After a shaky start in College Station, Sherman turned his Texas A&M Aggies around in dramatic fashion in 2010. One the season’s biggest surprises, the Aggies stormed their way to a 9-3 regular season record—including wins over hated rivals Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska—before being tripped up by LSU in the Cotton Bowl.
The unexpectedly successful run in 2010 has raised the hopes of the Aggie faithful heading into 2011, and with a boatload of talent returning, Sherman appears to have a shot at not only replicating his 2010 success, but maybe even trumping it.
Can the fourth-year coach get his Aggies to the next level? Find out here, in our 2011 Texas A&M preview.
OVERVIEW: The Texas A&M teams of old—think R.C. Slocum and the glory days of the Wrecking Crew—won with defense. But under Sherman, the Aggies have evolved into a much more well-rounded program. The defense may not be as dominant as it was under Slocum, but the 2010 unit wasn't half bad and 2011 group should be, at the very least, adequate. As for the offense? Well, after putting up more than 31 points per game last season, the Aggies return just about everyone on from 2010's impressive unit--including promising quarterback Ryan Tannehill, wideout Jeff Fuller and tailback Cyrus Gray, a potential Heisman candidate. This will be an exciting group to watch.
THE CEILING: The Big 12 championship. Oklahoma probably still boasts more talent than the Aggies, but let's face it: A&M beat Bob Stoops' boys in 2010 and there's no reason they couldn't do it again. The Big 12's loss of Nebraska to the Big Ten has created a vacuum of power beneath Oklahoma and Texas, which means A&M—along with Texas Tech, Missouri and Oklahoma State—has a rare chance to boost their profile. Winning league titles is the best way to do that.
REASON FOR CONCERN: Eighteen starters are back in all, so it's hard to find a weakness here. If there is one potential problem area, it would at linebacker, where Sherman will lose the services of standouts Michael Hodges and Von Miller. Truthfully, this team is solid pretty much across the board. But do they really believe they're ready to compete with the big boys?
THE SCHEDULE (key games in bold): 9/3 vs. SMU; 9/17 vs. Idaho; 9/24 vs. Oklahoma State; 10/1 vs. Arkansas (at Cowboys Stadium); 10/8 at Texas Tech; 10/15 vs. Baylor; 10/22 at Iowa State; 10/29 vs. Missouri; 11/5 at Oklahoma; 11/12 at Kansas State; 11/19 vs. Kansas; 11/26; vs. Texas
THE PREDICTION: The offense will be great—it just won't be good as Oklahoma's. The defense will be solid—it just won't be as solid as Oklahoma's. And Sherman's gameplans will be smart—they just won't be as smart as Stoops'. Sherman has most certainly made some progress in College Station, and this program appears headed in the right direction, but it's not quite elite, and it's not quite ready to make a run at the Big 12 crown. Not yet. For now, playing second-fiddle to the Sooners will have to suffice. REGULAR SEASON PREDICTION: 9-3