Preseason SP+ ratings: Bill Connelly says to “buy, buy, buy!” Texas A&M football

It’s still early, but it looks like Texas A&M football is a riser in the first SP+ projections.

Sep 3, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA;  Texas A&M Aggies helmet on the sideline during the
Sep 3, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies helmet on the sideline during the / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas A&M football could be slated for massive improvement in 2024 per advanced statistics

Most Texas A&M football fans are expecting to see some big improvements this upcoming year on the gridiron. With a new staff, the energy around the program seems to be different, and the hope is that this set of coaches is better able to develop the talent already on campus and lead to improved execution on gameday.

One of the chief worries for the Aggies in hiring a new coach is that the average talent level would decline sharply, with key contributors departing amidst the tumult of a change at the top. While some players did choose to move on, the impressive work that Mike Elko and his staff in the portal helped fill a lot of these holes. This is not to mention the huge mountain that they successfully surmounted in order to keep a lot of the guys on campus who ended up sticking around.

That has all paid off, it seems, as the Aggies return the most production in the entire conference. Returning production, along with recruiting rankings, is one of the biggest components of Bill Connelly’s SP+ projections, so it was a good assumption that the Aggies would feature prominently there.

And feature prominently they do. Connelly’s first projections have Texas A&M football 13th in the nation, well above the recent way-too-early Top 25 released by the Worldwide Leader, which had the Ags barely sneaking in the bottom of the rankings.

Not only that, but Texas A&M football is a team he specifically mentions in his takeaway as a candidate to get in early on, declaring “buy, buy, buy!” He points out how they jumped from 39th in SP+ at the end of 2022 to 16th at the end of 2023, and “only an 0-4 record in one-score finishes prevented them from improving their record beyond 7-6.”

There’s good and bad news, though. For however highly the Aggies feature here, they face four opponents higher in the ratings than they are at the current moment. Texas is currently 4th, Notre Dame is 9th, LSU 10th, and Missouri 11th. However, the Aggies will play each of these teams at home, where it has been tough for highly-rated opponents to get wins in recent years, even under Jimbo.

The fact remains that the returning production numbers even underrate the prospective offensive output for the upcoming year, given that Weigman only recorded 3.5 games’ worth of passing yards. His ceiling is still yet unknown, though injuries have hampered his ability to gain experience. The change from a Durkin to an Elko defense will also presumably raise the defensive potential, as will the coaching improvements generally.

This is an exciting time for Texas A&M football. There’s many reasons to believe that the Aggies will be a pleasant surprise and even—dare I say—playoff contender in the upcoming year. It all begins August 31 with a huge test against Notre Dame.

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