Texas A&M vs. Auburn: SEC clash! Analysis, predictions, and key insights for college football fans. Will Texas A&M prevail?
In a much-anticipated showdown, Texas A&M and Auburn are gearing up to ignite their SEC West rivalry as they kick off the conference play for the 2023 college football season. Both teams are coming in with a boost of momentum after dominating nonconference opponents in Week 3. Texas A&M secured a victory against ULM, while Auburn handled business against Samford. As two teams that struggled in the division last year, they are now set to face each other, seeking to gain early momentum within the conference.
For Auburn, the 2023 season marks a new beginning under coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze, a proven winner in the SEC during his tenure at Ole Miss from 2012-16, faces the challenge of rejuvenating an Auburn program that went through a tumultuous period under former coach Bryan Harsin. Harsin was let go last October after less than two seasons on the job. Auburn’s early season under Freeze has included a hard-fought 14-10 victory at Cal, signaling a promising start for a team that finished 5-7 overall last year.
On the other side of the field, Texas A&M is striving for success under coach Jimbo Fisher, now in his sixth season. Despite Fisher’s impressive contract featuring a hefty $75 million buyout, the pressure has been mounting due to recent results. The Aggies suffered a road loss to Miami in Week 2, adding to the scrutiny. Failing to overcome a rebuilding Auburn team at home could intensify the heat on Fisher.
Let’s delve deeper into this much-anticipated SEC clash in College Station, Texas.
Key Points for the Texas A&M vs. Auburn Matchup
Auburn’s Defensive Identity: This game will provide further insight into the direction Auburn is taking under Hugh Freeze in his debut season. So far, Auburn’s defense has been exceptional, limiting opponents to just 155 passing yards and 12.33 points per game, ranking in the top 20 nationally. However, they face a stern test in containing Texas A&M quarterback Conner Weigman and the revamped Aggies’ offense under coordinator Bobby Petrino. On the offensive front, Auburn’s rushing attack has excelled, ranking 18th nationally with an average of 215.7 rushing yards. In contrast, their passing game, led by Michigan State transfer quarterback Payton Thorne, has struggled, ranking 89th with 212.3 passing yards and five touchdowns.
Aggies’ Defensive Concerns: Despite the talent on the Texas A&M roster, there are concerns, particularly in the secondary. The Aggies’ defense was exposed during their Week 2 loss to Miami when they allowed 374 passing yards and five touchdowns. Furthermore, Texas A&M struggled to generate consistent pass rush in that defeat, raising doubts about their defensive capabilities. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s unit had a breather against ULM in Week 3, but questions remain regarding their performance in SEC play. If Auburn’s passing offense, which currently ranks in the lower half of the FBS, tests Texas A&M’s defense, it could trigger concerns among Aggies’ fans.
Jimbo Fisher’s Challenge: While this game might not be a “must-win” for Jimbo Fisher, losing the SEC opener at home as a touchdown favorite could add more pressure to his already scrutinized position. Fisher’s record of 41-22 in 63 games as Texas A&M’s coach is relatively comparable to his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, who posted a 44-19 record over the same span before his dismissal following a 7-5 finish in Year 6. With Texas A&M’s offense showing improvement and the SEC West looking wide open, Fisher’s team needs to capitalize on every opportunity this year.
How to Watch Texas A&M vs. Auburn Live:
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
- Time: Noon ET
- Location: Kyle Field — College Station, Texas
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: fubo (Try for free)
Prediction and Pick: Texas A&M -7.5 While predicting the exact outcome of this game is tricky, Texas A&M holds a clear advantage in the passing game with Weigman at the helm. If they can provide adequate protection for their quarterback, the Aggies have reason to be confident. Auburn is expected to keep the game competitive, but in the end, Texas A&M is predicted to secure a narrow victory and cover the spread, moving to a 3-1 record.