Full Preview of Texas A&M Football vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
For however saddled with uncertainty and angst the Texas A&M football faithful are at this point in the season, it’s always nice to look at an upcoming opponent and see that their fans are in a similar—or worse—place. It could always be worse! As someone with a certain affinity for the South Carolina Gamecocks, I know this well. Looking to the opponent this weekend, Aggie fans will see a program in just as much turmoil—if not significantly more—than their own.
Of course, the circumstances are much different; the Bulldogs recently endured a huge tragedy, as their former head coach, the legendary Mike Leach, suddenly passed away after the conclusion of the 2022 regular season. Zach Arnett, a young rising star in the coaching profession and the Bulldog DC, was handed the reins as interim. He led State to a victory in a bowl game over Illinois and was eventually given the full title of head coach heading into this season.
Arnett then made some interesting decisions. As his offensive coordinator, he hired Kevin Barbay, who had been over the offense at Appalachian State. This was a huge philosophy shift for the Bulldogs; Leach obviously is one of the lead innovators of the air raid offense, and—as Texas A&M football fans know all too well—Barbay’s scheme is much more run-heavy. This seemed to many, including myself, to be a mismatch of scheme and personnel, and I think the results thus far have borne that out. The Bulldogs have struggled offensively for many of their games, including only being able to put up 14 points against the dreadful LSU defense at home. Their one offensive explosion in conference was against South Carolina, where they put up 30 points after hitting several huge plays down the field to star receiver Tulu Griffin. Outside of that game, the Bulldogs have averaged 10.8 PPG in conference play.
So what can we make of this matchup? Let’s take a look.