Loss an Uncharacteristic Missed Opportunity for Texas A&M Football
There are a few key moments since Jimbo arrived as the head coach of Texas A&M football that felt like they were these huge, watershed games that were course-setting as a program. By this, I mean the moments that had the biggest swing from a win to a loss or vice versa. Here are some of the games I mean:
- 2020 Florida
- 2020 Orange Bowl
- 2021 Alabama
- 2022 LSU
- 2023 Alabama
All of these, save this latest game, were wins. When I think back to the Florida game, I remember the narrative about Jimbo’s inability to defeat top-ranked teams. That quickly evaporated, as A&M would begin a 3-game home winning streak against top-5 teams that day. The Orange Bowl was the crowning achievement of one of the most successful Aggie seasons in recent memory. Though most came into the 2021 Alabama game expecting a loss, that loss would have put the Aggies at 3-3 headed into their bye week, with an extremely uncertain future. Instead, it became a signature win for Jimbo as well as the impetus and the bedrock of a huge recruiting class. I considered listing 2022 Alabama, but with the way the season had gone thus far in addition to the fact that you had just beaten them, it didn’t feel quite as monumental. 2022 LSU was huge due to the belief in the program that it garnered not only among the fanbase but also the players on the team.
2023 Alabama felt like a similar moment. It felt like this would be the time that the Aggies would finally make that jump that so many in the Texas A&M football fanbase have been waiting to see; the jump into the upper echelon of the nation’s premier conference. I certainly thought this would be the time that the Aggies did so. They doubtless have the talent to rightfully occupy such rare air, being the fourth-most talented team in the nation behind UGA, Alabama, and Ohio State.
That’s why the Aggies’ inability to seize on the flashpoints in the game felt so frustrating. Time and time again, the plays weren’t made that needed to be in order for Texas A&M football to emerge victorious. Alabama turns the ball over? Throw an interception right back. They give it to you again? Get your kick blocked.
This will likely be the theme of my three takeaways article tomorrow morning, but both the micro and macro views here smack of missed opportunity. Now, it’s not easy to take those consistently—it is never easy against Alabama—but the frustrating fact is that it was right in front of the Aggies. Yes, this is the third straight year now that you are facing the Tide with a quarterback that was operating as a backup. I do think this game, as close as it was, would have gone far differently if it were Weigman back there behind center. But he wasn’t.
Next week is another huge opportunity, for far different reasons. A loss puts you at 4-3 headed into the bye week. It puts you low and has your season on the brink. At 5-2, you have renewed belief. You’re still in the thick of the SEC West race, up against an Alabama team that has clear flaws. The trip to Neyland represents a huge swing, one way or the other.
Let’s hope the Aggies can better take advantage then.