Week 3 isn’t typically a turning point in a football season, but how Arkansas does against its third opponent of the year this football season figures to go a long way in telling us what that year will be like.
The Razorbacks head to the Metroplex to play Texas A&M, a team they haven’t beaten in the Bret Bielema era.
Part III of SEC Country’s summertime predictions continues Wednesday with Texas A&M. For the next two weeks, Monday through Friday, we will preview each opponent on the Hogs’ schedule. Each piece will include opponent previews and predictions from each of our writers.
Here goes Week 3:
Texas A&M Aggies
Coach: Kevin Sumlin (sixth season, 44-21 overall, 21-19 in SEC)
Last season: 8-5, 4-4 in SEC (fourth in West), lost to Kansas State in Texas Bowl
Plays Arkansas: Sept. 23 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
2016 By the Numbers
- Scoring offense: 34.8 points per game (34th out of 128 teams in FBS)
- Passing offense: 255.2 yards per game (46th)
- Rushing offense: 211.8 yards per game (34th)
- Scoring defense: 24.5 points per game (39th)
- Passing defense: 250 yards allowed per game (91st)
- Rushing defense: 191.8 yards allowed per game (80th)
Texas A&M offense
The key to a Texas A&M offense is a playmaking quarterback. And it remains to be seen if the Aggies have one of those. The position has been a mess for most of the last three years, but they always had someone talented back there. While it’s possible Nick Starkel or Kellen Mond are immediate-impact players, it’s unlikely.
Thing is, with what’s around them, they may not have to be. Christian Kirk is one of the three best wideouts in the SEC and everyone knows it. Trayveon Williams ran for 1,000-plus yards last year (though he wasn’t the same player in the second half of the season). The offensive line returns plenty of experience, too.
Texas A&M defense
Bend, don’t break. That was mostly how Texas A&M got by defensively last year as the Aggies were 90th in the nation when it came to giving up yards. Somehow they were top 40 when it came to stopping opponents from scoring. Whatever.
A lot of talent is gone from that bunch, though. Best tackler (Shaan Washington), best cover man (Justin Evans) and best pass rusher (Myles Garrett) are all gone. But linebacker Otaro Alaka is a potential All-Big 12 selection. So is Armani Watts at safety and Zaycoven Henderson up front. Still, Texas A&M isn’t exactly a stalwart defensively even if those guys live up to potential.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas positional edges
- Quarterback — Arkansas
- Running back — Texas A&M
- Receivers — Texas A&M
- Offensive line — Arkansas
- Defensive line — Texas A&M
- Linebackers — Texas A&M
- Secondary — Arkansas
- Special teams — Texas A&M
What SEC Country says about Texas A&M vs. Arkansas
Eric Bolin: Count on a game with the margin of two years ago, not of last season. The Aggies have had Arkansas’ number during Bielema’s tenure, and just about every projection has them finishing ahead Arkansas again in the standings. Could be a swing game, far as the table goes, though.
Prediction: Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 27
Jason Kersey: Arkansas should beat Texas A&M this year and snap that long series losing streak. But until the Hogs actually beat the Aggies, I’m not predicting it to happen.
Prediction: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 24
Trent Shadid: The drought in Arlington will finally end for the Hogs. I know I’m not the only person saying this, but I think A&M very well could have the type of season that costs Sumlin his job. And I see the downhill spiral starting Sept. 23 in North Texas with the Aggies’ first of six difficult SEC games (aren’t they all). Arkansas has the advantage of a week off coming into this one and I could see that extra rest and preparation being the deciding factor in a close game.
Prediction: Arkansas 27, Texas A&M 24
Projected average final score of Texas A&M vs. Arkansas
Texas A&M 28, Arkansas 26
Arkansas’ projected record so far
SEC Country: 2-1