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One thing Sumlin can build from is the Aggies' overall game efficiency, a combination measure of raw offensive, defensive and special teams success. Texas A&M ranked 20th nationally in game efficiency this season, much better than its record would indicate. The top-25 teams in game efficiency averaged 10 wins apiece this year.
We run a metric called "mean wins" to calculate the likely record of a team with a given rating against its schedule, a way to roughly account for "luck". Texas A&M fell 1.7 wins below expected this year. There's no reason to assume they'll recover that luck and those wins immediately, but several teams last year with similar bad luck included the Georgia Bulldogs, Clemson Tigers and Houston, three teams that improved dramatically on their win totals from 2010 to 2011.
Over the weekend, Houston Dekaney four-star running back Trey Williams talked to reporters after leading his team to the Texas Class 5A Division II state championship game wearing an A&M hat. Aledo (Texas) High School four-star offensive tackle Michael Wilson, who has helped his team advance to the Class 4A Division II state championship game, said he likes the coaching hire but still wants to speak with Sumlin.