We reviewed five preseason magazines — Athlon, ESPN, Lindy’s, Phil Steele and The Sporting News — and broke down their team-by-team predictions.
Saturday, we examine Texas A&M. Here is what’s being said about the Aggies:
ESPN (4th in SEC West — No. 21, 7.3 projected wins): “Kevin Sumlin is drifting in the wrong direction … he tabbed former UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone to assume the same position in College Station, but instability at QB might hold back an abundance of talent at wide receiver.”
Athlon (5th in SEC West — 7-5, Texas Bowl): “Three consecutive late-season fades and second-division finishes in the SEC West division have led to an increasingly disgruntled fan base. However, if the Aggies’ season can be as good and productive as their offseason, Sumlin could quickly turn those jeers back into cheers.”
Lindy’s (5th in SEC West): “The Aggies might be a little deeper and more talented than in 2015, but their record might not show it … Much will depend this season on what has been a revolving door at QB.”
Phil Steele (5th in SEC West [tied] — Texas Bowl): “Each of the last two years … they have been the ‘hot’ national title contender at mid-year. They were 5-0 and No. 6 in 2014 and 5-0 and No. 9 last year. They are 6-10 after that point and finished unranked both years.”
Sporting News (6th in SEC West — Texas Bowl): “(Kevin) Sumlin’s buyout calls for him to be paid about $15 million, but with oil prices down, the pockets of disgruntled alumni who want to buy him out might not be quite so deep. That may buy Sumlin a little more time to pump out a few more wins.”
Preseason All-American selections: Myles Garrett (1st, unanimous), Christian Kirk (2nd x3), Avery Gennesy (3rd x1)
Preseason All-SEC: Garrett (1st, unanimous), Kirk (1st x4), Gennesy (2nd x2), Josh Reynolds (2nd x1, 3rd x2), Speedy Noil (2nd x1), Armani Watts (3rd x3), Trevor Knight (3rd x1), Daeshon Hall (3rd x1), Ricky Seals-Jones (4th x1), Shaan Washington (4th x1)
- Phil Steele rated Texas A&M No. 30 in his preseason rankings, but placed the Aggies No. 25 in his power poll, which accounts solely for talent.
- Lindy’s listed the Aggies receiving corps as the nation’s best, saying A&M has four players who “could be No. 1 targets almost anywhere.”
- ESPN spoke to an anonymous coach who is not buying the Myles Garrett hype: “I don’t think he’s a No. 1 draft pick, but I think he’ll be top 15, top 20. He’s not a 3-4 guy who can stand up.”
- Athlon’s David Fox listed Christian Kirk as a his “dark horse Heisman candidate,” saying “more stable quarterback play and a new offensive coordinator at A&M should give Kirk more chances to show off.”
- Lindy’s named tight end Kalvin Cline “most ready for the Paris runway.”
- Lindy’s named Kevin Sumlin as its No. 2 hot-seat coach: “Sumlin and A&M debuted in the SEC with a sexy 6-2 record and a Heisman Trophy winner. Since then, 11-13 in the league and a packed highway of transfers.”
- Sporting News gave Sumlin the “Hottest Seat” in the conference while calling Myles Garrett the “Top NFL Prospect” and naming Trevor Knight “Best Under Pressure” thanks to his big-game success at Oklahoma.
- Athlon spoke to an anonymous coach who’s worried about facing the Aggies’ defensive line: “A guy to keep an eye on is the Daylon Mack kid. He’s a really special talent. Our offense was as worried about him being disruptive as they were about Myles Garrett.”
- Phil Steele ranked A&M’s 2015 schedule as the 25th-toughest in the country, and he projects the Aggies’ 2016 schedule to be the seventh-toughest.
- ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Aggies at least a 41 percent chance to win all their games, except for the regular season finale vs. LSU (29 percent).
- Lindy’s found that Texas A&M is the fourth-worst in the country at covering gambling spreads over the past five years, going 22-36 for a 37.9 percent success rate.
- Lindy’s called the opener vs. UCLA the nation’s No. 10 non-conference game this season.
- Athlon named defensive tackle Daylon Mack one of its 15 “Breakout Players” across the country.