Who Could Texas A&M Face in Bowl Season?
COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M wanted to finish the season strong. Instead, early offensive struggles led to the team falling to both Georgia and LSU, finishing the season with a pair of losses.
The Aggies (7-5, 4-4 SEC) still will be heading into bowl season with following their four-game winning streak earlier this season. The team finished with the seventh record in conference play, placing them right in the middle among bowl-eligible teams. Depending on how the committee feels, A&M still could be in the running for a New Year's Day showcase.
Four games seem to be the most likely destination for the Aggies come Selection Sunday. Should they make the cut to play in 2020, they'll likely face an opponent from the Big 10 Conference. If they play in late December, it's probably against a roster from the Big 12.
A&M will have to sit and wait to learn where they're headed, but here are several teams they could face in their final game of the year
The Cowboys (8-4, 5-4 Big 12) finished the year with a loss to No.7 Oklahoma in the Battle of Bedlam. Now out of the Top 25, State could be heading to lesser bowl game played just after the holiday season. Mike Gundy's squad also suffered losses to opponents such as Texas and Texas Tech, hurting their resume overall.
A matchup between the Cowboys and Aggies could be intriguing. State has relied on their run game to carry the load, featuring future NFL star Chuba Hubbard. The sophomore led the conference with 1,936 yards and 21 touchdowns on his way to a Doak Walker finalist appearance.
With both teams ending the season on a sour note, a date in December at NRG Stadium could be possible.
Bowl Game: Texas Bowl
The matchup everyone should be hoping for could make its return this December. Both schools from the Lone Star State started the season off as contenders for the College Football Playoff. Instead, losses to Top 10 opponents cost them successful years.
The Longhorns (7-5, 5-4 Big 12) finished the year on a positive note with their 49-24 victory against Texas Tech. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger finished second in the conference in passing yards (3,462) despite losing several receivers throughout the process. The defensive struggles helped Texas lose outings to teams such as Iowa State and TCU.
The Lone Star Rivalry was a must-see event for over a century on Thanksgiving. Since the move to the SEC, the Aggies have yet to face their in-state rival on the football field. The selection committee could place both these two in Houston and bring nostalgia back to those who grew up loving the yearly tradition.
The question is, will A&M finally agree to play them?
Bowl Game: Texas Bowl
No.12 PENN STATE
The Big 10 will be tricky as five teams are likely vying for four spots at the start of the new year. The Nittany Lions could be the one roster with the best chance to improve their overall stock.
Penn State's (10-2 7-2 Big 10) only losses came to Ohio State and Minnesota. One is likely headed to the College Football Playoff while the other just missed out on playing the Buckeyes this coming weekend. Overall, the Nittany Lions produced a strong resume with wins over Michigan and Iowa to close out their year on a positive note.
The committee could send either Penn State or Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl as the conference's representative. The other likely receive consideration for an at-large bid. Barring any changes, one team could face an SEC opponent in a game in Florida. Depending on Wisconsin's play in Indianapolis, A&M could face James Franklin's squad.
Bowl game: Gator Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl
The Golden Gophers (10-2, 7-2 Big 10) shocked the college football world with their success this year. PJ Fleck took a roster of lesser-known players to pick up impressive wins against teams such as Penn State. If not from a promising outing from Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, Minnesota likely would face Ohio State this weekend.
The Gophers are likely out of consideration for New Year's Six Bowl following the loss for the Paul Bunyan trophy. They still should be considered for a bigger bowl game as one of the top teams in the conference. A date in Florida is likely where they will end, but the location is still up for grabs.
A&M could be an opponent Minnesota faces should the committee vote for an SEC/Big 10 battle.
Bowl Game: Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl, Citrus Bowl
Something about the Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh just isn't adding up. With a chance to spoil Ohio State's perfect season, Michigan (9-3, 6-3 Big 10) allowed J.K. Dobbins to have a career day at "The Big House" on the way to a 56-27 victory.
Three loses all but takes the Wolverines out of the conversation for a New Year's Six outing. Still, fifth in the conference should have a New Year's Day bowl intact. Shea Patterson led the Wolverines' offense with 2,828 passing yards and the team still picked up quality wins against teams such as Indiana and Iowa.
Michigan will face an SEC opponent. Expect the decision to come down to either the Aggies or Tennessee. Location is the only thing left for the selection committee to decide.
Bowl Games: Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl
The Hawkeyes (9-3, 6-3 Big 10) are much like Michigan in the sense of getting over the hump. They'll always contend for New Year's Six appearances yearly, but it's hard to think of them as playoff contenders.
With losses to Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin, Kirk Ferentz's squad is likely in the lesser category. Still potentially in play for a lower game on the New Year, Iowa should return to Florida for the fourth time in six years.
Perhaps the last team to make the cut, A&M could be in a similar situation. Both schools have struggled against ranked opponents, so a date in the Sunshine State could be possible.
Bowl Game: Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl