Jimbo Fisher has been elevating the talent level of Texas A&M football, but it’s high time the Aggies also deliver results to go with it.
The good that Jimbo Fisher has done over four seasons with Texas A&M football is impossible to ignore. He’s won 34 games over four seasons and has three notable postseason victories to his credit. Moreover, he just helped the Aggies secure the top recruiting class in the country while also getting a win over Alabama last season. All of that looks great.
And yet, it’s not enough in College Station — nor should it be. With the talent that Fisher has been accruing for this program, an 8-4 finish last season and just one campaign with fewer than four losses isn’t going to cut it. No time like the present to turn that around, ay Jimbo?
Trying to crash the CFP party at No. 5 in FanSided’s Preseason Top 50 Rankings, the Texas A&M Aggies!
Texas A&M football 2021 season in review
There were extreme highs for the Aggies last year but Texas A&M was ultimately unable to make the most out of those. Obviously, getting the win over Alabama is the top of that list as Fisher was able to get one over on his nemesis (and perhaps mortal enemy if this offseason is any indication), Nick Saban.
Yet, this is a team that also looked hapless offensively against the likes of Arkansas, Mississippi State and, most troublingly, Ole Miss before losing in their biggest rivalry game outside of seeing the Crimson Tide (though this one is a more historic clash), LSU.
To make the taste left in everyone’s mouths less pleasing, the Aggies were unable to play in the Gator Bowl after a COVID-19 outbreak in the program, thus ending their season with a disappointing 8-4 mark. But then came the top recruiting class in college football and now, an 8-4 season might cause a riot in College Station, one that even the abundant livestock wouldn’t be able to blissfully ignore.
Previewing Texas A&M Aggies offense for 2022 season
- Returning starters (5): QB Haynes King, WR Ainias Smith, OL Layden Robinson, OL Bryce Foster, OL Reuben Fatheree
- Newcomer: QB Max Johnson (LSU), 5-star QB Conner Weigman, 5-star WR Evan Stewart, 5-star WR Chris Marshall
- Impact player: Devon Achane
Just for the record, we’re counting Haynes King as a returning starter because he was the Week 1 starter a year ago before getting injured in the second game of the year. But his spot is not certain with the arrivals of Max Johnson and Conner Weigman, a highly touted transfer and freshman, respectively, who are vying for the starting job. No matter who takes the first reps, though, the Aggies need more consistent play at the position.
And really, that’s been a problem with the Fisher offense since he arrived at Texas A&M. The offense has not evolved with the rest of the SEC, but it has to now. There are no excuses when it comes to this quarterback room, especially with NFL-caliber talent all around, including world-class sprinter Devon Achane out of the backfield, who should be the swiss-army knife ready to exploit any defense.
When you factor in an experienced offensive line that returns three starters and has more experience stepping up around those guys as well, this is an offense that needs to take a dramatic step forward and showcase the talent on the roster, especially with the host of much-anticipated freshmen newcomers set to take over, at wide receiver particularly.
Previewing Texas A&M Aggies defense for 2022 season
- Returning starters (6): NT McKinnley Jackson, LB Andre White Jr., CB Tyreek Chappell, CB Myles Jones, NB Antonio Johnson, S Demani Richardson
- Newcomers: 5-star DL Walter Nolen, 5-star DL Shemar Stewart, 5-star DL Lebbeus Overton, 5-star DL Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, 5-star CB Denver Harris, 4-star DL Anthony Lucas
- Impact player: Walter Nolen
It’s a pretty big onus to put on a freshman to say that he’s the crux of the defense, but that’s the type of pressure that comes with being the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class. Walter Nolen is an absolute beast at defensive tackle, a player who should come in right away and fill a void on a defensive line that returns only one starter, albeit a good one in the behemoth that is 325-pound nose McKinnley Jackson.
Nolen won’t be the only freshman expected to make an impact, either, Shemar Stewart will be utilized in the pass rush early and often and we’ll see plenty of Lebbeus Overton, Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, Ish Harris and Martrell Harris Jr. at defensive line and linebacker this season.
The secondary also has freshman stars in the making but it’s far and away the most experienced position group on the defense. That will be an advantage for the Aggies as the young linemen up front try to find their footing at the collegiate level, but the ceiling as a whole for this defense given the talent that Fisher has brought in is truly remarkable.
Texas A&M football players awards watch for 2022 season
Devon Achane, Hornung
If Achane is used to the fullest of his ability this season now that he figures to be the lead running back, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the country having the case for being college football’s most versatile player over him.
Layden Robinson, Lombardi
Despite some key losses on the line, Robinson is one of the primary reasons why people aren’t totally worried about the Aggies up front. He’s a legitimate NFL prospect and should present a dominant case in the trenches for the Lombardi.
Antonio Johnson, Bednarik
While the Bendarik is a tough award to capture, Johnson ending up on the preseason watchlist speaks to his immense talent and versatility. He lines up all over the defense and makes plays in every facet of the game. If the Texas A&M defense lives up to the hype, he’ll be a massive reason as to why.
Texas A&M football biggest game on 2022 schedule
Make no mistake, there are a ton of big games on the A&M roster this season. Playing Arkansas in Arlington as the Aggies try to avenge last season’s loss (and further alliterate) is going to be big. Playing Ole Miss and Miami at home are huge contests too. Such is the case every year with the season finale against LSU as well.
But it’s all about the Oct. 8 trip to Tuscaloosa. That game is going to be unbelievable and, after last year’s upset by Texas A&M, Bama is going to be out to prove a point. At the same time, though, this is an Aggies roster better equipped to give the Crimson Tide a game than last year’s given the talent that is spread throughout on both sides of the ball.
That game could legitimately be the difference between a great bowl berth and a College Football Playoff berth for the Aggies. Even if the other games are important, none are as big as that one.
Texas A&M football best-case scenario
A perfect season. It’s that simple.
With the otpions to weed through at quarterback to find a legitimately elite option, the talent at the skill positions, a great offensive line, and a defense that could see nine or 10 players in the NFL in a few years, this is a team that has every reason to be thinking about making the playoff for the first time in program history.
Yes, that will require wins over four teams ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25, including No. 1 Alabama. This team is capable of that, though. And that’s why their best-case scenario is literally to be the best team in college football.
Texas A&M football worst-case scenario
Of course, there’s a flip side to the coin and it’s that we see the same things from the Aggies that we did a year ago, only this time with more talent to really heighten the disappointment.
I don’t think Texas A&M loses to Miami just because they’ll be able to physically overwhelm them in the trenches (though the Hurricanes getting hot offensively could cause problems in itself. But Sam Pittman clearly had Jimbo’s number last year and playing in JerryWorld could spark some of the same. Then you get a pissed-off Alabama team in Tuscaloosa and that’s two losses before the off week for the Aggies.
If that were to happen, you’d have to wonder the type of motivation this team would have, which would then put them in danger at South Carolina, at home for Ole Miss and Florida, maybe not at Auburn, and then at home for the rivalry game against LSU.
They aren’t going to lose all of those games, but they showed last year that an unfocused A&M group can be beaten. Thus, the worst-case scenario for a team that’s more talented is to replicate the 8-4 regular season from a year ago.
Texas A&M football 2022 season prediction
Luckily, talent wins out more often than not in college football and Texas A&M has too much of it to think that they’re going to be anything less than great this year.
The one thing I can’t convince myself of is that they beat Alabama. Even with the horses they have leading the carriage out of College Station and into Tuscaloosa, this is going to be a motivated Crimson Tide team after 2021 and a team that is more than capable of feasting on any inexperience that the Aggies could show. That’s enough for me to mark that down as an A&M loss.
Even if that’s the case, though, I don’t see another loss on the schedule. The Aggies should avenge the loss to Arkansas (and Ole Miss, and Mississippi State) and have no problem overwhelming Miami physically. That will result in an 11-1 regular season, missing out on the SEC Championship Game and probably the playoff, but still being firmly in a New Year’s Six game.
Texas A&M football 2022 bowl game prediction
Preseason projections from CBS Sports expert Jerry Palm have the Aggies missing out on the College Football Playoff but having another date with a New Year’s Six bowl, facing off with Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
Up next: No. 4 Clemson Tigers
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