Texas A&M football: Could having games pushed backed work in Aggies' favor?
It was expected, but that didn’t make it any less disappointing.
Texas A&M postponed a game for the second consecutive week Monday because of contact tracing complications.
The Aggies had 3 members (only 1 player) of their program test positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8 following their 48-3 victory against South Carolina. That forced them to postpone a Nov. 14 matchup against Tennessee. Postponing the Ole Miss game soon followed.
There was some thought that an idle week might cause the Aggies to fall in the rankings, but that wasn’t the case.
They stayed put at No. 5 in the AP poll even after an impressive win from Florida. The Gators scored 63 points against Arkansas in a game where Kyle Trask threw 6 touchdown passes. The Gators are one of A&M’s biggest threats on the path to the Playoff, though the Aggies beat them 41-38.
The good thing is the Aggies will be able to play both postponed games.
The SEC approved Dec. 19, when the conference championship will also be played, as a day for teams to make up postponed games. With A&M already set to play Tennessee on Dec. 12, the 19th seems like the inevitable makeup date for the Ole Miss game.
Believe it or not, that could actually work in the Aggies’ favor.
Yes, this is very much a “trying to make the best of a bad scenario” take, but think about it. What hurts A&M most is that it probably won’t get the chance to play in that conference title game. The College Football Playoff committee has already said how much it values conference champions.
Now the Aggies get a chance to prove themselves to the committee on the same day the championship takes place. I don’t see how that isn’t a more ideal situation than if they had played all their games as scheduled.
They’ll still be very dependent on what happens in the championship game, likely needing a Florida loss assuming the Gators make it as expected. Even with the Aggies winning the head-to-head matchup, Florida would be hard to turn away as the SEC champ. It would be equally difficult to leave the Crimson Tide out with how badly they beat A&M.
But there is still value in being fresh on the committee’s mind. Playing later gives the Aggies that benefit, and could be enough to push them ahead of a 1-loss Notre Dame team should Clemson win Round 2 with Trevor Lawrence.
A&M can’t afford to miss any more weeks and it appears to be following procedures and heading in a good direction.
We’ll get a better idea of theAggies’ chances when the first College Football Playoff ranking is released Nov. 24. Before the COVID-19 breakout, they were gaining more traction as a contender each week.
The pieces are there for this team. Kellen Mond is having his best season as a senior and recently accepted an invite to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Ainias Smith gives them a versatile weapon as a runner and receiver. The defense is giving up less and less as the year goes on.
Still, doubt remains. Fisher had an interesting response to questions this week about public opinion on how the Aggies stack up against other teams.
“Everybody has an opinion,” Fisher said. “Some guys like us and some guys don’t. That’s part of it. It’s gonna matter what you do on the field and how you do it. That’s all you can control. We’ll control what we can control and they’ll say what they say.”
Given Fisher’s philosophy, it seems like he’ll have the Aggies ready to take advantage of that opportunity when the time comes.