JGR, I don't know if JM will be able to repeat the incredible stats he had last year, but I will say this....
take a look A&M's schedule. With the exception of Bama (which they have at home), and LSU, the rest of their schedule looks to be very winnable. 8 of their 12 games are at home. They don't play Georgia, Florida, or SC. It's as favorable as schedules get in the SEC.
They lost 6 key players to the NFL --
WR Ryan Swope, a fantastic receiver, but Mike Evans (6'5" 225lbs, and only a sophomore) is more than capable of filling his shoes (he lead the team in receiving last year), and they are very deep at WR.
DE Demontre Moore -- he was a beast, tied for 2nd in sacks (in all of college football) last year. He's one of those "once in a decade" players who will be really hard to replace. However, they still have LB Steven Jenkins who was their leading tackler last year.
RB Christine (yes, that's really his name) Michael -- a good RB, however Ben Malena is just as good, averaging 6 yds/carry last year. And, JM was their leading rusher anyway.
OT Luke Joeckel -- another huge loss, but Jake Matthews is still there, and the OL is still expected to be very strong.
LBs Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart -- both very good but not upper tier LB's. Nevertheless, LB may prove to be their biggest question mark at the start of this season.
A&M had a definite top 10, and some say top 3 recruiting class last year, so there's lots of young potential on the roster. The move to the SEC, coupled with their win against Bama last year, combined with JM winning the Heisman and Coach Sumlin's recruiting prowess, has been a boon to recruiting, with several of the blue chip TX players electing to stay in the state and play in College Station.
Coach Kevin Sumlin can never be counted out. He's a proven winner not just last year at A&M, but in other programs (notably Houston) before that.
Certainly, anything can happen, but short of JM torpedoing the entire team (which isn't totally out of the realm of possibility) with his off-the-field controversies, I look for A&M to have at least a 10-2 record. They are loaded with talent.
The Bama game will be a huge challenge for them. It's really hard to beat a Saban-coached team 2 years in a row, and they will be coming to Kyle Field with thoughts of revenge this year.
I agree with Mark -- University of Texas will be mediocre this year IMO and I don't look for them to top .500. In the Big 12, watch out for TCU. They used to be the perennial whipping boy in every conference they were in, but if the past few years is any indication, that's not the case now. They should never be overlooked.
Edited by RifleDude - August/13/2013 at 11:03