Florida days and has built a solid program after Steve Spurrier. That doesn’t mean they’ll win a lot of games but they won’t be easy to beat. At best they’re shooting for third in the SEC East every season but they’re not a terrible football program like some others in the conference.
Jake Bentley returns for his 4th season as starting quarterback. He’s a scrappy quarterback but he lost his best offensive weapon in Deebo Samuel. Defensively they’ll be like they usually are where they’re fundamentally sound but just don’t have the talent to beat the more talented teams on their schedule. Sleep on them and they’ll beat you though.
Like Arkansas we’ve never lost to South Carolina in the SEC. That’s right, the illustrious Bonham Trophy has never seen the East side of the Mississippi River. I don’t think it changes in 2019 either.
This Georgia game confuses me because I’m not sure who Georgia is right now. Kirby Smart seems to have that program on a great foundation but they experience hiccups from time to time. They lost some key offensive talent but they’ve recruited well and their recent history says they’ll still be one of the best teams in college football.
Two years ago, they were a half away from a national championship before they choked it away. Last season they were a quarter away from the SEC Championship and headed to the playoffs before choking it away. They then went on to get outplayed by Texas in the Sugar Bowl for the entire game. Georgia had a couple of costly turnovers but if you watched the game you saw a Texas team whip Georgia at the line of scrimmage. It wasn’t a good look.
At the end of 2018 there were plenty of question for if this Georgia team is really all that good. There’s the 36-16 loss at LSU but that game was in Tiger Stadium and Georgia had 4 turnovers. I’m chalking that game up to an anomaly during the Kirby Smart era. Tiger Stadium can get the best of you. Kirby Smart is 24-5 over the last two seasons. Make no mistake Kirby Smart has an elite program in college football. I don’t think that changes in 2019.
I went back and looked at the SEC teams that have lost the Sugar Bowl to a Big 12 team and what happened the following season. That’s happened twice in the last decade with Alabama losing to Oklahoma after the 2013 season and then Auburn after the 2017 season. Each team then went on to play in the SEC Championship game the following season. It’s a small sample set for sure but losing to a Big 12 team in the Sugar Bowl doesn’t appear to have a detrimental effect on a program. Sorry Big 12 fans.
Before I can really predict this game I want to see what Georgia does against Florida and even Notre Dame. If Dan Mullen can compete and even beat Kirby Smart with Feleipe Franks then I’ll have confidence Jimbo can do the same with Kellen Mond.
Until I see Georgia truly falter in 2019 I must predict this as a loss for the Aggies. They’re just a better program right now. The short sample set of losing the Sugar Bowl doesn’t lead me to believe there’s any detrimental effect. Georgia will continue to be an elite team and a force to be reckoned with.
Do you know we close the season at LSU? Do you know we beat LSU in a 7 OT thriller last season? Do you know that Coach O has circled this game on his calendar?
I believe this is the most important of the Big 4 games this season. I know other wins will be more lustrous but if there’s only one to win of the Big 4 this is the game. I said this when Jimbo came to Aggieland – As long as Nick Saban is at Alabama Jimbo’s most important task will be establishing Texas A&M as the second-best program in the SEC West above LSU and Auburn. Beating LSU in back to back seasons will be a MAJOR feather in Jimbo’s cap.
Closing the season with another win over LSU does so much for the program when it comes to perception. This will help with the media, recruits, and casual fans of Texas A&M. To get to Alabama you must establish yourself above LSU first. This win of the Big 4 will matter the most if you can only have one. If we beat 2 of the 3 before this I don’t mind losing to LSU nearly as much but this is the biggest game on our schedule in my mind.
As for the game itself I have no idea what to expect right now. There are just too many variables. LSU loses a couple key guys on defense in Greedy Williams and Devin White. Don’t be mistaken though as they’ll just re-load with talent that’s not far off from those guys. Offensively Joe Burrows is back and while he’s not electric he’s as gritty as they come. This will be a tough LSU team.
The biggest variable will be LSU’s record coming into the game. If they lose to Texas, Florida, and Alabama then they might not be as motivated to beat us. Coach O’s team is loaded with talent but he just seems to have games he loses when he should have won. Those three stick out to me before we play them.
That Texas game seems like one of those games because it’s in Austin early in the season and Tom Herman has shown to be nails against higher ranked opponents. I want to see LSU win that game but I think Texas knows they need it more. Coach O might not have his charges ready. If LSU loses that game they could be set up to lose a couple more before playing the Aggies. The more they lose the less motivated they’ll be to beat A&M despite having it circled on their calendar. That will help A&M’s chances of winning this game.
Even if LSU comes into the game with only a loss or two I don’t think it really changes A&M’s chances of winning this game. Winning last year’s game got the proverbial monkey off their back. The Aggies now know they can beat LSU. The Aggies know LSU wants payback for an early Powerade celebration gone awry. The Aggies don’t want to give it to them. The Aggies will be plenty motivated to beat LSU regardless of how motivated LSU is.
I also believe that if 2020 is the year for the Aggies then this LSU game must be the launch point. If this group is truly talented enough and motivated enough to win it all in 2002 they’ll beat LSU in 2019. It won’t be easy but if Jimbo and his team are truly building something special for 2020 this is a moment we’ll look back to as a major phase in the building process.
I believe in Jimbo. By the end of the season I believe this team will walk into Baton Rouge and make one more statement against LSU. I believe the Aggies will take that step to 2020.
There you have it. The Aggies will finish 9-3 and be the second-best team in the SEC West yet again. They’ll make a New Years 6 Bowl game and be set for a 10-win season looking to 2020 for a solid chance to make the playoffs and the national championship.
I still believe there’s a chance this team does what the 2012 team did and go 10-2. It’s not a far reach if the talent develops as the season wears on. For now, I’m putting it at 9-3. Even 9-3 is a daunting task when you look at the schedule and the youth on this team. But as Jimbo says – Even you don’t bite as a puppy you won’t bite as a dog. This Aggie team is gonna get some bites this season.
We just need Jake Spavital and his collection of index cards to get here sooner than later so we can start taking those bites.
Make Aggie Football Great Again
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We’ll do a re-cap of each game throughout the season along with some other things like game previews for bigger games.
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The Ultimate Aggie Grill:
At the 2019 Houston Coach’s Night the ultimate Aggie grill was on display. Chaz Hammonds ’13 with Soul Fit Grill has created a maroon kamado grill. As someone who has one of the big name kamado grills I can tell you this thing is on par quality wise. It’s comparable in size to the XL of the big name brand for much less. For $899 you get the grill, side boards, and stand. If you’re in Houston he’ll even deliver for free. If you’re in the market for a kamado grill give Chaz a look. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s a link to his website:
He also has a smaller grill if you’re looking for a smaller one: