The Texas A&M football team enters 2019 with one of the more difficult schedules on paper, but that didn’t stop Athlon from predicting a Top 10 finish.
Once Texas A&M football hired Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State, the hype train was full of passengers. I don’t remember another program who had more “dark horse” predictions from the SEC going into the 2018 season. Several college football experts expected Fisher could take an above average, but not elite, roster and vault them to contender status if everything fell the right way.
Well, as it turns out, Fisher is human and the team went through its ups and downs in 2018. They ultimately finished 9-4 and any fan of the team being honest with themselves could feel good about the 2018 season and the future of the program. We were officially in good hands.
However, it was a sobering realization to see the daunting 2019 schedule and how difficult it will be to come away with just one loss, which is what it would likely take to earn a place in the college football playoff. Does Fisher have the ability to get through playing four of the top 10 teams in the country? That’s what Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Georgia represent. Top those off with Auburn, Mississippi State and South Carolina, and it doesn’t get any easier.
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Finishing the season in the Top 10 would most likely mean the Aggies come out of that ridiculous schedule with at most three losses. Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida were in the Top 10 of the final College Football Playoff rankings with three or more losses last season.
Georgia went 11-1 in the regular season before losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship and losing to Texas in the Sugar Bowl, Michigan went 10-2 before losing to Florida, who finished the regular season 9-3, in the Peach Bowl. Washington finished 9-3 before winning the Pac 12 Championship and losing to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Athlon Sports recently predicted the final college football rankings and have the Aggies at No. 10. Judging by where Washington (No. 9) and Florida (No. 10) fell in the rankings, that puts the Aggies likely around 9-3 in the regular season and probably winning their bowl game to get to 10 wins.
Where will those three losses come? Well, perhaps to literally the top three teams in those same rankings — Clemson, Alabama and Georgia. For good measure, if the Aggies come away victorious in one of those, they still have to play LSU, who is No. 7 on the list, on the road.
While it’s not unforgivable for Texas A&M to lose every one of those games, they are why Fisher was hired in the first place. They have to win big games, and they will be in plenty for the foreseeable future so they might as well get some practice in 2019.