Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, NCAA, College Football Playoffs, sports

For Longhorns and Aggies, opportunities remain to be CFP factors

By CHUCK CARLTON, The Dallas Morning News
Posted 9/8/19

At least fans of Texas and Texas A&M could take pleasure in the other’s misfortune last weekend.

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Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, NCAA, College Football Playoffs, sports

For Longhorns and Aggies, opportunities remain to be CFP factors

Posted

At least fans of Texas and Texas A&M could take pleasure in the other’s misfortune last weekend.

Of course, schadenfreude goes only so far in college football.

A&M’s 24-10 loss at No. 1 Clemson and Texas’ 45-38 loss at home to LSU dampened all the preseason optimism that surrounded each school heading into this season.

The voters in the AP Top 25 took notice last Sunday. Texas fell three spots No. 12 and A&M went from 12th to 16th.

If they haven’t already, fully expect Texas coach Tom Herman and A&M counterpart Jimbo Fisher to remind their players (and fan bases) this week that enough time and enough games and enough resume-building opportunities remain for things to change.

Look no further than the first two seasons of the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State famously fell at Virginia Tech in Week 2 of the 2014 season—part of a horrible start for the Big Ten—and rebounded to win the CFP title at AT&T Stadium. A year later, Alabama got torched by Chad Kelly and Ole Miss in September and were celebrating in Glendale, Ariz.

Yes, it can be done. It’s just not easy.

“I feel like we’ll come back stronger,” A&M quarterback Kellen Mond said.

If nothing else, A&M will have plenty more opportunities to erase memories of what happened in Death Valley. With LSU’s win over Texas, the Aggies are now scheduled to face the Nos. 2-3-4 teams in the AP poll in addition to Clemson. A&M could rise as quickly as it fell.

Texas’ schedule isn’t as loaded in the Big 12, although two potential meetings with No. 5 Oklahoma could be quite a boost.

“I know this team is going to stay together because we all know what the big picture is and we all know what we want at the end of the day,” Texas defensive lineman Malcolm Roach said. “We can’t let this game end our season. It’s not a one-game season. ... You guys hyped it up like it was a one-game season. We’ve got a whole season to play.”

For Texas and A&M to bounce back, it’s more than mindset and slogans.

In some ways, the big things that went wrong for the two teams were kind of mirror images.

The Aggies held Clemson to its lowest point total since the loss to Alabama in the national championship game after the 2017 season. And that was with quarterback Trevor Lawrence playing up to his all-world potential in the first half.

But it was Mond whose combination of development and tantalizing upside was the X-factor that made people believe A&M could navigate its schedule. Instead, he went 5 of 14 for 41 yards in the first half. Will he bounce back? He’s too talented not to, but plenty of elite defenses remain on the schedule.

Texas helped make LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and the new-look Tiger spread offense one of the big stories of Week 2. Burrow’s 471 yards were the second most in school history and his 61-yard touchdown pass against a Texas blitz put the exclamation point on the game.

As good as Burrow and the Tigers looked, a whole lot of Big 12 offenses may view the Longhorn secondary as the prime cuts at a fall tailgate.

“Everything that happened today is fixable on our part, as a defense and especially the (defensive backs),” UT safety Brandon Jones said. “I think it’s just a shot of reality.”

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