Making a Case for Texas A&M as a CFP Contender


The goal for Texas A&M has always been to win the SEC, or at least since Johnny Manziel proved to the world that the Aggies could be competitive in the world’s toughest conference. After spending at least one week ranked in the top 6 in the following two years, it was officially put-up or shut-up for the Aggies in 2015.

Texas A&M’s victories over Arizona State and Arkansas were skepticized, and rightfully so, but it seems as if we might finally have a grip on where the Aggies are after a solid 30-17 win over

Oct 3, 2015; College Station, TX, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) is sacked by Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Daeshon Hall (behind) during the second half at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State at home.

It seems as if voters tend to agree, with A&M checking in at no. 9 in this week’s AP poll.

Earlier in the year I made a case for Texas A&M being SEC contenders by highlighting weaknesses every SEC team has, and five weeks into the season, not much has changed.

Leading up to this game, I said that Mississippi State is the biggest game of Sumlin’s career. I stand by that, but with a good win over the Bulldogs in the rearview mirror, Kevin Sumlin can move on to bigger things – almost immediately.

The 30-17 win proved that A&M is an SEC contender, not because they are no worse than any other team, but because they have the potential to be the best. And I mean it.

Think about it:

Kyle Allen has thrown 4 touchdown passes in two SEC games, (not counting two end zone drops) giving him 13 next to just two interceptions, and has scored twice on the ground. And, while Allen struggled with ball security early, the Aggies have gone two straight weeks without turnovers.

Tra Carson ran for over 100 yards on Mississippi State, and caught eight passes against Arkansas last week, scoring five touchdowns this season and proving to be a versatile workhorse for the Aggies.

Oct 3, 2015; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies running back Tra Carson (5) is tackled by Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Richie Brown (39) during the first half at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Reynolds has averaged twenty yards a reception, and Christian Kirk has emerged as perhaps the best true freshman in the country. Ricky Seals-Jones was having a big game this week before a targeting call ending his night early. The Aggies have the deepest receiving corps in the nation, and have done it so far without Speedy Noil.

The offensive line has been a bit porous at times, but played easily their best game this week, as the Aggies put up almost 200 yards on the ground and Allen was sacked just once.

The defensive line’s numbers speak for themselves, as Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall have combined for 12.5 sacks, and Daylon Mack has big-play potential every time he puts his hand in the dirt. Seniors Alonzo Williams and Julien Obioha have also made plays, such as Obioha hitting Dak in the end zone, forcing an incompletion. Behind them, guys like Alonzo Williams, Kinglsey Keke, Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson give the Aggies enough depth to play at a high level for four quarters.

The linebackers had a rough start, but outside of containing Dak Prescott, had a great game on Saturday as Mississippi States running backs totaled just 41 yards. AJ Hilliard appears to finally be hitting his groove and becoming maybe the Ags’ best back, and when Otaro Alaka returns from injury, we already know what the sophomore can do.

The secondary is led by three stud safeties, two of which (Armani Watts and Donovan Wilson) have made strong cases for All-SEC selection. De’Vante Harris has an interception, and made plays against

Sep 26, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies nickel Donovan Wilson (6) runs back his interception in the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

DJ Foster, De-Runnya Wilson, and made the play that ended the Arkansas game. Brandon Williams has still not given up the deep ball, and had two very impressive one-on-one stops on Saturday. For a converted running-back to be playing that well on the island is impressive.

Punter Drew Kaser has backed up his #Kaser4Heisman campaign, flipping the field constantly (remember Mississippi State’s first drive after losing a fumble in the Aggies red zone began on their own two yard line), and Taylor Bertolet hit a 55 yarder. The junior is still too inconsistent for comfort, but he has all the talent in the world. Christian Kirk has been sensational returning both punts and kicks, and the kick coverage team has not given up a substantial return.

The Aggies are a complete team, and with Kevin Sumlin and John Chavis drawing up game plans, the sky is the limit for this Texas A&M team. The Aggies can be as good as they want to be.

The schedule also sets up nicely, with the Ags getting a week to rest up and try to get guys like Alaka, Noil, and Henderson ready to go and game plan for Nick Saban and an Alabama team that throttled Georgia on the road. Alabama still has to go through a physical Arkansas team after an emotional

Oct 3, 2015; Athens, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker (14) hands the ball off to running back Derrick Henry (2) during the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

road victory before coming into College Station.

Kyle Field just witnessed it’s first Top-25 victory since the Aggies shut down RGIII in 2011, and it appears as if it is back among the toughest venues in the nation.

With all of those pieces coming in to play at the most crucial stretch of the season, A&M has a very good chance to have a special season. A&M is 5-0 for the second year in a row, but this year’s team has a much different feel to it. Kevin Sumlin agrees. The confident, ninth-ranked Aggies that will take the field in two Saturdays against Alabama is not the same inexperienced group that went into Tuscaloosa with their confidence shattered after back-to-back blowouts.

If Texas A&M can win this one, there’s no telling how far they might go.