One outlet picks the Aggies to make a hypothetical 2019 NCAA football tournament and to face an old foe in the first round
Every year, the NCAA basketball tournament introduces a "What if" aspect to the college football equation...as in what would the football playoffs look like they were expanded from four teams to eight or even a 16 team field? There's already a lot of momentum building towards an expanded eight team playoff so Bleacher Report went one step further and ran a 16 team tournament for the 2019 college football season. The field not only included all five conference champions from the Power 5 leagues but also the conference champions from the Group of Five programs. That left six at large teams with all of them coming from Power 5 conferences. The Southeastern Conference was projected to nab four spots overall (one conference title, three at large teams) with Texas A&M being one of the at large teams (Alabama was picked to win the league while LSU and Georgia were expected to join the Aggies as at large selections).
Bleacher Report used geography, conference affiliation and non conference schedules into account to build the opening-round matchups with seeds one through eight hosting the first set of games. The Aggies would find themselves on the road as the 11th seen against the sixth seeded Texas Longhorns which is a matchup that a lot of college football fans would like to see but not necessarily fans of the schools themselves. Here's how Bleacher Report sees it playing out.
The Jimbo Fisher era started off well in College Station considering the low expectations for the Texas A&M Aggies in 2018. They're tough to shake because of their defensive talent and discipline, but they need more consistency on both sides of the ball. They're a candidate, however, to continue ascending and be a force in 2019.
Their rival Longhorns are one step ahead in the process. Head coach Tom Herman has done an excellent job of replenishing the well and building an effective offense. If we see another jump from quarterback Sam Ehlinger and this offense, Herman will have his Longhorns advancing far.
Texas would survive this battle thanks to its more established identity and its consistency.
It's interesting that Bleacher Report states that the Horns are more consistent given that they lost to Maryland and Oklahoma State while beating Georgia and Oklahoma last season while the Aggies lost to Alabama, Clemson, Mississippi State, and Auburn and their wins included defeats of top 12 programs Kentucky and LSU.
Here's the field with Clemson being picked to repeat as national champions.
No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 16 Western Michigan
No. 8 Washington vs. No. 9 Utah State
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 13 Michigan
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Cincinnati
No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Texas A&M
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 14 Appalachian State
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 LSU
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 15 North Texas