On the surface it all looked good in Aggieland at the end of last season. Nine wins for the first time in five years, which did much to justify giving coach Jimbo Fisher that $75 million, 10-year contract.
Four straight wins at the end of the regular season, including a 52-13 romp past old ACC foe North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl.
And a Top 5 recruiting class.
But here's the problem. Ranked ahead of A&M in recruiting were SEC playmates Alabama, LSU and Georgia.
And then there is the issue of the Aggies' schedule, which includes meeting Alabama at home in October and finishing up with road games at Georgia and LSU.
Oh, one more thing. In the second week of the season, the Aggies must travel to face defending national champion Clemson.
That would be a challenge for any team, much less a squad which lost its six top tacklers from last season.
Having said all of that, the Aggies will be a handful for everybody they face. Fisher has created an excitement in College Station that hasn't been felt in years.
The key for success will be in quarterback Kelly Mond, who got better and better with each game last season. Mond threw for more than 3000 yards last season and the Aggies' strength was in the running game.
He will have to increase production this season and the Aggie defense is going to have to come up with some fourth-quarter theatrics.
The Aggies' can survive a loss at Clemson, but they must find a way to win two of their three meetings with Alabama, Georgia and LSU.
Matching last season's 9 wins looks like a tough challenge.