Why all the fuss about the Aggies?

Every now and then, I get a piece of mail asking why everyone's so riled up about a team that won six games a season ago and gave up 60 points on multiple occasions. I've mentioned it a few times, but colleague Bruce Feldman broke down the basic case for Texas A&M:

With 17 returning starters and a couple of really terrific players, as you've mentioned, I expect A&M to go bowling again and have a very good chance to open 4-0 with the Arkansas Razorbacks coming to town. I'm curious about this match-up because I think these two teams are pretty similar: talented offenses with good skill talent and a super-sized triggerman trying to overcome really suspect defenses.

DeRuyter's track record with the Air Force Falcons bodes well. But how much better can they get after finishing 104th in the country? I like their chances this season to make a fast start. I could see a 7-1 start before they get into the teeth of their schedule (finishing with OU, at Baylor Bears, Nebraska Cornhuskers and at Texas Longhorns). I'll say 8-4, which would be huge for Mike Sherman's job security.

As for Jerrod Johnson, people are talking about him. He's got prototype size, a strong arm, really nimble feet and he's very bright. Consistency is an issue, which it often is for young QBs, and he has to do a better job with avoid sacks and holding onto the ball too long. Experience figures to help remedy that to some degree. I expect his stock to rise quickly as the season progresses.

Well said. For more on the Aggies and Feldman, check out his full mailbag from earlier today.

To the readers: Thanks for bearing with the slowness during my visit to Bristol, and I'll see you again at full speed beginning next week.