2012 Florida Football Schedule Preview: The Texas A&M Aggies


We continue our preview of the 2012 Florida football schedule by looking at the Gators’ second week match-up in the Texas A&M Aggies. For our preview against the Bowling Green Falcons, click here.

The Plot

The SEC newcomer in the Texas A&M Aggies had a rough season in 2011. The squad went 7-6 after being given an AP preseason ranking of eight, massively underachieving.

But they underachieved to a point. Because while the Aggies were 7-6 despite being pegged for ten, possibly 11 wins, it wasn’t as if the team was far off from meeting those lofty expectations.

In fact, of the Aggies’ six losses, five losses were by a touchdown or less, and four of them were by four points or less. In essence, better late-game decision-making and poise down the stretch of games — and not much of it either — might have seen this team go 11-1 in 2011, thus saving Mike Sherman’s job.

Blame Sherman’s inability to go for the kill in fourth quarters, though, and blame him for not keeping his team disciplined enough to not give up solid leads in the second half of games.

Regardless of who you point the finger at, things are going to get rough for these Aggies, and Florida will make Texas A&M’s transition into a much-more-stacked-than-the-Big-12 SEC a living hell, especially with Kevin Sumlin — whom we can’t find ourselves trusting enough to take over this squad and bring ’em over the hump — at the helm.

Florida will give Texas A&M it’s first welcome into the SEC, and it might not be a very warming one.

Texas A&M Offense vs. Florida Defense

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that head coach Kevin Sumlin can put together an explosive offense. In his time with Houston, the dude oversaw an offense that averaged 550 yards a game in total offense over the course of four years. Last season, everything clicked and the squad tore off nearly 600 yards of total offense behind another epic season from Case Keenum.

But we still can’t trust the dude, even if he’s had success elsewhere as an offensive coach in his time with Purdue and Oklahoma. He’s never coached in the SEC before, where the defenses are frustratingly incredible.

To their credit, though, they have the offensive talent to be an explosive SEC offensive team. Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu, two of aTm’s top three receivers in 2011, are coming back. Even further, Christine Michael — a running back gushing with potential that Aggies fans might be crazy over if he’s healthy — is back. They’re also returning a hell of an offensive line that’ll rival any other line in the country.

They’re missing a key piece to make it work against tough SEC defenses, though. They don’t have a QB like they did last season in Ryan Tannehill. Johnny Manziel — the Aggies’ new starting QB — looked good in practices, but the dude’s only a freshman, so it isn’t as if he has experience working in his favor.

That seems to be the biggest snag that aTm will have to confront, and it’s not one that a team can overlook, especially when Kevin Sumlin will want to implement a pass-happy offense like he has been at every other stop he’s made thus far.

Meaning Florida will be favored here. If you have forgotten already, the Gators’ defense is one of the SEC’s finest, meaning they’re also one of the nation’s finest. They have been incredibly stingy against both the pass and the run, and though Texas A&M excels in both, they’ve yet to play in a conference like the SEC.

So let’s give it to Florida, just because. We know Texas A&M has potential, but since the entire Sumlin offense is predicated on having a great QB, and since the Aggies don’t have one right now, the squad has to struggle offensively, at least just enough to be stifled by these Gators.

Florida Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense

While Florida’s defense is right on par with Texas A&M’s offense because both are so damn good (potentially), the Florida offense and Texas A&M defense match up well because both are just so, so bad.

Florida doesn’t have a starting QB yet, and their offense was absolute trash in 2011. Meanwhile, the Aggies let up 28 points a game in the Big-12, good for below average in the nation.

And things get worse for the Aggies since they’re returning just four of their starters this season. That secondary looked awfully weak in 2011, and now that seemingly the entire unit is now gone, things could get worse.

Nothing gets better up front for these Aggies, either. The defensive line is razor thin, and that might be their Achilles Heel.

Because the Gators can run. Any team with a solid defense and a shaky-at-best passing game needs to be able to run, even if it’s just “decently.”

But let’s not pretend Florida will be able to put up monster points against this team via the ground. Texas A&M did play in the Big-12, an offense-laden conference filled with prolific offenses.

This aspect of the game is a toss-up, as is usually the case when two terrible units are set to match up against one another.

Prediction: Florida 24, Texas A&M 20

We can’t see aTm putting up massive points, nor can we see Florida blanking them. But for the Gators to win, they’re going to have to get it together, at least a little, on offense.