A path does exist for which Texas A&M football can work their way more firmly into the College Football Playoff conversation in the next few weeks.
The long and winding road of the 2020 college football season is coming to a head for head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M football program, in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The SEC (not unlike any other Power Five conference) had its fair share of delays and impactful events on the timeline of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 breakouts and issues.
But one of the emerging positive storylines for the SEC is the rise of the Aggies. And the rise of the Aggies largely flew under the radar both in the SEC and across the entire college football landscape up to this point. Texas A&M is now 5-1 (5-1 SEC) on the season so far, holding the fifth spot in this week’s AP Poll.
It will be interesting to see where Texas A&M falls in line in the first set of College Football Playoff rankings this week.
Moreover, Texas A&M is now getting out of a double bye week due in part to COVID-19 related issues. There were too many cases roughly two weeks ago for the Tennessee Volunteers to face Texas A&M in mid-November. That game was rescheduled to take place next month, on Dec. 12.
Texas A&M also has the improving LSU Tigers and No. 22 Auburn Tigers remaining before the cap to their regular-season slate. Their last game resulted in a 48-3 drubbing at the hands of now-former head coach Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Given where the Aggies sit in the current AP Poll and that they still have a slight shot to make an appearance in the SEC Championship Game, they’re definitely not out of the College Football Playoff conversation at this point in time.
How Texas A&M football gets into CFP
Obviously, the Aggies will have to win out if they want to make it into the College Football Playoff field. A team in Texas A&M’s position does need to see a lot of chaos transpire around them. If Fisher can get the Aggies to win out, with some chaos around them in the SEC in the next couple of weeks, they have a shot to work their way further into the Playoff conversation.
More specifically, Fisher needs to see either the Alabama Crimson Tide slip up, or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and/or Clemson Tigers lose one more game than they’re expected to before the end of the regular season. The four teams ranked ahead of Texas A&M (in order from top-to-bottom) are the Crimson Tide, Notre Dame, Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson.
A two-loss Notre Dame would fall out of the Playoff conversation. If Notre Dame beats Clemson if that is the matchup in the ACC Championship Game, then that could also open up another path for the Aggies to get into the four-team field.
The conversation also becomes more interesting if Alabama loses to the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship Game. The lone loss on the season for the Gators came to the Aggies. That would then make Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama, all have one loss to another one of those teams.
And to put it simply, chaos taking place in the Big Ten (knocking off a team like Ohio State) could do the trick to open up one more path for Texas A&M to get more firmly into the Playoff conversation. There’s a lot of ways this could open up for Fisher and it will be intriguing to see the first release of the College Football Playoff Rankings later this week.