Immediately upon entering the Southeastern Conference, Texas A&M proved they belonged with the best. In game one of the first season, the Aggies introduced the league to Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football. The red shirt freshman lost his -- and Texas A&M's --debut to Florida, 20-17 but a star was born.

The Aggies only other loss that year (11-2) was to #6 LSU, 24-19. That second conference loss cost them a chance to play in the SEC Championship Game. However, they were the only team to beat national champion Alabama that year.

Since their red-hot entry season, Texas A&M has cooled considerably.

The past couple years have ended 8-5. Winners by most standards but not good enough in College Station. As a result, 2016 is a pivotable year for head coach Kevin Sumlin. The Athletic Department has given the coach the staff he needs for success--see coordinators John Chavis (defense) and Noel Mazzone (offense)--both recognized as top performers in their professions.

Though no one has put a number on how many wins Sumlin needs to get off the hot seat, my guess is improvement over last season is a must. The schedule:

Sept. 3 - UCLA -A tough game right off the bat. Two things give the Aggies a slight edge. Noel Mazzone's familiarity with UCLA and Texas A&M's home field advantage.Prediction - Aggies 28 - UCLA 20

Sept. 10 - Prairie View A&M -Prediction - Aggies 55 - Prairie View A&M 7


17 - at Auburn -The battle of coaches on the hot seat. Auburn gets home-field, A&M has the better coordinators.Prediction - Aggies 31 - Auburn 24

Sept. 24 - Arkansas(at Arlington, Tx.) - Last year saw a game that was hard fought with both teams having opportunities late. The teams meet at Arlington again this year.

So technically, it's a neutral site.

Hardly noticed in the hoopla after A&M's win in 2015, was that Arkansas held the Aggies to only 65 yards on the ground. Expect the run D to be as good and the pass defense much improved this year. Prediction - Arkansas 24 - Aggies 21

Oct. 1 - at South Carolina -Carolina is in total rebuild mode this year.

It will take more than home-field advantage for them to win here.Prediction - Aggies 34 - Gamecocks - 20

Oct. 8 - Tennessee -In the midst of the Vols most difficult four game stretch, the Aggies come right after Tennessee plays at Georgia and right before Alabama. Expect a hard fought struggle and an Aggies win. Prediction - Aggies 24 - Vols 23

Oct. 22 - at Alabama -The Crimson Tide won in 2015 thanks largely to three pick six returns. Though it's highly unlikely anything like that occurs again, Bama does likely win it at home. Prediction - Alabama20 - Aggies 14

Oct. 29 - New Mexico State -Prediction Aggies 52 - NM State 7

Nov. 5 - at Mississippi State - Although Dak Prescott has moved on to the NFL, don't think the Bulldogs have no talent at quarterback.

Sophomore Nick Fitzgerald looks to be very capable. This game will be close but the Aggies should pull out a road win.Prediction - Aggies 31 - Bulldogs 28

Nov. 12 - Mississippi -Barring injury, Ole Miss will have the best throwing quarterback in the SEC this year. In addition, their defense has excellent talent moving up, so it will still have plenty of bite.Prediction - Mississippi 27 - Aggies 23

Nov. 19 - UTSA -Sixth year of football for the Roadrunners. They are getting a bit better every year.Prediction - Aggies 42 - UTSA 17

Nov. 24 - LSU -The Tigers are a top 10 team going into the season. If Fournette stays healthy, he will likely be a Heisman finalist. In addition, LSU made up for losing the Chief to A&M when they hired Dave Aranda away from Wisconsin.

Prediction - LSU 20 - Aggies 13

Expect Texas A&M to finish the regular season about 8-4, with a very good shot at winning a bowl game. Of course, one score either way and they could slip to 8-5 or rise to 10-3.The SEC west will once again, be the most competitive league in football. Were the Aggies in the east, they likely go 10-2 in the regular season.

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