Bill Connelly of ESPN has released his first SP+ rankings of the college football offseason, and the Texas A&M football program has made a move up from where they ended this past year.
SP+ offseason rankings are made up of a couple of components, as Bill lays out in his article:
- Returning production: this is a factor that, as I’ve written previously, favors the Aggies quite well. This, combined with last year’s final SP+ ranking (a factor that decidedly does NOT favor the Aggies, though it was better than some might suspect), “make[s] up about half of the projection formula,” per Connelly.
- Recent recruiting: while fans of Texas A&M football have felt very up and down about this piece recently, this is yet another area that should benefit the Aggie ranking. They’ve been on top of the recruiting world in 2022, and, despite some significant recruiting trouble last cycle, still ended up with a decent amount of top talent. This is close to a third of the formula.
- Recent history: according to Connelly, this refers to the past “two to four” years in the SP+ rankings, and makes up the least part of the rankings (close to 15%). Here’s how the Aggies finished in the past four years:
With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at where the Aggies land in the preseason rankings. A quick reminder that the overall rating is, essentially, meant to be how many points better on a neutral field a given team is than the hypothetically exactly-average FBS team. The rating is taken by deriving an offensive rating (how many points, on average, a given team would score against said hypothetically exactly-average defense) and defensive rating (how many points, on average, a given team would allow against said hypothetically exactly-average offense), and finding the difference between them. Here’s what Connelly has for the Aggies:
- 16.9 overall rating, 17th in the country
- 29.7 offensive rating, 51st in the country
- 12.8 defensive rating, 3rd in the country
Not bad numbers, especially given how the Aggies finished last year. According to Connelly’s formula, expectations for a bounce-back year for Texas A&M football are certainly warranted. It is worth noting, however, that A&M will face Alabama (4th rated), Tennessee (6th rated), and LSU (7th rated) as part of their conference slate, as well as travel to Oxford for a showdown with Ole Miss, who, at a 16.7 rating, is almost neck-and-neck with the Aggies.
These ratings are by no means set in stone—they will update at least once more right before the season—but it’s good to get a sense of what the numbers say about the upcoming Texas A&M football season. Here’s hoping the Aggies get back on track in 2023.