Texas A&M Aggies
2010 record: 9-4 overall, 6-2 conference
2010 Bowl Game: 41-24 loss to LSU in Cotton Bowl
2010 ATS: 8-5
2010 O/U: 7-6
Returning starters: 18 total (9 on offense, 9 on defense)
Over the month of August, our team of writers will be previewing the top teams heading into an exciting 2011 campaign. The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are also preparing and have season-long packages readily available for clients. Let’s take a look at the fourth year of life in College Station with Mike Sherman on the sidelines.
Jerrod Johnson’s benching last year sent a clear message to the locker room that nobody’s starting spot is safe. He is no longer on campus and senior Ryan Tannehill gets the chance to try and carry over momentum that saw the team win six of its last seven games.
Tannehill completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,638 yards and 12 touchdowns last year and has a legitimate opportunity to become the first quarterback for the school to earn all-conference honors since 1991.
Offensively, the team ranked fifth in the conference and 23rd nationally in total offense, averaging 441.9 yards a game. Balance was definitely a theme in terms of play calling, as the passing and rushing offense both finished in the fifth spot within the Big 12 Conference.
Senior running back Cyrus Gray was instrumental in taking hold of the run game late in the season by averaging at least 100 yards in the final seven games. Surprisingly enough, he was the first back to surpass the 1000-yard mark at College Station since 1993.
A trio of wide receivers are getting a lot of attention heading into camp, as they helped Texas A&M finished 20th in passing offense, gaining 276.9 yards a contest through the air.
Jeff Fuller is undoubtedly the main attraction, setting the school’s single-season receiving yards record with 1,066, while also hauling in 12 touchdowns.
The Aggies made great strides in defending the run last year, leading the Big 12 Conference after finishing 11th in the same category in 2009. In total, the unit allowed 40.4 yards less per game on the ground that the prior year.
Plenty of experience returns and defensive linemen Tony Jerod-Eddie and Jonathan Mathis pose a major problem for opposing offensive teams in preparation each week. Both have combined for 38 starts within the program.
Replacing Von Miller is the main question heading into a season-opener against SMU and Garrick Williams will try to do his best impersonation from a inside position rather than rushing from the outside. He has made 29 starts and recorded a 112 stops a year ago.
From the outside looking in, many believe that the secondary will be the strength of the defensive side due to a return of all four starts, but the group finished eighth in pass defense within the conference last year.
Randy Bullock is definitely a steady option at kicker, as he hit all 50 PATs last year and connected on 16-of-21 field goals.
The punting situation is wide open and a main focal point for Sherman during camp. Texas A&M was last in the conference with a net punting average of 34.0 yards.
Weapons abound in the kicking game and should be a major edge for the Aggies on a weekly basis. Cornerback Coryell Judie is the main attraction and returned kickoffs last year against Baylor and Oklahoma.
Against the Spread
It’s likely that the Aggies were the only team to finish with an 0-3 ATS mark as a road underdog, but a perfect 3-0 ATS record when laying points away from home.
The program has regained its swagger from year’s past and that will likely pay off when hosting the Texas Longhorns to end the season. Texas A&M is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
Facing an SEC opponent is no picnic for any team, but Arkansas has dominated the series by covering six-straight. The team’s worst performance of the year may come on October 1, as this year’s meeting is sandwiched between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.