HOOVER, Ala. -- How good was Texas A&M last year?
It depends on the stage of the season.
Texas A&M had the nation's most impressive opener, traveling to South Carolina and thumping the No. 9 Gamecocks 52-28. Quarterback Kenny Hill catapulted himself into the Heisman Trophy race as the Aggies raced out to a 5-0 record, with the fifth triumph being a 35-28 overtime escape of Arkansas.
Then the bottom dropped out, as Texas A&M lost handily to Mississippi State (48-31), Ole Miss (35-20) and Alabama (59-0). A November upset of No. 3 Auburn and a Liberty Bowl triumph over West Virginia left the Aggies with an 8-5 record and a feeling of "What just happened?"
"Obviously we sputtered out a little bit, but you learn from your mistakes," Aggies senior center Mike Matthews said Tuesday at SEC Media Days.