Story Poster
Photo by Craig Bisacre
Texas A&M Football

10 reasons why Texas A&M football can win a title in the next three years

June 29, 2021
23,031

Houston-based Texas A&M superfan Jay Jackson, who goes by Jay Pops on Twitter with his weekly #HomemadePodcastofSports, tweeted an interesting question last week.

He asked me and others: “Can @AggieFootball win a national title in the next three years?”

He asked for an honest opinion without any bias or prejudice.

My answer was simply “Yes.”

That, of course, brought accusations of bias and prejudice as the assumption is someone who covers Texas A&M could not have an objective opinion.

That’s not true. Credibility is vital in this field. My opinions might not have always been right, but they have always been based on facts and trends.

The question was whether A&M “could” win a football national championship in the next three years. The Aggies might not, but the progress the program and coach Jimbo Fisher have made make a championship a very real possibility.

I’ll take it a step further.

In fact, I’ll take it 10 steps further and give 10 reasons (based on facts and trends) why A&M could win a championship in the next three years. Perhaps even this year.

1. A&M returns nine defensive starters: That’s from a defensive unit that ranked ninth in the nation in 2020. A&M allowed 317.3 yards per game despite facing three of the country’s best passers — Alabama’s Mac Jones, Florida’s Kyle Trask and North Carolina’s Sam Howell.

Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports
The Aggies have one of the most experienced running back rooms in the country going into 2021. 

2. Isaiah Spiller: The last 10 national champions have had at least one running back that rushed for 1,000 yards. Seven of them had running backs that rushed for at least 1,322. Last season, Spiller rushed for 1,036 yards in 10 games. At that pace, he would have rushed for 1,347 yards in 13 games.

3. Devon Achane, L.J. Johnson, etc.: The Aggies are absolutely loaded at running back. Achane, the Orange Bowl MVP, is even more explosive than Spiller. He averaged 8.4 yards on 43 carries as a freshman in 2020. Achane would have a great shot at rushing for more than 1,500 yards if given 200 carries. That indicates that A&M’s running game will be well-stocked, even if Spiller opts to enter the NFL after the 2021 season.

4. More big plays: The primary criticism of A&M in 2020 was its lack of big plays. The Aggies only had 41 plays from scrimmage that covered 20 yards or more. The four teams in the College Football Playoff had between 87 (Alabama) and 60 (Ohio State). A&M’s big play total figures to spike. Spiller and receivers Ainias Smith and Chase Lane all return. They accounted for 24 plays over 20 yards. More opportunities for Achane will raise that total. So will the return from injury of receiver Caleb Chapman. Receiver Demond Demas also has potential to be a deep threat. Receivers that can stretch defenses also figure to result in more big plays from tight ends Jalen Wydermyer and Baylor Cupp, who is also coming back from injury.

5. Returning starters: The Aggies aren’t just talented, they’re also experienced. A&M returns 15 starters (six on offense, nine on defense) from a team that finished ranked fourth in the nation in 2020. Of teams that finished in the Top Ten, only No. 9 Iowa State (19) returns more. No. 3 Clemson is the only team with as many as A&M.

6. Quarterback attrition: Every team that finished in the Top Five last season will have a new starting quarterback. That includes A&M, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because…

7. Jimbo Fisher’s success with first-year starting quarterbacks: Quarterback is perhaps A&M’s main area of concern in 2021. Neither Haynes King nor Zach Calzada has significant playing experience. However, both have at least a year of working under Fisher. Similarly, experienced quarterbacks have fared quite well in their first season as a starter. Kellen Mond passed for 3,107 yards and 24 touchdowns in his first season as Fisher’s starter at A&M. He helped the Aggies to a 9-4 finish. At Florida State, redshirt freshman Deondre Francois passed for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading the Seminoles to a 10-3 finish in 2016. Three years before that, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston passed for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns to lead Florida State to the national championship.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Jimbo Fisher has taken recruiting to a new level since becoming the head coach of Texas A&M. 

8. Offensive line play: True, there are concerns with four new starters in the offensive line. But at this time a year ago, the offensive line was a major area of concern. That unit flourished after a year of adapting under offensive line coach Josh Henson. Most of this year’s projected starters now have at least a year under Henson. Also, if you’re into recruiting rankings, almost all were ranked higher than the starters they’re replacing. Of course, left tackle Kenyon Green was the No. 3 ranked player in the country at his position in 2019. Guard Akinola Ogunbiyi and center Luke Matthews were four-star recruits. Guard Layden Robinson was ranked higher than Jared Hocker. Freshman guard Bryce Foster was a five-star rated prospect, and he could see action right away. Ogunbiyi is also listed as a freshman. Robinson is listed as a sophomore. The Aggies offensive line figures to be stout for years.

9. Recruiting: A&M’s last three recruiting classes have ranked among the nation’s Top Ten. The 2022 class is trending toward another Top Ten ranking, perhaps the Top Five. Consequently, A&M has more top-level talent and depth than it has since joining the SEC. This year’s team features at least seven players that I believe are potential NFL first-round talents. Fisher has recruited so well that some rival programs (Oklahoma) have resorted to negative recruiting against A&M. That’s a tell-tale sign that you’re seen as a threat.

10. Jimbo Fisher: The guy won a national championship at Florida State. He has steadily improved A&M’s program since his arrival. Last year, A&M finished fourth in the nation. He said the Aggies “ain’t done yet.” Believe him.

Discussion from...

10 reasons why Texas A&M football can win a title in the next three years

17,713 Views | 17 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by TAMU74
inch05
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Spider Monkey
How long do you want to ignore this user?
sawemoff2010
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I do think the biggest metric I'd like to see Jimbo improve is the explosive play metric. We seemed to have to grind out too many first downs in the years he's been here. Would love to make it look a bit easier.

I love the general style of football, but it can't come at the cost of explosive offense
Traveler
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
sawemoff2010 said:

I do think the biggest metric I'd like to see Jimbo improve is the explosive play metric. We seemed to have to grind out too many first downs in the years he's been here. Would love to make it look a bit easier.

I love the general style of football, but it can't come at the cost of explosive offense


Agree - explosiveness (or lack of it) is a big negative. Our style of play also keeps the games close until mid-3rd or 4th quarters

Besides Achane, not a lot of proven HR threats. WR group is very average (probably below average) - they have alot to prove.
AgOutsideAustin
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Koolaid by the gallon.
West texas fan
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Agree but will make one point. I'm not sure that was Fisher as much as it was Mond afraid to go deep.
ccatag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I've noticed the Aggies tend to win the time of possession metric. I think Jimbo's philosophy is based heavily on ball control, or controlling the game.

Now, that might be because of the personnel he inherited and how he thought the game and the tempo needed to be to give the Aggies their best chance of winning with the personnel we have. Explosive plays were only selectively called. The main goal though was to stay on the field and move the chains.

Obviously, Jamois Winston put up some big numbers so Jimbo has in the past dialed up big plays.
texag0928
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Rock1982
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Amen Olin!
Herknav
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
//Beat lsu in Baton Rouge! We have been playing these guys since the 1890s, longer than tu or Baylor and have only eleven wins in red stick. Last win there was in 1994 with RC coaching. Would benefit our recruiting program tremendously and would make it easier to stomach Thanksgiving dinner with family.//just my thoughts.//
//Herknav sends//
texag86
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AceAggie05
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I absolutely loved this aspect of our team last season. Every single game that was close going into the 4th quarter, I KNEW we were going to win. Jumbo instilled a toughness into those guys, and they bought into it. It was extremely fun to watch.
WorkTogetherAgs
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Iraq2xVeteran
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
After a rough start last season, this team showed excellent resilience. We opened the season with an uninspiring 17-12 home win over Vanderbilt, who finished 0-9, and a 52-24 blowout loss at Alabama. I knew that once we beat eventual SEC East champion Florida 41-38, we had turned it around. Then, we won 6 consecutive SEC games by 11+ points, including 4 road games against Mississippi State, South Carolina, Auburn, and Tennessee. Not only did we finish 8-1 in an all-SEC regular season schedule, but we also significantly improved our point differential in these wins. Jimbo Fisher has embedded toughness into our players, and they have bought in.
Meximan
How long do you want to ignore this user?
#11 A favorable schedule.
Jimbo4win
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Why is the title "why A&M can win a championship in THREE years". Most of these reasons listed pertain to this upcoming season only.(returning 9 defensive starters, Spiller, Success with first year QBs, QB attrition with other teams). Olin, just express why A&M can win a championship this year because MOST of the factors listed won't be true next year or the year after next.
TAMU74
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.