Let's review what Texas A&M has to offer this season. Join us as we go through the team odds, predictions and future SEC performance as well as a final free pick from our betting expert.
On the college football betting front, all eyes are now on the lookout for juicy futures odds on teams to win conference championships and the national title. That means there's plenty of focus on the Southeastern Conference which has taken a backseat to the ACC and Big Ten the past two seasons after SEC teams won seven consecutive BCS Championships from 2006-12.
Despite the two-year absence from the winner's circle, the SEC is still getting a lot of respect from sports books with two of the top 8 schools on the college football futures odds board, Alabama (8/1) and Auburn (16/1). The odds on Auburn have tightened up since we took a look at the Southeastern Conference back in April when the Tigers were listed at 20/1 to win the national championship.
A school that was seen just a few years ago as a rising star and one that would keep the SEC on the front burner in the BCS and the new College Football Playoffs was Texas A&M. That has not proven to be the case, however, for Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies who remain a long shot for the Division I crown at 80/1.
Can Aggies Surprise In Tough SEC West?
It's obvious by now that the incredible splash Texas A&M made in its first SEC season after moving out of the Big 12 caused the bar to be raised too high, too quick. To be fair, the increased expectations were easy to have following the 2012 campaign directed by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, a season that included taking down both Alabama and Auburn before wrecking Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl to cap an 11-2 showing, A&M's first double-digit win showing since 1998.
The Aggies followed that up with a 9-4 record in 2013 and 8-5 mark this past year, and that 2012 upset in Tuscaloosa seems like a long time ago, especially after the Crimson Tide spanked Texas A&M last year, 59-0.
The outlook isn't nearly as high this year, as those 80/1 college football futures odds to win it all and 20/1 to win the SEC would indicate, so perhaps the pressure being off will help. The general consensus is the Aggies are headed for a last-place showing in the West Division, and I tend to agree with that notion. Their best chance to avoid the division cellar might be to beat the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 26 in Arlington.
Texas A&M does have a friendly SEC slate, with home games against Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn, Sumlin and his staff getting two weeks to prepare for the Tide visiting College Station. At the same time, playing in front of the Kyle Field faithful hasn't translated into any advantage since joining the SEC, the Aggise winning just four of 11 conference home games.
Wholesale Changes Coming To Defensive Side Of Ball
The offense appeared to be on track back to posting Johnny Football numbers when the Aggies bolted to a 5-0 start last season behind QB Kenny Hill, but the wheels on that bus fell off and sent the team crashing to a 3-5 finish. True freshman Kyle Allen took over the reins and will be back to lead the offense for Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Allen should have a very talented group of receivers and running backs at his disposal, along with an experienced offensive line.
But it won't matter how well Allen and the Ags do when they have the football if the defense can't perform any better than it has the past two seasons. Texas A&M allowed better than 30 points per game in 2013-14, and was 11th in the nation last year giving up 216 yards per contest on the ground.
Sumlin hopes he addressed that issue this past offseason by bringing in John Chavis from LSU to bring the defense back to its Wrecking Crew glory days. It might take a while for his players to pick up his new scheme, and it will be a young group trying to do so with seven sophomores among the 11 starters.
The Aggies will be tested right out of the gate with a season-opening clash against Arizona State. They will have the luxury of remaining in their home state for the first six games, two of those neutral site contests in Houston and Arlington, but we shouldn't look for anything better than 4th-5th in the SEC West Division, and a lower-tier bowl invite after another 7-win regular season.