One of the mystery teams in the SEC this year is Texas A&M, and part of the mystery is whether the Aggies face a favorable or tough schedule against the College Football odds.
That's how the assignment came in, a quick analysis of the favorable schedule the Texas A&M Aggies have on the 2015 college football betting fixture. And at first glance, it's easy to see why some believe the Aggies have a favorable slate.
Closer examination reveals why others think Texas A&M faces one of the toughest schedules we'll see at the College Football Playoff level. How difficult it is can be seen in the Aggies' 20/1 return on the College football futures odds to win the SEC, and a more distant 80/1 to win the National Championship. 5Dimes released their win total at 7½, a number that has held despite my expectations it would come down to 7.
The Aggies will experience both sides of the scheduling coin this year, starting with the fact they only play three true road games and stay inside the confines of the Lone Star State for nine of the first 10 contests. The first time out of Texas, however, is a trip to Oxford to face a highly ranked Ole Miss team. Texas A&M ends the year on the road at Vanderbilt and LSU. The Aggies beating the Commodores is close to a given, but they'll be underdogs against the Rebels and again in Baton Rouge, a game they may need to win just to become bowl eligible.
Neutral Site Matchups Crucial To A&M's Season
Trips to Houston and Arlington will be short for Kevin Sumlin & Co., and the A&M student body should be the most vocal bunch in the stands both times. Still, the Ags aren't facing cupcakes with Arizona State and Arkansas in the college football betting matchups.
Texas A&M is a slight favorite by a field goal vs. Arizona State at most shops charted by SBR's live College Football odds. The total for the Week 1 battle has slowly inched up to 66½.
The season's first month closes with the Razorbacks at Cowboys Stadium in Week 4. There, the Arkansas fans present a little more of a challenge than the Sun Devils faithful will in Houston to begin the campaign. A lot can and will happen between now and the time the Aggies start whooping it up and the other side start starts calling in the hogs, but my current projections are Arkansas as a 3-4 point favorite for the collision.
Aggies Find SEC Wins Tough At Kyle Field?
Let's assume for a moment that A&M splits the two neutral site dates and somehow beats either Ole Miss or LSU on the road. That still means the Aggies need to win five of seven home games to go 'over' the 7½ total, which brings us to this question: Just how much of an advantage it is to play in Kyle Field?
I'm not even sure how the Aggies will perform early on against Ball State and Nevada, solid football programs from the MAC and Mountain West that are expected to at least show up and give A&M a game. Yes, A&M should win the games, and the Ags get a respite late on the college football schedule against Western Carolina. Yet, I warn you about thinking this little plot of land near the old train stop south of Bryan -- how College Station got its name -- is something of a decided edge.
Texas A&M is 3-7 in SEC action at Kyle Field since joining the conference in 2012. Let that sink in a minute, three and seven. The Aggies lost all three league home games a year ago, and neither Alabama nor Auburn came to town.
Those two visit College Station in mid-October and early-November this time around, along with a pretty fair Mississippi State team capable of continuing the Kyle Field jinx. The Tide and Tigers came away with exciting high-scoring wins in 2013, and the same results only fewer than 40+ points per side happening again is my pick.
Seven and five is what I keep coming up with at best -- AT BEST -- for Texas A&M in 2015. That seemingly favorable home schedule isn't all it's cracked up to be.