Up next for Gators: Texas A&M Aggies
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas.
Last year: Texas A&M knew heading into the season that the schedule would be a bear. And it was. The Aggies played five teams who were ranked in the top 10 and lost to all five. The good news was that they beat the teams they were supposed to, including Oklahoma State in the bowl game and finished with an 8-5 record. A&M expects more out of a coach getting a billion dollars (slight exaggeration) than a team that finishes eighth in offense and eighth in defense in the SEC.
Outlook for 2020: If you listened to any of the broadcasts of Texas A&M games last year, you heard the announcers consistently talking about how this would be the season for the Aggies. Coach Jimbo Fisher has a boatload of seniors and a veteran quarterback to lead this team, But so far, it hasn't gone as expected for Fisher. The Aggies struggled to beat Vanderbilt in the home opener 17-12 and weren't competitive being outscored in every quarter at Alabama.
Best offensive player: Kellen Mond was a lot of people's preseason choice for the SEC's best quarterback. But with the loss to Alabama he is now 2-10 against ranked opponents. Mond has only rushed for 37 yards in two games but has thrown for four touchdowns, He also has a pick-six on his resume this season. Mond has to play better for A&M to remain among the ranked teams in America.
Best defensive player: The Aggies have high expectations for sophomore DeMarvin Leal, one of those recruits they snatched away from Alabama. He was injured for the early part of the season as a freshman, but they liked what they saw during the five games he was able to play (38 tackles, two sacks). Leal is 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds. So far this season, he already has an interception he returned 43 yards and seven tackles.
Fun fact: Florida and Texas A&M had only met twice before the Aggies joined the league and have met only twice since then. Florida won the first game A&M ever played as a member of the SEC in 2012 and A&M faced the Gators in their camouflage uniforms in Gainesville. The combined score of those games? Florida 37, A&M 36.
Quote: "It's the most (preseason) optimism we've seen around this program since the year Johnny Manziel was coming off his Heisman (2013). This team has a nice mix of proven experience to go with speed and athleticism of the recruiting class. The schedule got a lot harder than it was supposed to be, but the Aggies have a chance to contend for a championship." — Olin Buchanan, TexAgs.com