Texas A&M has a lot to be hopeful for after the 2012-13 campaign.
The Aggies posted an 11-2 record last season while beating Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.
That included a stunning victory over eventual national champion Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
But how will the Aggies fare this season?
Here's a breakdown of each matchup on the schedule, complete with my predictions.
Rice (Aug. 31)
It would be a surprise if Texas A&M loses to Rice to start its 2013 campaign. The Owls went 7-6 last season, allowing 30 points per game in the C-USA. Considering the Aggies averaged 44.5 points in the big and bad SEC, this one could get ugly.
Sam Houston State (Sept. 7)
Sam Houston State went 11-4 last season. That being said, it was in the Southland Conference. One of those losses was a 47-28 defeat to Texas A&M, in which Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 100 yards and two scores. Excuse me if I'm not giving the Bearkats much of a chance in this one.
Alabama (Sept. 14)
Ah, yes. This is more like it. Manziel and the Aggies shocked eventual national champion Alabama in November last year, 29-24. Manziel was truly sensational in that game, throwing for 253 yards and two scores while rushing for 92 yards against arguably the nation's best defense. That being said, it's hard to beat a team like Alabama back-to-back and the Crimson Tide have once again reloaded this offseason. I don't like the Aggies' chances in this one.
SMU (Sept. 21)
SMU allowed 25.7 points per game in the C-USA last season. When the Mustangs faced Texas A&M in September, they got trampled, 48-3. Manziel threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 124 yards and another two scores. Sorry, SMU. You lose.
Arkansas (Sept. 28)
Arkansas has taken a bit of a step back as a program in recent years, to say the least. Following the Bobby Petrino scandal, the Razorbacks went 4-8 last season, ranked 91st in the nation in points per game and 83rd in points allowed per game. Texas A&M should be able to pull this one off in Fayetteville.
Ole Miss (Oct. 12)
Ole Miss is a very interesting program right now. Hugh Freeze put in place a dynamic offense (ranked 47th in the nation in points per game) last season and the Rebels showed signs of turning things around. Then the Rebels scored a coup in the offseason, landing the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation, per 247Sports.com. That being said, it's going to be a couple of years before that recruiting class can really help the Rebels soar in the big and bad SEC. Give Ole Miss another year and it should be challenging some top programs. Until then, Texas A&M wins.
Auburn (Oct. 19)
Auburn has taken an absolute nosedive since its national championship in 2010, but it was frankly astonishing that the Tigers landed the No. 13 recruiting class in the nation this offseason. Still, this program has a long ways to go before challenging some of the top teams in the nation. The 49-0 beatdown at the hands of Alabama to end last season was hard to watch. Texas A&M wins.
Vanderbilt (Oct. 26)
While Vanderbilt had a solid bounce-back campaign last season (9-4), it's worth noting the Commodores lost to the only three ranked teams they played: South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The losses to Georgia and Florida were blowouts. Vanderbilt is a decent team, but can't stack up to the Aggies at this point.
UTEP (Nov. 2)
UTEP went 3-9 in the C-USA last season. Need I say more? The Miners ranked 102nd in points per game and 78th in points allowed per contest. They lost to ranked Oklahoma to start the campaign, 24-7. Texas A&M should win this one in a blowout.
Mississippi State (Nov. 9)
Mississippi State isn't getting much love this season after flailing down the stretch last season. The Bulldogs lost five of their last six games during that stretch, including a 34-20 defeat to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs also lost to Texas A&M in November, 38-13. Call me crazy, but I don't think Texas A&M is going to have any problem with Mississippi State this season.
LSU (Nov. 23)
LSU handed Texas A&M one of its two losses last season. That being said, no one lost more talent on the defensive side of the ball to the NFL draft than LSU, as 11 players declared early. Among those players were defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, inside linebacker Kevin Minter, safety Eric Reid and cornerback Tharold Simon. LSU doesn't figure to replicate its 10-3 season from last year—that includes losing to the Aggies in Baton Rouge.
Missouri (Nov. 30)
Missouri ranked 82nd in points per game and 68th in points allowed per game last season while going 5-7. That included a 59-29 loss to Texas A&M in which the Aggies posted 647 total yards. Nothing about Missouri suggests the outcome will be different this season. Expect Texas A&M to go 11-1 before bowl season.