Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Second-half outlook: Texas A&M
By David Ubben
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies have fallen apart with three losses to their BCS opponents so far -- understandable because their travel roster last week against Kansas State was dotted with 17 freshmen. And it won’t get any easier for them when the meat of the Big 12 schedule kicks in, providing a difficult platform for the young players to learn. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson started fast with 14 touchdowns before he threw his first interception. But when the struggles came, he threw three of them against along with being sacked six times in a 62-14 loss to Kansas State last week. That stretched A&M’s losing streak to five straight Big 12 games, allowing 50.8 points during that span and twice allowing 60. Coach Mike Sherman needs a quick turnaround in his defense as they face Texas Tech this week and with the rest of the remaining opponents. Even with the Red Raiders’ uncertain quarterbacking, it will still pose a huge problem for an A&M defense that ranks 94th in total defense and 104th in scoring defense and has struggled getting off the field during recent weeks. Sherman desperately needs a turnaround and this group might be too young to give him the kind of lift he would need to save his job.
Best-case scenario: The Aggies find a way to cobble three wins during the rest of the season and qualify for their first bowl since 2007. Their most likely triumphs would include Baylor, Iowa State and a road game against Colorado. The remaining games look daunting and probably outside the capability of this young group this season.
Worst-case scenario: Another blowout loss at Texas Tech is followed by unexpected losses to Iowa State and Colorado. That six-game losing streak would make the season fall apart with a loss at Oklahoma the following week ending their hopes for bowl eligibility.
My prediction: No bowl. The Aggies will have their bowl hopes alive until the final game of the season. Home wins against Iowa State and Baylor will give them a shot in the final game against Texas. But the Longhorns’ national title hopes will trump that to end A&M’s bowl dreams in their final regular season game.