Following Texas A&M's 45-41 upset loss to Auburn two weeks ago, the entire program's postseason plans were derailed. National championship? Not a chance. BCS bowl? Highly unlikely.
Not so fast.
Sitting at No. 12 in the current BCS standings, Texas A&M stands as the highest-ranked two-loss team in the country, and considering the Aggies' future schedule and the national landscape shakeup rolling in over the next couple of weeks, A&M is set up to lock itself into the BCS for the first time since 1998.
|Nov. 9||Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State||Kyle Field|
|Nov. 23||Texas A&M @ No. 13 LSU||Tiger Stadium|
|Nov. 30||Texas A&M @ No. 9 Missouri||Memorial Stadium|
Considering A&M's remaining schedule, a 3-0 sweep of Mississippi State, LSU and Missouri would serve to propel the Aggies into the top eight of the BCS, with just a little help from outside losses.
This weekend, No. 7 Miami suffered its first loss of the season, falling at Florida State 41-14. This upcoming Thursday, sixth-ranked Baylor hosts No. 10 Oklahoma while No. 5 Stanford looks to knock off second-ranked Oregon. With No. 9 Missouri's loss to A&M, at least four teams ranked above the Aggies are vulnerable to drop, leaving an opening for the two-loss squad to fit itself into any BCS conversation.
Currently, the only rule hurting A&M is the BCS limit of two teams per conference, and with top-ranked Alabama en route to another national title and No. 11 Auburn hovering just above A&M, any chance of slipping past either will be difficult.
Except Auburn still must play Alabama, to close the season no less, in what will be a highly anticipated Iron Bowl. Assuming the Tigers fall to the Crimson Tide just as almost everyone else has in three of the last four seasons, Auburn will stumble behind the Aggies in the rankings.
Even with the win at Kyle Field, Auburn will have a tough time out-pacing A&M down the stretch in terms of attraction. Why?
Two words—Johnny Manziel.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has been uncontainable this season thus far, and his big-play ability is unmatched in the FBS. The marketability and attraction attached to Manziel's name alone could be enough to jump-start the engine on A&M's BCS hopes, as long as the Aggies remain with just two losses.
Furthermore, with this season being the redshirt sophomore's third collegiate year, the NFL may be a powerful enough motive for the quarterback to take his talents to the professional level, making any bowl game the Aggies play in this season his last of his collegiate career.
Talk about magnetism. No BCS bowl in its right mind would pass on a two-loss A&M squad with Manziel at the helm. Unfortunately for Auburn, that may be just how the cards fall this postseason.