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Does Getting To 10 Wins Mean Anything For Texas A&M?

Getting to double-digit wins means something for Texas A&M
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Texas A&M is on the verge of a 10-win season. Well, the Aggies still need two more wins.

And two games remain – at LSU on Saturday and the expected bowl invite.

So what does it mean to get to double digits? Especially in a season the Aggies expected to contend for a spot College Football Playoff.

Considering that’s not gonna happen, it can be argued that it’s been a disappointing campaign no matter what the final record is. Why argue the merits of 10-3 or 9-4 or even 8-5?

In any of those cases, the Aggies didn’t accomplish what they or their passionate fanbase hoped in 2021. Well, there are merits to 10 wins.

Not as an end-all, be-all for a successful season. In the grand scheme, the final number of wins or rankings won’t have any tangible impact on recruiting. (Jimbo Fisher is putting together a class that may be college football’s best.) It won’t impact the employment status of any coaches or ticket sales next year.

No, 10 wins is about symbolism and tradition, two core traits at Texas A&M. Getting to 10 connects with the past and serves as an easily identifiable marker that the program is on the right track.

Texas A&M has reached double digits in wins just once since joining the SEC. That magical first year of Johnny Football was also the Aggies’ first in football’s best league this side of the NFL. The Aggies went 11-2 in 2012, capped with a rout of former Big 12 mate Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and a No. 5 final ranking.

The die appeared to be cast for a dominant run a decade ago. Of course autographs and Kevin Sumlin happened, and the momentum soon dissolved into a run of mundane 8-win seasons.

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But those 11 wins stand out. It’s easy to point to that Manziel-led bunch as the A&M’s best this century. Until last season, of course, when the Aggies went 9-1 and would have likely reached 10 or more victories if not for the pandemic.

Ten wins have long served as the standard for a very good-to-great season. The Aggies used to get to that magical number with some consistency. From 1985-98, under the regimes of Jackie Sherrill and R.C. Slocum, Texas A&M won at least 10 seven times.

To put that in some perspective, the program only did that four times from its inception in 1903 to ‘84. (Of course, college football used to play far few games back in the day. A&M didn’t play its first 11-game regular season until 1970.)

Still, getting to 10 means something. Even after a season that didn’t go as planned.

“It's like boxing,” defensive back Leon O’Neal Jr. said Saturday after blowing out Prairie View A&M. “That's what life is; you take some hits. You get knocked down. At the end of the day, you've still got to get up and keep fighting. Got to get up and keep fighting.

“I think we've got a lot to fight for now. We can have a 10‑win season.”

The Aggies need to beat LSU and a bowl opponent to make that happen. Without specifically pointing to double figures, Fisher understands the symbolic significance of 10 for the state of the program.

“Now we've got one game left to play against LSU on the road,” he said. “Very tough game. Going to have a great week of practice, great week of prep, finish this season the right way, and still have a tremendous season for what we we’re trying to do.

“And see where we go in the bowl game after that.”