It's no longer A&M's first gameday of the year, but college football kicks off tonight in a big way with Vanderbilt and South Carolina meeting in Nashville. So we decided that even though A&M doesn't make their debut until next week that it's still a good day to unveil our 2012 season predictions. To add another voice to the conversation, The Eagle's David Harris made his predictions as well.
Can impact freshman like Trey Wiliams help the Aggies make up for some depth issues?
What will be A&M’s regular season record in 2012?
Taylor Hamm: 6-6
My record prediction isn't an indictment that A&M won't be competitive this year, but more-so based on a team that hasn't endured 12 straight weeks of play in the toughest conference in all of college football. During any given season, teams ride waves of momentum but they're not always positive trends. Despite having a talented coaching staff- who's mentally tough enough to handle the grind of the SEC- my fear is they will get into situations where good coaching still won't win them games. The inexperience at key positions and lack of depth on the defensive line is one deadly combo which is why I have this team barely sneaking into bowl contention.
David Harris: 6-6
Cue the yells of "he hates A&M." It's going to be OK. This program is headed in the right direction, so take solace in that. I've been on the fence regarding 7-5 or 6-6. But I'm going with the safe pick of .500. When I look at the schedule, I see five games the team WILL win. I then see two games they undoubtedly won't win. That leaves five "swing" games. And I believe that, with an inexperienced quarterback and a defense that will give up a fair share of big plays, the Aggies will only prevail in one of those games — against Florida at home.
Aubrey Bloom: 7-5
Wow, strange are the days when I’m the most positive one. I agree with Harris in that there’s five games that A&M wins nine times out of ten and two games that A&M loses nine times out of ten. After that, you’ve got five games that are going to determine the season. I think A&M finds a way to win two of those games, starting with the season opener against Florida, and closing with the season finale against Missouri. At 7-5, it’s a good debut season for the Aggies in the SEC with a first year head coach and a freshman quarterback.
Where does A&M finish in the SEC West?
A&M faces a challenging SEC West schedule including defending national champion Alabama.
I think the Aggies will absolutely demolish Ole Miss on the road, and I believe they'll get a nice win against Florida at Kyle Field, giving them a record of 2-6 in the SEC. That game in Starkville will be huge regarding bowl eligibility and the SEC West standings. But in the team's inaugural season in the SEC West, I think the Aggies will be closer to the basement than they'd like.
I think A&M goes 3-5 in the SEC, but Mississippi State is going to get to four wins with their wins over Ole Miss, A&M and their crossover opponents Kentucky and Tennessee. Auburn will also likely get to four wins with A&M, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. So A&M ends up sixth in the west.
A&M Postseason Predictions
Hamm: Autozone Liberty Bowl
Harris: No bowl
Bloom goes out on a limb and predicts West Virginia to the BCS Championship Game.
For the first time since the horrific first campaign of mighty Sherm, A&M will not be bowl eligible after a crushing loss to Missouri at Kyle Field for the third consecutive season. For this, though, you can blame the schedule makers. A&M has no business playing two FCS schools. I know, I know. The move to the SEC complicated things. Whatever. Find another WAC team or schedule a Sun Belt squad to ensure two weeks of extra practices come Christmas time.
Bloom: Music City
A&M will narrowly avoid yet another trip to Shreveport to play in independence stadium and will get the nod to head to Nashville for the Music City Bowl. It’s a great town with great music and will be a good end to solid first SEC season for A&M fans.
Who wins the national title?
Harris: USC over FSU
I'm going out on a limb and saying that the SEC won't prevail for the seventh consecutive season, which will really throw a wrench into their marketing campaign. Had LSU not lost the Honey Badger, give me the Tigers over the Trojans. But life without No. 17 is an unfortunate reality for the Bayou faithful. And an unfortunate reality for us, the college football fan. I think this is the year the 'Noles finally live up to their billing — aided, of course, by the pathetic ACC schedule they get to play. And I think USC gets back to its rightful place at the head of the college football table. Matt Barkley is that good.
Bloom: Alabama over West Virginia
I think I originally made this prediction after a beer or two at Northgate, but I’m not switching at this stage. I think Alabama is that good, and gets to the end of the season with just one loss. That’s going to be good enough to get them into the national title game.
The obvious crazy man pick here is the soon-to-be Big 12 Champion Mountaineers, but here’s why. They travel to Texas and Oklahoma State, but I think both of those teams are overrated. The great news for West Virginia is they host Baylor, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma. It’s a wild card pick sure, but I’m sticking with it.