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The Battalion

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Batt Sports predicts A&M’s 2022 football season

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Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore Devon Achane leaps into the endzone at Kyle Field against Prairie View A&M on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Texas A&M football returns on Saturday, Sept. 3 as the Aggies host Sam Houston State, the reigning Western Athletic Conference champions, for an 11 a.m. kickoff.
The Aggies are currently ranked at No. 6 in the nation by the Associated Press, showing sky-high expectations following an 8-4 season in 2021. Here are The Battalion’s sports desk’s predictions for how the 2022 season will pan out:
Jordan Epp, head sports editor
@j_epp22
Prediction: 8-4
While the Aggies maintain a deep roster that can survive the massive overturn of talent that departed for the 2022 NFL Draft — Isaiah Spiller, Kenyon Green, Jalen Wydermyer, DeMarvin Leal, Jayden Peevy, Micheal Clemons, Tyree Johnson, Aaron Hansford and Leon O’Neal — I think the losses have been understated. In a new defensive system captained by defensive coordinator DJ Durkin, with Mike Elko now at Duke, I worry how A&M’s strength of the past — its defense — will be able to carry the team in 2022.
I anticipate the defensive struggles, particularly on the outside in the passing game, and the slow, low-powered offensive play style of a Jimbo Fisher-led offense will cause A&M troubles, particularly against Miami, Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, with only the latter allowing the Aggies to escape unscathed.
Grant Gaspard, assistant sports editor, sports podcast producer
@grant_gaspard
Prediction: 9-3
I can’t put into words how thrilled I am that college football is finally back. Multiple TVs in the living room, intense debates with family and friends and delicious barbecue grilling on my Coleman grill. What I am not looking forward to is writing an article come December on how A&M didn’t live up to the hype — once again.
In my 2022 prediction, I have the Aggies establishing a confident 3-0 record before falling short in another Southwest Classic to Arkansas. Weakness at the cornerback position will cause another loss to Alabama’s elite receiving core, and would A&M be A&M if they didn’t drop a game to a barely above-average team in either Ole Miss, Florida or LSU?
9-3 is not what you like to see with all the talent the Aggies have this season. However, it is one win better than last season. Prove me wrong — please.
Zoe May, assistant sports editor, multimedia editor
@MayZoella
Prediction: 10-2
Football is back, and I’m hoping this historic recruiting class steps up and proves that it wasn’t all talk. There are definitely some games where I am giving the Aggies the benefit of the doubt — i.e. Miami — but there are definitely certain games A&M should win that were lost last year.
However, as optimistic as I may be, I still don’t see the maroon and white being able to topple Arkansas and its consistent play style or recreate the magic and perfect play-calling to beat Alabama in the way the Aggies did last season.
The deciding factors for how this season will go lie in the hands of the offense’s ability to pull it all together and the defense’s ability to perform in the secondary. A 10-2 finish may seem like high hopes in comparison to last season, but odds are it still won’t place A&M in the playoffs this season. But, hey, who knows?
Neomi Brown, sports writer
@neomib_03
Prediction: 10-2
This might be a very optimistic prediction, but I am all for believing in the Aggie football program. A&M has several cards stacked in its favor after last season’s disappointment. Expectations for the team on both sides of the ball are extremely high, and I, for one, think the team will rise to the occasion.
I do see a bit of a struggle during the first few weeks while the team works out its kinks and gets into a rhythm, but once that’s sorted out, I think the team will be very successful. The games that worry me the most are Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss, but if the team can do its job early on, I think it’s completely feasible that the team can finally have a winning season in SEC play, at the very least.
Collin Miller, sports writer
@c_mills2002
Prediction: 9-3
The Aggies are at a make-or-break point in the pursuit of a dynasty led by Jimbo Fisher. Fisher has built a deep team with incredible talent, but unless they can improve on-the-field performance, there will not be double-digit wins this season. The offense has been struggling with moving vertically up the field, and the Aggies’ uncertainty at quarterback will definitely affect the air raid. The defense will be carrying the team this year. Defense wins championships is a mantra that Aggie fans will be chanting this year as they watch the boys win the game from the trenches.
A&M is vulnerable in areas that will make games against pass-heavy teams very difficult, but the Aggies have no guaranteed losses this year. The struggles against teams like Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama and possibly Miami will hopefully, for the Aggies’ sake, be met with masterful offensive game plans from offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey. It is not unreasonable to say A&M has an opportunity to make it to the SEC Championship.
Luke White, sports writer
@lukewhite03
Prediction: 11-1
I’ve drank my fair share of the maroon and white Kool-Aid, and I’m all in on the Aggies. After a disappointing 8-4 showing last season following a 2020 season capped off with an Orange Bowl victory, I believe A&M will finally establish itself as a contender in the SEC. With redshirt sophomore quarterback Haynes King, junior running back Devon Achane and senior Swiss Army knife Ainias Smith leading the offense, the Aggies have the talent to score plenty on just about every defense in the country. On the other side of the ball, A&M is anchored by junior defensive back and preseason All-American Antonio Johnson, as well as senior defensive back Demani Richardson. Sophomore linebacker Edgerrin Cooper, sophomore defensive lineman Fadil Diggs and freshman defensive lineman Walter Nolen will lead the team in the trenches.
Last season showed the 12th Man that each and every game is winnable. The Aggies could have pulled out a victory in each contest but failed to finish games when the offense sputtered in the second half. My hope is that the coaches and players have learned from those mistakes and are able to prevent them from happening again. Last year also taught us that the Goliath that is Alabama isn’t unbeatable. With that being said, I just don’t see A&M pulling off the upset in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this season. However, I certainly think it’s within reason that the Aggies win every other game on the schedule. It’s not an easy, early non-conference slate with Sam Houston State, Appalachian State and Miami, but this should prepare the team for SEC play. Arkansas, South Carolina and Ole Miss won’t be easy either, but they are all winnable matchups. Whether they finish 10-2 or 11-1, a New Year’s Six Bowl is in the Aggies’ future, and who knows — If Alabama drops a game or two, A&M could be competing for a conference title.
Brad Bennett, sports writer
@Brad_Bennett13
Prediction: 9-3
Unfortunately, while this year’s A&M team is undeniably talented, I think the group is a year away from College Football Playoff contention. The inexperience at quarterback and youth all across the roster will be what ultimately holds the team back. However, the number of weapons on offense paired with the top-to-bottom talent on defense could realistically lead A&M to a New Year’s Six bowl victory.
As far as A&M’s schedule, I expect the team to go undefeated in non-conference play but drop a couple of games in the SEC. Beating Alabama for the second year in a row will be a difficult task in itself. Also, rivalry matchups against LSU and Arkansas always seem to come down to the wire. All in all, I expect this year’s team to be the start of something very special.

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