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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Battalion sports staff makes predictions for 2021 football season


Members of the 2021 Battalion sports desk make predictions ahead of upcoming football season. 

Texas A&M football is scheduled to kick off the 2021 season against Kent State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4 following an Orange Bowl Championship, a No. 4 national finish in 2020 and a No. 6 AP preseason ranking going into the fall.

Here are The Battalion sports staff’s season predictions.

Casey Stavenhagen, co-sports editor


Prediction: 11-1

If there was ever to be a year for head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies to take down Alabama and reach the SEC Championship, it’s 2021. Though the Aggies lost four-year starting quarterback Kellen Mond and four members of the Joe Moore-finalist offensive line unit, the A&M squad returns with significant talent. The backfield looks stronger than ever, headlined by junior running back Isaiah Spiller and reinforced by sophomore running back Devon Achane. The receiving unit with junior wide receiver Ainias Smith and junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer leaves new starting quarterback Haynes King a team to work with. Lastly, only losing two defensive starters on a veteran squad which can stop rushing and passing games with incredible proficiency leaves fans with much to be excited for. A sneaky Ole Miss, LSU or Auburn team will be the Aggies only loss this season on the way to “beat [Nick Saban’s] ass.”

Jennifer Streeter, co-sports editor 


Prediction: 11-1

This season is all about unfinished business for the Aggies. After a No. 4 finish and playoff snub in 2020, A&M is looking to defy the odds and reach the National Championship. Whether they get there or not is the big question, but with the transition back to a regular schedule, including non-conference opponents, their chances increase. A&M’s roster is filled with talent, led by a junior class on both sides of the ball, despite losing players to the NFL Draft. Between Smith, Spiller, Wydermyer, junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, junior safety Demani Richardson, junior offensive lineman Kenyon Green and senior defensive lineman Jayden Peevy, the Aggies just might reach the championship. The season will not be without one loss, but it most likely won’t be to Alabama.

Graduate student defensive lineman Michael Clemons said it best.

“We got cheated last year as a team,” Clemons said. “I feel like we can win a National Championship, and I want to be part of it.”

Ryan Faulkner, assistant sports editor


Prediction: 10-2

Does A&M football have what it takes to bulldoze through its entire schedule and reach the SEC Championship, likely against Georgia, with an undefeated record? Absolutely. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate in hopes that Fisher and his squad ultimately prove me wrong. Instead of agreeing with my fellow editors, I predict a loss to Alabama at Kyle Field on Oct. 9; though an upset victory by the Aggies is very possible, it is extremely hard to bet against a team that is both the reigning national champion and the No. 1-ranked preseason favorite. Another fluke loss on the road to LSU or Ole Miss will likely cut the maroon and white out of playoff contention, but with a redshirt freshman taking the reins, a 10-2 record would at the very least be an unbelievable accomplishment, especially in the SEC. Expect to see a heavy emphasis on the running game during the early season as King finds his footing and steps into the role of a starter, but don’t be surprised if and when the passing yards-per-game statistic climbs with every week played. All in all, the Aggies are in for one hell of a ride.

Bradley Bennett, sports writer


Prediction: 11-1

Texas A&M has a promising schedule this season. The Aggies managed to avoid facing the top teams in the SEC East and don’t have any of the difficult non-conference opponents they’ve faced  in the past. The unknown variable for A&M this season is the inexperienced King. His play will determine whether or not the team is able to take the next step forward and reach the College Football Playoff. A&M should be favored in every game they play, other than Alabama. Ultimately, this team is just too talented on both sides of the ball to not win 11 games this season. I do think it will probably fall to Alabama, but a win in Death Valley against LSU would be a great consolation prize to close out the regular season. A potential playoff spot will come down to whether or not the Aggies are able to keep it close with Alabama. 

Jordan Epp, sports writer


Prediction: 10-2

Last year, A&M surprised fans with its performance in an all-SEC schedule. Despite losing big players like Mond and Bobby Brown III, a large portion of the team’s core was young. Spiller, Wydermyer and Green will command the offense this year, while Leal and Richardson bolster the defense. In the end, arguably no position has a greater impact on the game than the quarterback. With Fisher giving King the green light as the starting quarterback for the Ags, how the redshirt performs in his debut season could be the difference between contention and solidity. A&M will likely get off to a hot start before running into the brick wall that is Alabama, taking its first loss of the season. The Aggies will then proceed to win five of their last six, with a loss to Ole Miss in the mix. A&M will fall short of an SEC title once more, but will again be contending for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Grant Gaspard, sports writer 


Prediction: 10-2

The Aggies will start strong with King taking control of the offense, Spiller and Achane rotating at the tailback position, sophomore Chase Lane at the X, freshman Demond Demas at the Z, Smith in the slot and second-team All-SEC second team Wydermyer at tight end. The only thing stopping this offense from succeeding is experience in the trenches. Green has the most time on the forefront and will take care of King’s blindside this fall. With the rest of the line, we’ll have to wait and see. The maroon and white shouldn’t have any issues in the first five games of its season, landing at 5-0 before going up against Saban’s Crimson Tide. With Alabama’s offense now under control by former NFL coach Bill O’Brien and the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback Bryce Young, this game should be high-scoring. This is where I predict A&M’s first loss of the season, though I will hopefully be proven wrong. The rest of the season should be a cakewalk for the Aggies if they play up to their full potential, but Ole Miss still holds the possibility of upsetting A&M. If the Aggies fly into Oxford unprepared and take Ole Miss lightly, their second loss of the season won’t be far behind. But, if A&M lives up to its high expectations, I won’t be surprised when it ends up with a 12-0 record, an SEC Championship and a spot in the CFB playoff.

Michael Horton, sports writer


Prediction: 10-2

If I’m being honest, this looks like the most favorable schedule that the Aggies have had since they entered the SEC in 2012. The season kicks off with three out-of-conference games, only one of which is Power Five — Colorado. Then, the Aggies head to Jerry World to take on Arkansas, a team that is no slouch but definitely beatable. After hosting Mike Leach and Mississippi State, A&M faces its first extreme hurdle of the season — Alabama. This game will ultimately make or break 2021 for the Aggies, and Fisher knows it. A win against the SEC’s Goliath would do wonders for A&M’s stake in the SEC West, its playoff resume and the reputation of the program as a whole. After that, there are a couple of games to keep an eye on as potential upsets. While Auburn has been a thorn in the side of the Aggies for much of the last decade, hosting the Tigers with first-year head coach Bryan Harsin does not seem like the same threat as an experienced Gus Malzahn. Playing Ole Miss on the road is never easy, and with Lane Kiffin and Matt Corral entering their third year together, this game makes me nervous. In my opinion, the Aggies fall to Bama and either LSU or Ole Miss.

Christi Koellner, sports writer


Prediction: 11-1

2021 is the year of the Aggies. The first three games against Kent State, Colorado and New Mexico should be easy wins for the maroon and white. After their warm-up, the Aggies will finally have the home field advantage over Alabama in their quest to redeem last year’s loss. With a stadium packed with Aggies, I have hope Alabama will leave Kyle Field with a loss. A&M will also have a home field advantage against Auburn. The game to look out for, a week after Auburn, is against Ole Miss, which could end up in a loss for A&M. The LSU game could also be a toss-up, but in the end, my final prediction is 11-1, with a loss to Mississippi. 

Kay Naegeli, sports writer



Fisher put it best when describing the motto this season, “We ain’t done yet.” With a second-place finish in the SEC West followed by exclusion from the College Football Playoff, the Aggies have a score to settle. Players like King and Leal will have to lead by example with big plays on both sides of the ball. When looking at the running back core, Smith, Spiller and Achane, how does any opposing defensive coordinator plan on stopping it? If King can step up to the plate, this offense, alongside healthy Caleb Chapman, Wydermyer and Lane will be unstoppable, even against No. 1 Alabama. In addition, A&M’s defensive line and backfield will need to demand control of every game with crucial stops and turnovers from players like Richardson and freshman linebacker Edgerrin Cooper. I predict the Aggies will finish 11-1 with a fluke loss to either Auburn, Ole Miss or LSU and ultimately secure a playoff spot.

Ryne Ryskoski, sports writer


Prediction: 10-2

Fisher’s Aggies thrust themselves into 2020 College Football Playoff conversations by finishing on an eight-game winning streak behind an offense that scored over 30 points in six out of 10 games and a defense that gave up the ninth-fewest yards-per-game in the country. Four-year starting quarterback Mond was drafted 66th overall by the Minnesota Vikings this offseason, so the dual-threat redshirt freshman quarterback King becomes Fisher’s latest project to mold into his pro-style offense. King, along with an offensive line that will also undergo big changes, needs to start strong in their first couple games this season. A running back rotation returning AP All-American Spiller and Orange Bowl MVP Achane, paired with AP All-American tight end Wydermyer, brings a wealth of talent and experience to help King and his line along. The receiving corps brings back several names from last year, including Lane, Smith and Chapman. Keep a sharp eye on Demas to break out after seeing his first game-action last year since his junior year of high school. This exciting new offense featuring top-end speed at every position, along with a strong defense that returns nine of eleven starters, should easily reach double-digit wins with a favorable 2021 schedule. It will once again come down to going undefeated or scraping by with one loss to Alabama. With a new quarterback and a new offensive line that will inevitably deal with injuries, I struggle to see the Aggies carving up the Crimson Tide defense. I also agree with some of the other writers that Ole Miss’s Corral, arguably the SEC’s best quarterback entering 2021, will help defeat A&M in the Oxford matchup this November as Texas A&M enters bowl season 10-2.

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