3 games that will define Mike Elko’s first season as Texas A&M football head coach

Which three games are most consequential for Texas A&M football in year one of Mike Elko?

Oct 28, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame leprechaun mascot Kylee Kazenski leads the Notre
Oct 28, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame leprechaun mascot Kylee Kazenski leads the Notre / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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Three games that will make or break Mike Elko’s first season as head coach of Texas A&M football

The fall of 2024 will be an extremely pivotal time for the Texas A&M football program. Not only does this mark the beginning of a new time in the sport, with some major conference realignment and the shift to a 12-team playoff all happening at once, but the Aggies are changing regimes—and hopefully, their fortunes—at the same time.

No games have yet been played, but the direction that new head coach Mike Elko has been taking the program has been as encouraging as it can be so far. Even when unexpected eventualities crop up—namely, the departure of Elijah Robinson and the about-face pulled by prospective DB coach hire Wes McGriff—he’s shown he has a plan, making stellar hires in place of those two.

This is not to mention his masterful management of the portal, or even the other great hires he did make. Through the transfer ranks, Elko has helped fill the obvious holes on the roster with standout performers from all levels of college football, replacing potential with proven production.

For all the good that he has done so far, and all the encouragement that Aggie fans have (rightly) derived from it, it all pales in comparison to the ultimate goal: winning actual games and contending for championships. Though it seems that Elko is on the path to doing so, that he actually accomplishes this feat is a necessity for his tenure to be a success.

As the Maroon and White faithful regard the upcoming slate of games, it does indeed seem to be a little easier than schedules have been in years past for the Ags. It’s not hard to see a 10+ win season if things go right—which, in the new playoff era, would all but grant an SEC team a berth in the 12-team field.

The question must be asked, however: which games are most vital to how Elko’s first year will be viewed? Which will define the beginning of his tenure? Let’s take a look.