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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Texas A&M future power rankings

By Sam Khan Jr.

It's a good time to be an Aggie. Considering where Texas A&M was in late 2011 -- in the midst of a 7-6 season, one in which the Aggies began the season ranked in the preseason top 10, in the middle of a coaching change and with the whole world wondering whether they knew what they got themselves into by going to the SEC -- things right now look pretty darn good.

After an 11-2 debut season as an SEC member, a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, a dominating win over Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and a top-10 recruiting class in 2013, Texas A&M has picked up a ton of momentum and appears to be at the beginning stages of realizing the potential that lay in College Station, Texas, all along.

Coach Kevin Sumlin is considered to be one of the best in the country at his profession, the Aggies have arguably college football's best player returning and a high preseason ranking likely awaits them come fall. Another double-digit win season could go a long way toward establishing long-term momentum and a foundation for sustained success, which is by no means easy in the SEC.

The Aggies will rise if: they can continue ascending by building off last year's success. That means an improved Johnny Manziel and more of his supporting cast stepping up (like many did last season) to establish themselves as viable weapons that also deserve attention. Continuing to win big games against big programs, like the Aggies did at Alabama last season, will help push the program forward. That also means finding ways to win tough road games, like the one they have late in the season at LSU. And the Aggies will need to continue recruiting at a high level. After having the No. 8 class nationally last year, the Aggies are currently No. 2 in the 2014 RecruitingNation class rankings.

The Aggies will fall if: they lose sight of what got them to where they are. Sumlin talked recently about the team being able to hit "the reset button," and leaving last season's success in the past. If the Aggies conduct themselves in a manner that suggests they can show up and win simply because they were one of college football's top teams in 2012, the SEC has a rude awakening for them.

This season is crucial for sustaining long-term success because if Texas A&M takes a significant step back, some outsiders will look at the program as if 2012 was a one-time occasion. That won't help recruiting either, if players don't feel the Aggies will annually compete with the best in the SEC and the best in the country.