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The Aggies finished 8-5 last year, but things could've gone much better after they started the season with five consecutive wins. Soon enough, they fell apart and couldn't do anything against better teams on the schedule and that culminated with a bowl loss to Louisville. After an interesting offseason in which they lost two high-end quarterback recruits, Texas A&M has some room to grow.
At this writing, The Aggies are listed at odds of 50 to 1 to win the National Championship at 5 dimes sportsbook. Odds change, so be sure to check in with 5 dimes and betonline for the lastest updates.
For the time being, Trevor Knight is the new quarterback, who comes over from Oklahoma. Knight started for the Sooners in 2014, but struggled with turnovers and was replaced in 2015. That's not a glowing endorsement, but he at least has experience at a high level. If turnovers are an issue, though, he'll compete with Jake Hubenak throughout the season, who has some experience with A&M.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin has come out and said he wants to have a better running game (after the QBs threw 15 INTs last year), but they don't have a hands down great running back. James White, who has 77 carries through his first two years, will get the call early on. The offensive line will need to figure things out if the Aggies want to run the ball. Jim Turner comes in as the new offensive line coach and he'll have some new faces to work with. The group improved last year, but losing those couple pieces will be tough.
Once again, Texas A&M has great receivers and something new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has to build the team around. Christian Kirk (80 receptions, 1,009 yards, 7 TDs) was dominant last year and he's joined by Josh Reynolds (907 yards) and Ricky Seals-Jones (560 yards). And even yet, Speedy Noil is still in the fold. If Knight or Hubenak can step into this offense with accuracy, the pieces are around them to succeed.
The defense showed a decent amount of improvement last year under John Chavis, which was one of the positives last season after the Aggies were gashed all too frequently in 2014. With a lot of those guys returning and another year under Chavis, more improvement can be expected. All-American end Myles Garrett is obviously the guy to keep an eye out for and he's joined by senior Daeshon Hall on the other side. However, this group has had issues stopping the run and that could be a problem again after they struggled in the spring game. In addition, the Aggies have been dealing with a ton of injuries in the spring, so their exact group still isn't determined.
For breaking in a new quarterback, Texas A&M's schedule is the opposite of friendly. The Aggies only get one true freebie in their first seven games. They open with UCLA and then travel to Auburn in their SEC opener. There aren't many easy games on the slate, especially when you travel to Alabama in the middle of the season. Winning late-season home games against Ole Miss and LSU will determine if they can reach more than last year's eight wins.
The obvious question for A&M is on the offensive end and that starts with quarterbacks Knight and Hubenak. If those guys are as inconsistent as last year's QBs, the Aggies are going to struggle again. But with an improved defense, they should at least be able to compete with the best in the SEC. Or at least that's the hope.
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2016 Texas A&M Aggies Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. UCLA
Sept 10 vs. Prairie View A&M
Sept. 17 at Auburn
Sept. 24 vs. Arkansas (AT&T Stadium)
Oct. 1 at South Carolina
Oct. 8 vs. Tennessee
Oct. 22 at Alabama
Oct. 29 vs. New Mexico State
Nov. 5 at Mississippi State
Nov. 12 vs. Ole Miss
Nov. 19 vs. UTSA
Nov. 26 vs. LSU
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