Texas A&M football: To get in the CFP, Aggies can only wait for someone to lose
Nothing changed for Texas A&M on Tuesday.
The Aggies remained the No. 5 team in the latest College Football Playoff ranking just behind Ohio State and just ahead of Florida. It was to be expected, and it highlighted what we’ve known about this team’s title hopes all along: There’s only so much they can do.
The 2 teams A&M is sandwiched between have far more say in the Aggies’ Playoff fate.
Barring a last-minute change in league policy, if Ohio State has 1 more game canceled, it will become ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship. The committee could still put them in the Playoff, but this will become the dominant storyline: Is 5 games really enough to prove yourself championship-worthy, especially when one was a 7-point win against Indiana? Probably not.
Regardless of what happens with the Buckeyes, A&M needs Florida to lose.
As frustrating as it is, the Gators could get in over the Aggies even though A&M beat the Gators by 3 in Week 3. If Florida wins its remaining regular-season games and beats Alabama in the SEC Championship, there is no way the Gators get left out. Looks like Tennessee, LSU and the Crimson Tide will each gain some temporary fans in the coming weeks.
Clemson and Notre Dame are the last 2 teams that could potentially play a factor in A&M’s Playoff picture. Notre Dame already has clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, and Clemson can do the same with a win Saturday.
The Tigers lost at Notre Dame on Nov. 7 but were without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Another Clemson loss will eliminate the Tigers.
If Clemson beats Notre Dame in the ACC title game, however, the committee is faced with the option of putting in 2 teams from the ACC in depending on what happens with Florida. And that’s pretty much it because, let’s be honest, No. 7 Cincinnati has almost no chance to make it despite being undefeated.
Thus the Aggies need a lot of luck to get where they want to go.
Don’t get confused, they still have to win in a convincing fashion. Kellen Mond still needs to play the best football of his college career in these final 3 games. The defense needs to keep terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. They still need to leave no doubt in everyone’s mind that they belong in the Playoff with these final three games.
Then on top of all of that they need other games to fall their way.
It’s both a good and bad spot to be in. When the Aggies got rocked by Alabama in their second game of the season, they were in serious danger of falling out of the polls entirely. No one could have anticipated they would go on to beat Florida the following week and completely turn around their season. For that, they should be thankful.
At the same time, it could all be for a consolation prize.
Jimbo Fisher will say none of this matters and the Aggies simply have to focus on winning games and showing they belong. He’s right, but the team definitely looked a bit rusty in its first week back after postponing a pair of games. Perhaps if they had played better they would have jumped Ohio State, which did not play last week.
But they looked out of sorts offensively. If they fix that this week, there is still a possibility they could jump the Buckeyes with how few games OSU will have under its belt. Crazier things have happened.
But right now it appears someone else is going to have to fall on the field for the Aggies to rise in the rankings.