Texas A&M football’s offense started and finished strong, but drastically dipped mid-year
According to SP+, the Aggies finished with their highest-ranked offense since 2020, and was good for their third-best offense in the Jimbo Fisher era. The Aggies ranked 20th in the nation when all was said and done.
That didn’t look like it would be the case for the whole season, however. In the preseason, Bill Connelly (the architect of the SP+ system) had the Aggies projected as the 44th-best offense in the country. That changed in a hurry, however, as the Ags jumped from 44th to 36th just because of their showing versus New Mexico; this is especially impressive because SP+ accounts for opponent strength.
The Aggies continued to climb in the rankings each week, culminating at 25th in the nation after they played Auburn. Preseason projections were still a decent portion of the rankings at this point. The huge factor here that ended up turning the trend around is obviously the injury to Conner Weigman, though it should be said that Max Johnson’s performance in relief for Weigman was extremely impressive, and had a lot of Texas A&M football fans filled with starry-eyed hope.
That hope was for naught, however. The Aggies’ offensive rating began to plummet in the following couple of weeks. It started slowly; the system only saw the Ags take the slightest of steps back after the Arkansas and Alabama games, but the Tennessee game was the real clincher. From there until after South Carolina, the Aggies hung around the 39th-ranked offense in the nation—not much better than the lowly preseason projection, and that even with receiving the credit for Weigman’s early-season performances (even if those were becoming less and less weighted as the weeks went on).
The Ole Miss game is where things turned around. Texas A&M football had their raw offensive rating rise every single game from the time they went to Oxford until the end of the season. The game there obviously saw a highly successful outing for Max Johnson and company (in the sense that the Aggies notched a high Success Rate), but it was the transition from Johnson to Henderson that seemed to be the biggest catalyst.