This is a tough one. On the one hand, in a rivalry game like this, anything can happen. Even eleven games in, this Texas A&M football team feels like an unknown quantity in some ways due to how up and down they’ve been defensively and the amount of turnover they’ve dealt with on the offensive side of things. Could they come out and score 51 points like they did against Mississippi State? I don’t think that’s out of the question! This is a worse defense than the Bulldogs’ unit, by quite a bit! Could they come out there and barely muster 20 points? I don’t think that’s out of the question either.
One thing is for sure, and it is that this is a well-oiled offensive machine that the Aggies will be squaring off with. They will have to come out there and be ready to play for 60 minutes, especially in the defensive backfield. For all the talk about the pass game, though, the Aggies will have to be extremely attuned to the rushing attack, as well—though the Tigers are 59th in the nation in sacks allowed at 1.82 per game, they are second in the nation in TFLs allowed, at only 2.82 per game! In other words, they only allow 1 non-sack TFL per game. The Aggies, of course, average 8.55 TFLs per game (and 3.73 sacks per game), so this is a true strength on strength matchup.
The other thing I keep coming back to is the poor record the Tigers have in recent history when hosting conference games with an early kickoff. They have only played three such games in the last five years (which is unbelievable), and have a 1-2 record in those games—the only win being a 49-42 victory they eked out over a below-average Florida in 2021. This includes a blowout loss to Tennessee last year by a score of 41-13. It’s entirely possible that this team looks sluggish at 11 AM CT on Saturday and comes out expecting to roll over the Aggies, but instead get a punch in the mouth. It’s also possible that they come out really crisp and jump out to a 14-0 lead.
The more I think about it, the more I feel better about the Aggie defense getting some stops against the LSU offense than I do about the LSU defense getting some stop against the Aggie offense. This is a defensive front the likes of which the Tigers haven’t yet seen this year, but the Aggie offense has been been playing well against better defenses than this. I’m going to go ahead and switch up my pick here, and go with the Aggies winning 37-34.