'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet'

Texas A&M athletics had one of the most successful years in school history in 2006-07. But Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp thinks it's just a taste of things to come in 2007-08.

You've seen the stories and articles about A&M having such a great athletic season in 2006-2007—nine wins (including "12-7") and a Holiday Bowl appearance in football, a Sweet 16 appearance in basketball, seven Big 12 Championships and on, and on, and on.

But believe it or not, 2007-2008 has even more potential—especially in the major sports.

Football
A&M was 9-3 in the 2006 regular season, including a perfect 5-0 mark on the road. They've got 15 returning starters in 2007 and one of the best (if not the No. 1) rushing attack in the nation, which is vital for them to win at some of the hostile environments on this year's schedule.

With another year of improvement under defensive coordinator Gary Darnell, who promises a more complex scheme in 2007, the Aggies are the sleeper team of the Big 12 Conference this year.

Men's Basketball
Basketball has a new coach in Mark Turgeon, and a new point guard after the departure of NBA lottery pick Acie Law, but the A&M front court is looking scarier every day. Senior Joseph Jones, sophomore Bryan Davis and true freshman DeAndre Jordan will cause some serious headaches in the paint this year.

If Donald Sloan and Dominique Kirk can just do a decent job of filling the shoes Law leaves behind, the Aggies should have no trouble making it back to the NCAA Tournament and making another run.

Baseball
The Aggies returned to Super Regional play for the first time since 2004 this year thanks to the hard-nosed style of play that Rob Childress has brought to Olsen Field. If Blake Stouffer and David Newmann return as has been rumored, and if A&M can hold on to A&M signee Will Middlebrooks, who is debating whether or not to play pro baseball or report to A&M, then the Aggies will be even better than this year's Super Regional team, which also won the program's first Big 12 Conference Tournament title.

Women's Basketball
The Aggies claimed their first ever conference championship in women's hoops this spring and have all five starters and top seven scorers returning in 2007-08. Those starters will also be pushed by Gary Blair's two most recent recruiting classes as well, which boasts some of the top talent in the state, including the nation's all-time high school girls scoring leader, Adrian McGowen.

This year's senior class is the most talented to ever come through the program and they'll want to go out with a bang.

Soccer
If there's any team on the A&M campus that you should never be concerned about having a bad year, it's the Aggie soccer team. All they know how to do is win—three regular season Big 12 titles in a row to be exact. They were the only team to defeat national champion North Carolina last year and they almost repeated that feat in the Elite 8 in Gary, NC

The Aggies have two of their top offensive weapons back in seniors Melissa Garey and Ashlee Pistorius. They also will not have a freshman in goal anymore, which is a big plus on defense. They'll be picked to win the conference again and will make noise in the NCAA Tournament.

Softball
The Texas A&M softball team returned to the College World series for the first time in 20 years and it will have nearly all of its key players back in 2008 for their senior year. The only two starters who aren't returning are second baseman Joy Davis and centerfielder Sharonda McDonald. McDonald's speed will be missed in the leadoff spot, but the Aggies will still have Megan Gibson and Amanda Scarborough on the rubber, which is bad news for the rest of the Big 12.

Volleyball
The only questionable team of the main sports at A&M is the Aggie volleyball team. They will depend on developing younger players who learned a lot last year in a trial by fire setting. They had to throw freshman Courtnee Rhodes into the setter position as a freshman last year because of injuries and she struggled. But coaches think she learned a lot from the experience as a freshman and hope that she'll be a key contributor in 2007.

It won't get any easier this year for the Aggies though, as the Big 12 Conference has really elevated its status in volleyball the last two seasons. Oklahoma went from a conference bottom feeder to top-four last year, winning at G Rollie White Coliseum for the first time ever in 2006. Nebraska won the national title in 2006 and Texas is going to be salty again as well.

Track and Field
Texas A&M track coach Pat Henry has already begun making a name for himself in the Lone Star State with women's indoor and outdoor conference championships in 2006-07. The Aggies finished fourth at the national outdoor championships as well and they'll return nearly all of their key athletes in 2007-08, as well as adding in more of the nation's top recruits.

They'll be a strong contender for national titles this year and will probably have several banners ready to be hung in the new indoor track facility before it's even completed.




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