There's only one week of regular season Texas A&M football left for the 2015 season. A shot at a 10 win season for the Aggies is on the line in Baton Rouge this Saturday, and quite likely, so are the bowl destinations for each team.
Can Texas A&M still get to a New Year's Day bowl?
No. Unless you want to know why, skip to the next section in the article.
At this point we know that Florida has locked up the SEC East, and unless Auburn beats Alabama, and Ole Miss wins their game, Alabama will be the SEC West representative in the SEC Championship game. If Alabama wins they're heading to the college football playoffs, which guarantees Florida a spot in either the SEC's #1 or #2 bowl tie-ins.
Determining the other New Year's Day team depends a lot on how Ole Miss does against Mississippi State this Saturday. If Ole Miss wins they'll finish the season with the SEC's third best conference record at 6-2, guaranteeing them a New Year's Day bowl spot. If Ole Miss loses, then the SEC Standings may have six teams all tied for 3rd place in the conference with 5-3 conference records
- Georgia (5-3 SEC, 9-3 or 8-4 overall after Georgia Tech)
- Tennessee (5-3 SEC, 8-4 overall with a win over Vanderbilt)
- Ole Miss (5-3 SEC, 8-4 overall with a loss to MSU)
- Arkansas (5-3 SEC, 7-5 overall with a win over Missouri)
- Mississippi State (5-3 SEC, 9-3 overall with a win over Ole Miss)
- Texas A&M (5-3 SEC, 9-3 overall with a win over LSU)
If Florida goes to the Sugar Bowl, then the Citrus Bowl gets to choose which of those six teams it wants on New Year's Day. If the situation above plays out, assuming Georgia beats Georgia Tech, then Texas A&M, Georgia, and Miss St. would have the best overall records in the group.
The Citrus Bowl isn't obligated to pick the team with the best overall record, so it's likely that they'll pick the team with the highest College Football Playoff ranking. In this case, since this entire scenario depends on Mississippi State beating Ole Miss, and since Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the only two teams in the group that are currently ranked, it's likely that Mississippi State will be the team facing a Big 10 opponent in the Citrus Bowl.
Which bowl game does Texas A&M go to based on current projections?
Since Texas A&M would fall into the "Pool of Six" bowls, the Conference, in consultation with the institutions and the bowls, will make the assignments for the Outback, TaxSlayer, Music City, Texas, Belk and Liberty bowl games from all eligible SEC teams. Here are the opponent conference tie-ins for each of the SEC's 2015 "Pool of Six" bowls:
|TaxSlayer||ACC or Big 10|
|Music City||ACC or Big 10|
Of these six, there are two that can likely be ruled out immediately:
- Outback Bowl: Since this game goes against Big Ten #2-4, it's likely going to fall to one of the top two ranked teams in the group. That will likely limit the teams who can get there to Florida/Georgia/Miss St./Ole Miss/LSU. The only other team that probably has a shot for this is Arkansas, as they've shown a lot of growth down the stretch this year.
- Liberty Bowl: Conferences try to avoid sending teams to repeat bowls when possible, so we shouldn't end up here.
Working with the same logic to rule out the Liberty Bowl, here are the teams that played in each of the four remaining bowls during the 2014-15 bowl season:
- Belk: Georgia vs. Louisville
- Texas: Arkansas vs. Texas
- Music City: LSU vs. Notre Dame
- TaxSlayer: Tennessee vs. Iowa
|Bowl Game||Opponent||Predicted by||Site|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Stewart Mandel||Fox Sports|
|Texas||West Virginia||Brett McMurphy||ESPN|
|Music City||Louisville||Mark Schlabach||ESPN|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Jason Kirk||SBNation|
|Belk||Virginia Tech||Jerry Palm||CBS Sports|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Brian Fischer||Bleacher Report|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Pete Fiutak||Campus Insiders|
|Texas||West Virginia||Erick Smith||USA Today|
|Liberty||Texas Tech||Brant Parsons||Orlando Sentinel|
|Texas||West Virginia||Kevin Trahan||Vice Sports|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Brad Crawford||Saturday Down South|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Bill Bender||Sporting News|
|Texas||Texas Tech||Steven Lassan||Athlon Sports|
A majority of outlets are putting Texas A&M in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl. Since the Texas Bowl picks a Big 12 team after the Alamo and Russell Athletic bowls, it's possible that they'll only have two bowl eligible teams to choose between: Texas Tech & West Virginia. Having a team in the bowl that has fans located nearby is always the right idea, so I don't think Advocare will be passing up on Texas Tech for this one.
Based on last year's bowl games and this year's projections, the two SEC teams that would be the best fit for the Texas Bowl would be Texas A&M and LSU. It's like that the loser of the Texas A&M vs. LSU game this weekend will be suiting up for their bowl in Houston on December 29th, as both teams have large fan bases in the region. An A&M win would likely push them towards a Belk or Music City bowl, while an LSU win will edge them towards either a Belk or TaxSlayer bowl.
Since this article promised a prediction, and since LSU looks like they have the edge against A&M on paper, Texas A&M's 2015 bowl destination is most likely: The Advocare V100 Texas Bowl vs. Texas Tech
Bowl projections from Good Bull Hunting authors:
|Lucas Jackson||Texas||Texas Tech|
|Robert Behrens||TaxSlayer||Penn State|