It’s the Texas Bowl, a game which should draw a good crowd to Houston for two teams which won’t have to travel very far. This game will reunite two teams which used to play every year as Big 12 South Division rivals a decade ago.
By Matt Zemek
Then Texas A&M moved to the SEC, breaking up the annual string of games these teams would play. Both programs share the larger reality of being buried in their respective conferences. Texas A&M lost five games this season, failing to win even once against the top of the SEC West. A&M also lost to SEC East champion Georgia and ACC champion Clemson. The Aggies did have a tough schedule, but they wasted five different chances to get a high-quality win in 2019. A win over Oklahoma State would genuinely be their best win of the whole year. Oklahoma State finished 8-4. Like Texas A&M, the Cowboys lost to the elite teams in their conference, Oklahoma and Baylor. The Cowboys also lost to Texas and Texas Tech. Oklahoma State’s best win was its road victory at Iowa State.
Let’s see what Texas A&M has to do to win the Texas Bowl.
1 – Mond Day on a Friday
Wait, were you expecting anything else? Kellen Mond has had a month to prepare for this game. If Texas A&M is going to get appreciably better as a program and realize its potential, it has to start at the quarterback position. Remember that Kyler Murray used to be an Aggie before he transferred to Oklahoma. When he went to Oklahoma, he got the very best quarterback coaching in the country. Lincoln Riley teaches that position better than anyone else in the college game. Jimbo Fisher needs to show he can coach quarterbacks with the best of them. He certainly hasn’t done so at A&M with Mond. He had a month of preparation for this bowl. Let’s see Jimbo and his quarterback deliver the goods for once.
2 – A&M defensive line
The Oklahoma Sooners don’t have an elite defense this year, but they also don’t have a terrible defense this year, and they swallowed up Oklahoma State’s offense because their defensive line was nasty, consistent, and effective against the Cowboys’ offensive line. If A&M’s defensive front can play 75 percent as well as Oklahoma’s defensive line played against Oklahoma State on Nov. 30, the Aggies should have a very good chance to win. The offense would not have to keep pace in a track meet. Oklahoma State would love to have a track meet, but the Aggies’ defensive front can stand in the way of that scenario.
3 – Aggression
Texas A&M punted to Georgia late in the fourth quarter on Nov. 23 instead of pursuing victory at all costs and doing everything possible to win. A bowl game ought to mean more aggression in play-calling and overall strategy. Let’s see if the coaching staff pays attention to that basic concept and adjusts accordingly.