Originally posted on College Football Zealots  |  Last updated 8/25/13
2012 Record: 11-2 (6-2 in SEC) Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (second year at A&M, 46-19 All-Time) Last Bowl Game: 2013 Cotton Bowl: beat Oklahoma 41-13 Stadium: Kyle Field in College Station, TX (capacity = 82,600) Home Field Advantage: ranked 15th out of 69 BCS teams Schedule Glimpse: 2013 Schedule Link Out of Conference: 8/31 vs Rice, 9/7 vs Sam Houston St, 9/21 vs SMU, 11/2 vs UTEP Toughest Home Games: 9/14 vs Alabama, 10/26 vs Vandy Toughest Road Games: 10/12 at Ole Miss, 11/23 at LSU   Statistical Snapshot: 2012 Statistics Link Stat to Fear: only gained 16 turnovers in 2012 (tied for 11th in SEC) Stats to Cheer: converted on 54.87% of third downs (1st in SEC), scored TDs on 73.53% of red zone trips (3rd in SEC), had 100 plays of 20 or more yards (1st in SEC) Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 3rd out of 124 teams   Personnel: Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 6, Defense: 5, Special Teams: 2 Key Defensive Returnees: S Toney Hurd (67 tackles), S Howard Matthews (58 tackles), CB Deshazor Everett (56 tackles) Key Offensive Returnees: QB Johnny Manziel (3706 yds pass, 68% completions, 26 TD, 9 INT, 1410 yds rush, 21 rush TD), RB Ben Malena (808 yds rush, 5.86 ypc, 8 TD), RB Trey Williams (376 yds rush, 5.78 ypc,  5 TD), WR Mike Evans (82 rec) Top 2013 Recruits: ATH Ricky Seal-Jones, DT Isaiah Golden, WR JaQuay Williams, DT Justin Manning, WR Sebastian LaRue, WR Laquvionte Gonzalez, DE Daeshon Hall     Verdict:   There was no team in college football that surprised more in 2012 than the Texas A&M Aggies. Coming off of a 7-6 season in which they went 4-5 in the Big 12, most thought they had bitten off more than they could chew by joining the SEC. A change in leadership and coaching philosophy as well as a young gun at QB helped the Aggies one their way to an 11-2 season including a road victory over eventual National Champion Alabama.   The summer of Manziel has loomed over the Aggies as the Heisman Trophy winner just can't seem to stay out of the press whether it's showing up at numerous sporting events, being investigated by the NCAA for signing autographs for dealers or hanging out with his best bro AJ McCarron. Will Manziel's summer loom over the team and affect his performance? Will the loss of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury hurt? Will Manziel have to sit any games due to the NCAA investigation? There are a lot of questions right now for the Aggies. One thing can't be denied and that is that there is a ton of talent on this offense. A&M has one of the top RB units in the conference. They have Ben Malena, Trey Williams and also transfers Brandon Williams (Oklahoma) and Tra Carson (Oregon). The WR corps took a hit with the loss of Ryan Swope, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Thomas Johnson but still return Mike Evans and Malcome Kennedy as well as top recruits Ricky Seals-Jones and Ja'Quay Williams. The OL loses Luke Joeckel and Patrick Lewis (48 career starts) and that's big. They still have three starters returning including Jake Matthews but you have to expect a slight step back on the OL.     Defense is a concern for the Aggies. Last year they gave up 21.8 ppg (which ranked 7th in the conference) but they gave up a lot of big plays (179 plays of 10 yards or more and 58 plays of 20 yards or more). The DL must replace two of it's top three players. The LB corps loses three of it's top four players. The secondary loses two of it's top five players. That's a lot to replace. Does A&M have the depth to reload on defense?   The schedule is not a killer for the Aggies as they have a weak out of conference slate (Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU and UTEP) and draw Vanderbilt and Missouri from the East. The early season game against Alabama on Sept 14th will most likely be the most watched game of the year (at least until the conference championships) and will decide the fate of the SEC West. There are a lot of question-marks hovering over this A&M team right now but if everything stays status quo they will be a player in the SEC.   Prediction: 10-2     Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews: ACC- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, FSU, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, UNC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest Big 12- Baylor, Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, WVU Big Ten- Illinois,  Indiana,  Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State,  Minnesota,  Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn State, Purdue,Wisconsin C-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSA Independent: Army, BYU, Idaho, Navy, New Mexico St, Notre Dame, Old Dominion MAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, CMU, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), NIU, Ohio, Toledo, UMass, WMU MWC- Air Force, Boise St, Colorado St, Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming Pac-12- Arizona, Arizona St, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington St SEC- Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt Sun Belt- Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, ULM, WKU The American-  Cincinnati,  Houston, Louisville,  Memphis,  Rutgers,  SMU, Temple, UCF, UConn, USF    
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