2019 Texas A&M Aggies Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
It is really tough to judge where Jimbo Fisher is at in his new role at Texas A&M. Sure, winning nine games in his first year was solid after a couple of rough years for the program. But they lost to three of the four best teams they played and needed seven overtime periods to get past the fourth. Aside from one bad loss, they took care of business in the games they had to take care of, but they didn't shock anyone. Fisher won two more games than Kevin Sumlin did the year before, and looked better in several ways, but to say that he has revolutionized the program would be, at best, a gross exaggeration. It's an incomplete grade at this point.
One way or another, we should get a sense of how much - or how little - momentum he has after this season. Spoiler alert - I'm not feeling hugely optimistic.
2018 in a Nutshell
The schedule did Fisher no favors in his first season - he had to play both National Championship finalists in the first four games of the season. After crushing Northwestern State in the opener, they played Clemson very tight at home, losing by just two in what was arguably the toughest game the Tigers played all year. Then they beat up UL Monroe before traveling to Tuscaloosa, where they were humbled by the Tide. They beat Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina, but then lost a real head-scratcher, falling by 15 at Mississippi State. They followed that up with a much closer, but more acceptable loss at Auburn, but that was the last time they lost. They beat up Ole Miss and UAB as they should have, then got by LSU by a ridiculous 74-72 score in seven periods of overtime in easily the craziest game of the entire season. That all earned them a berth in the Gator Bowl against NC State, and they won that game as handily as they should have, cruising to a 52-13 win.
Key Additions and Departures
The Aggies lost seven players to the draft. Only two went before the fifth round, though - center Erik McCoy in the second, and stellar TE Jace Sternberger in the third round. Fifth-round running back Trayveon Williams is a huge loss as well, after a season that saw him set a school record with 1,760 yards, and he added 18 touchdowns - along with 27 catches and a touchdown through the air.
The recruiting class was very strong, coming in at fourth in the consensus rankings. Of the top recruits, the most interesting is TE Baylor Cupp. From Brock, Texas, his nickname is the Brock Gronk, and expectations are high from him to be able to step right into the starting lineup and to help fill the hole left by Sternberger. OT Kenyon Green, the team's top recruit, could also be in the mix at right guard, as junior Ryan McCollum, the starter there last year, has shifted to center. If it isn't Green out of the gate, it could be a redshirt freshman, and it's a good time to start a youngster as the rest of the line is experienced starters. Between freshmen and redshirt freshmen, Fisher should start to see several of the players he has added to this team start to make significant impacts.
Biggest Area of Concern
The defense last year ranked third in the country against the run but was only 12th in the SEC against the pass. That disparity was a real problem. And with a whole lot of new faces on the defense - only four starters return, and corner Charles Oliver ideally wouldn't start again given his serious struggles last year - it is no lock that that will change dramatically. You can tell that Fisher was desperate to change his depth on the defensive side by the fact that he recruited five linebackers. The talent is here, but whether it will come together or not is a big question - and a big concern.
Texas A&M Aggies Schedule Analysis
This is a really brutal schedule - one of the tougher ones in the country. After a soft opener against Texas State, they jump right into the deep end by traveling to play Clemson. They have another gift against Lamar, but then they host Auburn in a test. Next up is a neutral-site game against Arkansas that should be manageable, but then they play Alabama - because why would you just play one finalist when you can play both? The two SEC squads from Mississippi, UTSA and South Carolina represent a simpler month, but then things get brutal again. They finish off with back-to-back trips to Georgia and LSU. The team could be solidly improved from last year - which is no guarantee - and they could still have a worse record than they did.
2019-20 Texas A&M Aggies Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has the Aggies at +5000 to win the national title, which puts them behind 15 other teams and far behind the top contenders. Five teams that the Aggies will play are at lower odds to win the title. That's not what you want to see heading into a season.
2019-20 Texas A&M Aggies Predictions and College Football Picks
It's tough to feel good about this team. The offense returns largely intact and should be solid, but the defense has gone through a lot of changes and wasn't anything close to perfect last year. And the schedule is just brutal. If Fisher could match the nine wins from last year, it would be a pretty impressive accomplishment - one I don't anticipate seeing this year. This futures price is big, but not big enough to make it attractive in my eyes.
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