To get a baseline for these teams, let’s look again at Connelly’s rating system. In his most recent preseason rankings, the Aggies came in 17th, with a 16.9 overall rating, while the Hurricanes were 42nd with an 8.9 overall rating. Texas A&M football projects to have an offensive rating of 29.7 (good for 51st in the nation) and a defensive rating of 12.8 (good for 3rd in the nation). Miami projects to have an offensive rating of 29.0 (55th) and a defensive rating of 20.1 (20th).
If Connelly is on the ball with his projections—as he tends to be, more often than not—then we could be looking at a defensive slugfest in Coral Gables come September 9. Those kinds of games lend themselves to higher variance in outcome, as a busted coverage here or there could be the difference in the game.
The wildcard here, as will be a theme in these previews, is the interplay between Jimbo, Weigman, and Petrino. Could that third man in the mix lead to a higher level of offensive execution than preseason projections see for Texas A&M football? I’m personally bullish on that prospect. The emergence of one (or more!) of Moss, Daniels, or Owens at the running back spot, improved line play due to returning experience, and wide receiver talent that the Aggies bring into 2023 will give Petrino no shortage of options—and, importantly, options with a large number of snaps under their belts, which the Aggies sorely lacked in 2022.
Miami themselves have reasons to be excited as regards their coaching ranks. The Hurricanes will be fielding new offensive and defensive coordinators this year, bringing in Shannon Dawson from Houston as OC and Lance Guidry from Marshall as DC. That said, however, I think Durkin excels at shutting down high-flying, sling-it-around offenses of the style that Dawson will be rolling out. This will be only Guidry’s second game at the controls of a major program’s defense, and, while his star is rising, the experience on the Aggie staff gives Texas A&M the advantage.
Give me the Aggies winning this one. Miami’s home field advantage isn’t anything to write home about, and I think the Aggie defense will come up big. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an offensive talent or two announce himself to the nation during this contest, either. It might be close for a while, but I think A&M will pull away in the second half—let’s say 31-13 Aggies.