Sam Houston vs. Texas A&M Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: College Football Week 1 Preview
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M)
- With Miami (FL) in two weeks, Texas A&M hosts Sam Houston in a low-stakes affair in Week 1.
- Meanwhile, the Bearkats are better than expected and will basically be playing their "Super Bowl."
- Dan Keegan previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Sam Houston vs. Texas A&M Odds
A successful FCS program heads to College Station to play the new “it” team in FBS. By any mathematical means, this is a blowout.
I don’t have some secret X’s and O’s mismatch or an analytic key that says Sam Houston is going to shock the world.
I do, however, have a hunch about the mindset of these teams and think we might be able to find a play. If you don’t mind holding your nose and playing a hunch, let’s take a walk on the wild side.
I’m not predicting Sam Houston to win this game. Goodness, no. But Sam Houston is not a dime-a-dozen FCS program. They won the FCS Championship in the spring COVID 2021 season, and have routinely advanced deep in the bracket.
Head coach K.C. Keeler has a 79-22 record in his Bearkat tenure.
There is some roster turnover. They’ll be starting a new quarterback Jordan Yates — a transfer from Georgia Tech — and their workhorse tailback Ramon Jefferson transferred to Kentucky.
There is changeover, but this is a consistently excellent FCS program. So excellent, the Bearkats are moving up to the FBS and joining the C-USA next fall.
This has two ramifications.
Firstly, Sam Houston is allowed to increase its limit of scholarship players. Instead of the FCS limit of 63, the Bearkats will have 75 scholarship players. In order to meet their new ceiling, they have added 18 transfers, 14 from the FBS level.
Secondly — and this is where the hunch comes in — due to its transition out of FCS, Sam Houston is not allowed to play in the FCS Playoffs or win the WAC this season.
This game is the Bearkats’ Super Bowl. It’s a major opportunity to play an FBS powerhouse in their own state and also, is the biggest game they’ll play all year.
Think the players won’t be pumped up and play hard the whole 60 minutes, even if they’re down 28? Think the coaching staff will hold things back in the biggest game of this team’s season? For what? For conference games in a league they literally can’t win?
Nah. This is all-out, baby.
The Aggies are the complete opposite. Sure, you can dip into the coach-speak and say all 12 games on the schedule matter equally, but let’s be honest: this one is a pitstop for the Aggies.
The offense will be vanilla, the defense will be simplified and the team will rely on their overwhelming talent to secure a win.
But what happens when this is a three-score game with 11 minutes left? Will the Aggies keep pressing, or will they hold important personnel and play calls in reserve for the games that will determine the fate of their season?
Jimbo Fisher’s teams haven’t exactly lit the world on fire in their last two season openers, either. Last year, they got off to a sluggish start in their opener against Kent State, only leading 10-3 at halftime before eventually pulling away for a 41-10 win.
They covered by only one point and the under hit by a cool two touchdowns.
In the COVID 2020 season, they started at home with an overmatched Vanderbilt squad and didn’t come close to covering, winning 17-12 and cashing the under with 17 points of wiggle room.
Jimbo’s offense is slow, plodding and outdated — the unit ranked 92nd in explosive offense and 105th in plays per game last season. A low-possession game plays into the hands of an underdog.
Sam Houston vs. Texas A&M Betting Pick
So, we know the angle. This game will be closer than anticipated because of the high stakes for Sam Houston, and the low stakes for the Aggies.
A&M will use it as a glorified clinic and experiment with rotations. Jimbo will listen to the advice dispensed by Proposition Joe to Stringer Bell when he said, “keep it boring, String. Keep it dead (bleep)ing boring.”
How do we play it? That, I think, is a choose your own adventure.
I mentioned the under clearing by two scores in A&M’s previous two openers, so maybe that’s the pick for you. But Sam Houston likes to score, and my hunch is its offense will be trying to put points on the board in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I’ll take the Bearkats and the points, as I believe a backdoor cover is one of the best ways for this hunch to play out. Give me a slow start for the Aggies, then they shake off the cobwebs and take clear command of the game in the third quarter.
A better-than-you-think Bearkats team keeps pressing in the most important game they will play this season.
Meanwhile, the Aggies will mostly be trying to stay healthy and hydrated, and the final margin is in the 20s for a Sam Houston cover.
Give me the points, as long as the number is in the 30s.