Texas A&M football: When will the Aggies be SEC contenders?

It’s year two for Jimbo Fisher and this was the year the Aggies were supposed to make a move in the SEC. After the loss, how much further do they have to go?

The 2019 season hasn’t exactly gone to plan for Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M football team.

The Aggies are now 2-2, with losses to Clemson and an SEC conference opener loss to No. 8 Auburn in week four. The Aggies had the No. 4 recruiting class in the country last season, and currently, have the No. 12 class this year. So when will that talent show itself and defeat a premier college football program?

That is probably the question going around College Station right about now, and it’s a difficult question to answer. This is a program that has always had good athletes and made some noise almost every season. But, they just haven’t been able to win the right games to propel them to national prominence.

They only have one double-digit win season since 1998, but that’s not to say they have been bad. Most of their seasons have been your average eight or nine-win campaigns. They have had Heisman winners and All-Americans, but really nothing to show for it.

In fact, their last conference championship came in that 11-win 1998 season where they defeated No. 2 Kansas State in the Big 12 title game. They have yet to reach a conference championship game since then, and under Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies were supposed to reverse that.

Unfortunately, it seems that they will have to wait at least another year for that to happen because barring a major turnaround, the Aggies won’t win the SEC West this year.

Not after losing at home to Auburn 28-20 yesterday. Texas A&M failed to establish a run game against the Tigers, throwing the ball 49 times and their quarterback Kellen Mond was also their leading rusher. If he had a big game on the ground, that would be one thing, but he was only able to accumulate 26 yards on nine carries. Mond was encouraging through the air though, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Having a nonexistent running attack isn’t going to cut it in the SEC, as the defenses are too athletic, especially when they can hone in on stopping the passing attack. The fact that they are playing in the SEC, however, could be the crux of their problems.

The Aggies are 9-18 against top 25 programs within the SEC since they joined the conference. To make matters worse, they are 5-17 combined against Alabama, LSU, and Auburn, their top competitors in the SEC West, since 2012. With already losing to Auburn this season, and Alabama and LSU looking like playoff contenders this season, it doesn’t seem likely that record will improve any time soon.

The Aggies need to start winning some of these games if they want any shot of being able to compete in the SEC. This begs the question of whether Fisher is the right hire for a program that needed some reviving.

It might be just the second year, but considering Fisher has been on the national stage as a head coach for a long time now, these are questions that are allowed to be asked. This wasn’t some up and coming young coordinator hire. The hiring of Fisher was a clear message sent by Texas A&M, a message that the Aggies want to win, and they want to win now. But in the loaded SEC, winning now isn’t really a realistic expectation.

They had seen Fisher rebuild a Florida State program that was on a downswing during the final years of the Bobby Bowden tenure. But that wasn’t really a rebuild. It was more like a restart to a Seminole program that was already elite. But it didn’t get restarted overnight, the engine sputtered for a while. In his fourth year in Tallahassee, the Seminoles won a national championship.

So for all the Texas A&M fans, panicking after four games into Fisher’s second season, there is cause to be patient. Fisher has proven the ability to make programs elite with a little time. If we are in the fourth year and it still the same old 9-3 or 8-4, then there is cause to panic.

That being said, as long as Nick Saban is at the helm of Alabama, an SEC West title let alone an SEC title may never happen. The Aggies need to focus on winning those big SEC games before they can think about taking down Goliath. That will start with back to back games against Georgia and LSU to end the regular season this year.

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