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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Honorable mentions: home contests against another pair of Tigers

Though I concluded that neither of these make the top three, the home games against Missouri and LSU will end up being pivotal in their own right. Missouri was last year’s huge, unexpected success story in the SEC, closing out the year with a victory over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl to crown an 11-win season that no one outside of Columbia, Missouri saw coming. 

The question remains, though, whether Mizzou can keep this pace up. After losing a lot of production on both sides of the ball, as well as their DC who helped everything come together in Blake Baker, Tigers fans have to be a bit worried, despite a lofty preseason ranking. They will visit College Station in the fifth game of the year—the first real test for Mizzou’s 2024.

There’s a lot more history and passion with the LSU game, of course, and that alone would be enough to make it a litmus test for the first year under Elko. Can he keep the undefeated home streak going that Fisher began back in the 7OT 2018 game? Will the Tigers be able to leverage a roster that is losing most of its top offensive weapons? There is no shortage of questions surrounding this one.

Texas A&M football is lucky to get both of these games at home this year. A friendly Kyle Field crowd always makes things tough on opponents, and with the quality we all anticipate for Mike Elko’s defense this upcoming year, they’ll have a lot to cheer for. Both of these games should receive a lot of national attention, and will be prime opportunities for Texas A&M football to show their quality in the fall of 2024.