October 19, 2024: Texas A&M Football @ Mississippi State
If you listen very closely, right at this moment, I think you might just be able to hear a soft clanging noise off in the distance.
A visit to Starkville is never an easy task; Texas A&M football has learned this the hard way, more often than not. Debuting at number 4 in the intial CFP rankings in 2016, the 6-1 Aggies marched into Starkville and were promptly taken down by the Bulldogs. I'm not sure if the loss or the uniforms State were wearing that day were bigger embarrassments.
This is obviously not the only time Texas A&M football has been blindsided by a trip to northeast Mississippi: 2014 and 2018 are other such instances that come readily to mind. 2012 and 2020 are the only Aggie wins in Starkville since they've joined the conference: both came rather easily, but the scars are still just too real to feel like this is anything like a shoo-in.
The Bulldogs will be halfway into the first season under Jeff Lebby, the former Oklahoma and Ole Miss OC who runs a variation on the old Briles offense. Elko was able to limit the scoring, if not the yardage, the last time he faced a Lebby offense, but the prospect of dealing with another gimmicky attack down in Starkville is not a pleasant one.
Luckily, the Aggies will have two weeks to prepare for this game. Due to an early Labor Day and a late Thanksgiving, this is a year where each team will have two bye weeks rather than just one. I'm very much in favor of a break before having to deal with all the cowbells yet again.