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Texas A&M

College Football

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Texas A&M found its way to the top 10 after a 6-0 start last season, but once the schedule picked up, that quickly dissipated as the Aggies fell to 8-5 with a bowl loss to Kansas State. With bigger questions at quarterback and NFL talent gone on the defensive side, it’s hard to see this season going much better for Kevin Sumlin.

Starting at quarterback, the competition will likely go into the fall after Trevor Knight took most of the snaps a year ago. Jake Hubenak is still in the mix and is likeliest to be the opening starter, but Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel aren’t far behind. None of them looked great in the spring game, so that wasn't a positive. However, the Aggies still have loads of skill-position talent in Trayveon Williams (1,057 yards, 8 TDs) and Keith Ford (669 yards, 6 TDs) in the backfield, to go with Christian Kirk (83 receptions, 928 yards, 9 TDs) in the receiving game. While the ground game will be fine, Kirk doesn’t have much help outside of him (QB included) with a few new faces at receiver (Kirk Merritt).

Defensively, the Aggies had their ups and downs a year ago, but they simply didn’t have enough against the better teams on the schedule. A&M lost both of its defensive ends, namely Myles Garrett, so that’ll be a big hole to fill. Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson at least bring experience, but there’s no depth behind them and coordinator John Chavis will have to get creative with his lineup. Guys that could take a leap and make a difference for this group include three sophomores in linebacker/safety Justin Dunning, cornerback Charles Oliver and safety Larry Pryor. Without dominant defensive ends, A&M will have to exceed at other areas on the field, and if not, this group could get torched more than it was a season ago when it gave up 54 points to LSU.

The Aggies are long shots to win the SEC (listed at +4200 at 5Dimes Sportsbook) and that’s to be expected, projected as the fourth-best team in the West. After taking down UCLA in the opener last season, they’ll have to travel out west this time and that could start the year on a rough note. However, some favorable games to open SEC play could help before having to host Alabama and travel to Florida at the beginning of October. Similar to last year, things could fall apart late for the Aggies with two difficult road games.

With quarterback a major question and some depth issues on the defensive side, A&M will have a hard time surpassing last season’s eight-win mark. In fact, getting past six wins won’t be that easy for Sumlin’s team.

2017 Texas A&M Aggies Football Schedule

Sept. 2 at UCLA
Sept. 9 vs. Nicholls State
Sept. 16 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Sept. 23 vs. Arkansas (AT&T Stadium)

Sept. 30 vs. South Carolina
Oct. 7 vs. Alabama
Oct. 14 at Florida
Oct. 28 vs. Mississippi State
Nov. 4 vs. Auburn
Nov. 11 vs. New Mexico
Nov. 18 at Ole Miss
Nov. 25 at LSU

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