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Notre Dame or Texas A&M: Which Team Was the Bigger Disappointment in Week 2?

Both the Fighting Irish and Aggies suffered upset losses at home courtesy of Sun Belt teams.
Ahmani Marshall, Appalachian State Mountaineers Football

Appalachian State running back Ahmani Marshall helped the Mountaineers dominate Texas A&M in College Station, one of three road upsets pulled off by Sun Belt teams on Saturday.

College football's 2022 season is just two weeks old, but the on-field product has been outstanding with plenty of drama, upsets, intrigue, great games, and fantastic finishes. And as usual, the season has already produced disappointments from teams picked high or ones that entered the year with expectations of contending for a trip to the CFB Playoff. On Saturday, two teams considered a contender for the four-team playoff were stunned by opponents from the Sun Belt. Texas A&M fell 17-14 in College Station to Appalachian State, while Notre Dame lost 26-21 to Marshall. The loss to the Thundering Herd dropped the Fighting Irish to 0-2 in new coach Marcus Freeman's first season, and the Aggies fell to 1-1. 

Considering the preseason discussion around Notre Dame and Texas A&M as top 10-15 teams, Athlon Sports' editors wanted to debate after Saturday's matchups: Which team was a bigger disappointment in Week 2?

Notre Dame or Texas A&M: Which Team Was the Bigger Disappointment in Week 2?

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
There's no wrong answer here. Both teams have been a massive disappointment so far and played poorly in Week 2 losses. Since we have to pick, I'll go with Texas A&M. Appalachian State beating a ranked team isn't a surprise considering its track record, but it's how the Aggies have looked so far this season. The defense has been dominant (8.5 points a game allowed and 3.74 yards per play). But the offense has been unimaginative, lackluster and has struggled to get anything going on the ground. I expected Notre Dame's offense to have some growing pains behind a new quarterback, but Texas A&M's issues have been a bigger surprise to me. Also, there was very little progression from the opener against FCS Sam Houston to Appalachian State in Week 2. The SEC West is college football's most challenging division. After being considered a potential candidate to contend for the CFB Playoff, it's clear the Aggies have a lot of work to do.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Both are bad losses (and let's not forget Nebraska falling to Georgia Southern either), but how can it not be Texas A&M? Notre Dame also lost to a team from the S(t)un Belt but the Aggies were thoroughly out-classed by Appalachian State in their own building. Make no mistake, the Mountaineers aren't your typical Group of 5 team (ask North Carolina), but no one saw them dominating Texas A&M like this. App State outgained the Aggies (315 to 186), more than doubled them in first downs (22 to 9), produced twice as many rushing yards (181 to 89), forced two turnovers, and held onto the ball for more than two-thirds of the game (41:29). 

This was supposedly a Texas A&M team that was going to challenge Alabama in the SEC West and put together a strong case for a spot in the College Football Playoff. While there are still 10 games left on the Aggies' schedule, unless they run the table, I have a hard time seeing either of these things happening. Regardless, it won't erase what happened on Sept. 10 in College Station. Remember, in the SEC it just means more. And that certainly applies to losses like this one.

Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
While few would have predicted that Marcus Freeman would start his tenure as Notre Dame's head coach with three losses, it's still clear that Texas A&M is the bigger disappointment this season and in Week 2. The Aggies came into the season with sky-high expectations and have already fallen flat on their faces. No. 1-ranked recruiting classes sound great on paper, but in practice this team got run off the field by a team with almost no passing game. Relatedly, Jimbo Fisher has still yet to find a quarterback since coming to College Station, and it really doesn't seem like Haynes King is the guy to lead the team to a four-team playoff. Notre Dame's loss was a massive disappointment as well, but at least the Irish kept it close with Ohio State in Week 1 and are adjusting to a new coaching staff. Fisher has been building up to this season for years, and that makes this loss even more concerning.