Texas A&M football: Predicting the Aggies' path to the Playoff
Texas A&M moved up to No. 7 in the AP poll this week, as tangible a sign as any that the Aggies are garnering national respect.
They are the third-highest ranked team in the SEC behind Alabama and Georgia. With a favorable schedule the rest of the way, it’s very possible A&M finishes the regular season at 9-1. That could be good enough to make the College Football Playoff, if the right things happen.
What would those scenarios be?
To start, Ohio State is ranked No. 5 but has yet to play a game. One has to think that if the Buckeyes are to get in, they would need to go undefeated. Same with Penn State, which is just behind the Aggies at No. 8, or any team in the Big Ten. The conference is scheduled to start its season this week, but all teams will play only eight games.
Even if one does go undefeated, there will still be a debate between it and a one-loss SEC or ACC team.
Speaking of the ACC, A&M must hope it has an undefeated team. That will mean Clemson or Notre Dame needs to beat the other twice (assuming both make the conference championship). If they split their matchups, it could be difficult for the committee to keep either out of the Playoff.
Then there is undefeated Oklahoma State at No. 6. The Cowboys already had a game against Baylor postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests for the Bears. If the Cowboys lose a game, A&M would have a case against them as well.
What’s most important, however, is what happens within the Aggies’ own conference.
Even though there is a good possibility A&M wins out, its chances of making the SEC Championship Game are still low. For that, it would need Alabama to lose twice, as the Crimson Tide holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Florida at Georgia on Nov. 7 is the game A&M fans should be circling on their calendars.
The Aggies will need to root for the Gators in that contest, as a Florida victory would likely move them into first place in the East and put them in position to play Alabama for the conference title. Even if Florida beats Alabama in that game, the committee would still have a tough time putting them in over an A&M team they lost to.
A lot has to happen, but none of it is too crazy. The Aggies have to like the spot they are in heading into a bye week. Here’s a look at the games remaining on their schedule:
- South Carolina
- Ole Miss
There is upset potential in a couple of those games, but it would certainly be disappointing if A&M lost any of them. The Aggies have to assume they’ll finish 9-1.
They have looked a lot better in each of the past two weeks. It seems like the win against Florida ignited the program, as they continued to look dominant against Mississippi State. The defense is improving each week, and Isaiah Spiller is coming into his own as one of the best backs in the league. Don’t forget Kellen Mond.
This season isn’t the one to discount the Aggies.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher said after the victory against the Bulldogs that his team is nowhere near where it can be. There is still lots of football left, and the Aggies have plenty of opportunities for growth.
If they can stay out of their own way, this could shape up to be a pretty memorable season.