After two early-season losses, the Texas A&M football team found itself in a unique spot. The Aggies clearly had a talented squad, but it looked like the best option may be to develop young guys and pack things up for the next season.
This isn’t the NFL, so tanking makes virtually no sense, but keeping your players healthy does. Many coaches would have given up after two losses and played it safe. Jimbo Fisher doesn’t fall under the category of “many coaches.”
With two consecutive losses to middling SEC teams in Arkansas and Mississippi State, Fisher didn’t flinch at the sight of No. 1 Alabama on the schedule. Instead, he buckled down and began arguably the Aggies’ best stretch of football since the beginning of his tenure.
Should the Texas A&M football team be considered the second-best squad in the country?
The question above may seem like an immediate “no” for some — allow me to explain myself.
I briefly mentioned this concept in an earlier article this morning. It’s simple: the Texas A&M football team is an entirely different squad than it was in their Week 4 and Week 5 losses. Literally speaking, most of the same players are around, but performance-wise, things could not be more different.
The Aggies scored just 16 points per game in their two consecutive losses earlier in the season. Quarterback Zach Calzada looked like one of the worst passers in the entire country, much less the SEC. The Aggie offense looked, for lack of a better team, completely screwed.
But something happened when Texas A&M’s back was against the wall — the Aggies started to produce some offense. After a two-game stretch where Jimbo Fisher’s team averaged less than 300 yards per game, the same Aggie offense has exploded for 429 yards per game.
The level of competition that they are facing hasn’t withered either. If anything, the Aggies’ past three games have been significantly more difficult than their previous two.
I won’t go into depth on the defense, but the Aggies’ defensive unit ranks in the top-30 of college football, and if you remove garbage time stats from the past couple of games, they’d be even higher. The dominant offense has actually worked against them statistically in that sense.
For perspective, Texas A&M allowed the Gamecocks just 30 total yards of offense through three quarters. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Texas A&M was simply playing to avoid injuries.
So even though the Aggies are the fourth-highest ranked team in the SEC, should they be considered the second-best?
Yes, Alabama has a strong offense, but its defense has been exposed on multiple occasions. Heck, they gave life to a Texas A&M offense that was dead in the water. Ole Miss also has a good offense, but their defense is among the worst at the Power Five level. If you’re looking for a team that does well in both facets of the game, the Texas A&M football team might be your squad.
Unfortunately, a lot has to happen for the Aggies to even be a challenger to Georgia. Both ‘Bama and Ole Miss would have to lose and some tie-breakers would have to work in the Aggies’ favor.