Obviously I am a little late on Texas A&M here as they started their season Thursday night in blowout fashion over Northwestern State. But thankfully nobody will be surprised by that outcome and there is still much to be learned about the Aggies in 2018. So let’s get into it. In addition to A&M, we’ll preview TCU and Baylor. Stay tuned for UT coverage later this weekend.
The Aggies are coming off of a disappointing 7-6 season that lead to the firing of Kevin Sumlin. Although it was a tough season, Aggie fans are hopeful that the new coaching staff will end the streak of underachievement in College Station. Jumbo Fisher takes over and has as good of a resume as Aggie fans could have hoped for. It’s rare that coaches who have achieved what Jimbo has achieved make lateral moves, so Aggie fans should be thrilled with the hire.
Thursday we found out that Kellon Mond beat out Nick Starkel to win the starting QB job. Mond had a nice outing, but the standout player on the offensive side was returning stud RB Trayveon Williams. TW tallied 240 yards and 3 touchdowns. A fun development was the emerging TE usage that A&M fans haven’t seen in years. TE Jace Sternberger pulled in 5 catches and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, it’s tough to really gauge what we saw on Thursday due to the far inferior opponent. But they do return 8 starters and I expect them to be improved this season. With a tough schedule, I think an 8-4 record is the most likely scenario in Jombo Fishers first season in College Station.
For some reason, I think it’s easy to forget that TCU won 11 games last season. Offensively, TCU fans should trust that Sonny Cumbie will get the job done to some degree or another. This season, Shawn Robinson returns and should provide the best QB play in Fort Worth since Treyvone Boykin. They have a nice group of skilled players lead by Kevonte Turpin at receiver. As long as their offensive line holds up, this offense should be solid. Defensively, if you don’t trust Gary Paterson at this point thats on you. Without even really studying the roster I can tell you with confidence that they will have one of the 3 best defenses in the Big12. Having said all that, they do have a tough non-conference matchup with Ohio State, and I think the middle of the Big12 has all improved. Although the Horned Frogs may be a better football team in 2018 than they were in 2017, I think an 8 or 9 win regular season is the most likely scenario here.
Baylor is going into their 3rd season in the post-Art era. Looking back on it, I don’t know if there has been a quicker fall from grace both on and off the football field than what fans in Waco have experienced the past few years. Although fans in Austin, Lubbock, Fort Worth, and College Station will tell you Baylor is right where they belong, Baylor fans have grown to expect good football. In Matt Rhules 1st season, that is not what they got. This season they return talented QB Charlie Brewer to lead what should be a pretty good offense. Former Tennessee RB has transitioned to WR at Baylor and folks have been raving about him during fall camp. They return 8 starters from a 2017 defense that really struggled. But that experience should lead to a slight improvement. Overall, I like Matt Rhule but the fit still seems strange to me. Like I mentioned above, I think the Big12 will be tough this year and the only conference game they should be favored in will once again be Kansas. I think they avoid the bad non-conference losses this year and win 3 or 4 games.