Texas A&M has had an interesting season to say the least. The Aggies have changed conferences, had close losses, suffered incredible collapses, pulled off great performances and failed to live up to expectations all in the span of a few months.
So how did the Aggies fall from the No. 8 team in the country, to a pedestrian 6-5 overall going into their final matchup of the season against Texas?
Texas A&M announces it will leave the Big 12 starting in the 2012 season. The Aggies were later accepted into the SEC for next season. This announcement created huge waves in college football, causing many teams switch conferences. Some speculate that the move could eventually break down the traditional conference alignment for good. For A&M, this announcement just added extra pressure to the players season and forced the players to answer questions about what conference they would be playing in instead of who they were playing against week after week.
September 24th vs. Oklahoma State
The team was rolling despite the conference alignment rumors, it was 2-0 and coming off of a pair of big wins to open the season. The Aggies started out the game hot to quickly build a 20-3 halftime lead over the No. 7 Cowboys. However, from that point on they collapsed and three turnovers and numerous penalties allowed Oklahoma State back in the game. Oklahoma State went on to reel off 27 straight points in route to a 30-29 win.
“It’s tough. We had so much on the line coming into this game and we were so excited about this game,” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “Any loss is tough but this one especially hurts. Our guys are resilient though. They can handle a tough loss and I think we will be able to bounce back next week.”
October 1st vs. Arkansas
Bounce back the Aggies did, well at least initially against their future SEC foes, the No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks. The Aggies were dominant once again at half, leading 35-17, and were throwing the ball around the yard with ease. But once again they hit a wall in the most important portion of the game, the final one. They lead the whole game up until the 1: 41 mark in the fourth quarter, when a Razorback touchdown put them in the lead for the first time and was enough to secure a 42-38 victory for Arkansas.
“I do think that we’re contributing to our demise in the second half,” said head coach Mike Sherman. “We definitely have to play better, coach better and be better in order to win football games. Certainly that is a struggle for us at this point. Each player in that locker room has to look at themselves, as well as the coaches and figure out what we could all have done a lot better.”
This was the second monumental collapse for the team on the season, and sealed any chance of a national title birth for A&M this season but, more importantly, it established a trend.
October 29th vs. Missouri
The Aggies were once again rolling winning three straight Big 12 games and displaying the type of talent that ranked them in the top 10 in the preseason, going into a matchup with Missouri. However, the Aggies inability to hold a lead came back to bite them once again, when they blew a 11-point half time cushion to the Tigers, eventually falling in overtime 38-31.
“The loss is very devastating. We didn’t need a loss. We hate losing. We’re a team that had high expectations coming into the year,” said linebacker Sean Porter. “This is bad, it’s not what we expected at all and we need to play a lot better as a team.”
It didn’t get much better for the Tigers after that, they went on to lose two more in a row to Oklahoma and to Kansas State, the latter being another blown lead and four overtime loss.
While they played much better last week against Kanas in a 61-7 blowout of the Jayhawks, this team is still inconsistent at best. The Aggies had Big 12 title aspirations coming in to the season, and now because of their inability to finish, they face one of the most disappointing seasons in the school’s history.
Nov. 24th vs. Texas
A win against the Longhorns could do wonders to gloss over what has been a bad season. But will the Aggies have yet another collapse or will they play the way their capable of? That remains to be seen, but with this year’s A&M squad the one thing you can expect is an entertaining result, just maybe not for the home team.