As the lone SEC team from Texas, the Texas A&M Aggies supposedly attract the most talent and once outside of that “brutal league” should clean up — especially against the Ex Communicated Sisters of the Poor, aka the Big 12.
On Wednesday night, A&M’s Collapse From Hell: Volume IV was completed with a 33-28 loss to former Big 12 rival Kansas State in the Texas Bowl in Houston.
The Aggies are not that much different from Missouri, South Carolina or Vanderbilt — they are SEC in name only.
The season began with so much hope after a home win against then-No. 16 UCLA, went on to include a top-four ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll, but ended like the rest.
The Aggies of the mighty SEC could not defeat Kansas State, which owned Texas this season; Bill Snyder was 5-0 against the Texas teams: Baylor, A&M, UT, Texas Tech, TCU.
After that high point in a 33-14 loss, the Aggies defeated New Mexico State and Texas-San Antonio at home, but collapsed against every other team to embarrass the great state a Texas football this season in the SEC. This is a noteworthy feat considering how bad the entire state was at football.
This is the third consecutive 8-5 season for coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies.
There is no good way to spin this: Other than the check, the Aggies’ decision to go to the SEC has been a joke. Unless the Aggies don’t have the best quarterback in college football running the show, they are not that good. A move that once looked so promising continues to be played out as predicted. The Aggies can’t hang in the SEC, just as they could not in the Big 12.
Other than the wondrous first season of John Manziel at A&M, which coincided with the team’s first year in the SEC in 2012, this is a middle tier Power 5 team.
The Aggies have finished with a winning record in the SEC once — 2012, when they were 6-2, which included a win at No. 1 Alabama and narrow losses to LSU and Florida.
Since then ...
2013: 9-4, 4-4 SEC. Lost two of their last three games, and needed a nice rally from Manziel in the second half to defeat Duke by four points in the Fried Chicken Bowl in Atlanta. Finished the season 18th in the final poll.
2014: 8-5, 3-5 SEC. Under QB Kenny Trill, the Aggies started out 5-0 before falling apart. The Trill transferred after the season to TCU. Not ranked in final poll.
2015: 8-5, 4-4 SEC. Started the season 5-0 with a pair of five-star quarterbacks before collapsing. Both five-star QBs transferred after the season. Not ranked in final poll.
2016: 8-5, 4-4 SEC. Started the season 6-0 with wins over UCLA, Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee before losing it. This season looked so promising, but injuries piled up. It all ended with a dispiriting home loss against LSU, 54-39; the Aggies are 0-5 against LSU since joining the SEC.
A&M will not be ranked in final poll, but the good news is the starting quarterback won’t transfer, so that’s a plus.
Where do the Aggies go? Wherever they go it will include Sumlin for another year. Thanks to former A&M athletic director Eric Hyman, Sumlin signed six-year, $30 million contract in December of 2013 that is guaranteed.
Despite the big money, 2017 is it for the Swag Copter. His team can’t fall apart again.
The best defensive player in the SEC, defensive end Myles Garrett, will declare for the NFL draft. The Aggies will also have to break in a starting quarterback for the fourth consecutive season.
We keep hearing how the talent level in College Station has increased dramatically thanks to the Aggies’ move to the SEC, but the results indicate that is yet another fraudulent claim. The best players the Aggies have had in the SEC were all recruited to the school when it was in the Big 12, under coach Mike Sherman — Von Miller, J. Football, that dominant offensive line.
There were just as many good players in College Station when the Aggies were in the Big 12 as there are now, and the end results look the same, too — right in the middle.