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The Battalion

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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Time to shelve big bowl aspirations

It seems like ages since the young, unproven Aggies marched into Columbia and silenced the then No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks, doesn’t it? Texas A&M jumped up to the top ten in multiple polls and went on a tear, destroying three straight cupcake teams and solidifying its place as one of the best teams in college football — even garnering a few first place votes.
Then the wheels came off. They pulled off a thrilling victory against unranked Arkansas, and depending on who you asked, it was a sign of maturity or a sign of dark skies ahead.
Well, it’s official now — the rain is falling on Aggieland.
Two back-to-back losses against arguably the two best teams in the country is normally nothing to be ashamed of, but A&M was supposed to be able to hang with them. Instead, they went out on two straight Saturdays and got absolutely manhandled in every phase of the game.
If you had any notion of this team being able to compete at the same level it did in the last two seasons, it’s time to let it go. With games at Alabama, at Auburn and home against Missouri and LSU, the best this team could finish is 8-4, more likely 7-5. Sure, that is not awful, especially considering the Aggies play in the toughest division in college football, but it is certainly not what 110,000 fans packing into a brand new $500 million Kyle Field expected to see this season.
This year feels eerily reminiscent of 2011, when A&M started the season ranked No. 7 and finished 6-6 after a loss to Texas.
A&M got spoiled with Johnny Manziel. He was a once-in-a-generation player that could turn the game in favor of his team at any point. Look at the 2012 Ole Miss, Lousiana Tech and Alabama games. Look at the 2013 Arkansas, Mississippi State and Duke games. There is not a single person on this team – with the possible exception of freshman phenom Speedy Noil – who possesses that game-changing ability.
The three-headed running back attack of Brandon Williams, Trey Williams and Tra Carson has been far more bark than bite. In four SEC games, A&M is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. They had 35 carries for 54 yards on Saturday. Losing two straight All-American offensive linemen in Luke Joekel and Jake Matthews has left the Aggie offensive line undersized and unable to open up holes against gargantuan SEC defensive lines.
Kenny “Trill” is long gone, as are his brief Heisman hopes. As it turns out, it’s not normal for a first year starting quarterback to dominate in the SEC.
It’s time for head coach Kevin Sumlin and Co. to take a long look in the mirror. These beat downs are just as much a result of shoddy schemes as their players getting dominated individually and collectively on the field.
When this team gets down, they are out until they can prove otherwise. There is no spark, there is no veteran leadership, and there is no reason to believe that this team can dig themselves out of an early hole.
It looks like everyone was right before the season began — this is a young, unproven A&M team that appears incapable of overcoming the loss of three first round draft picks to the NFL. They have plenty of young talent, but this is a rebuilding year. Like it or not, it’s time to shelve any big-bowl aspirations until next year.
Tyler Stafford is an interdisciplinary studies senior and sports editor for The Battalion.

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