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Texas A&M Football

A&M's appearance in Texas Bowl looks to springboard future success

December 3, 2023
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Admittedly, the invitation Texas A&M received on Sunday to play in the Texas Bowl doesn’t feel like much of a reward.

A trip to Houston? That feels like a Tuesday. The Dec. 27 Texas Bowl matchup with Oklahoma State falls on Wednesday. So, that’s better. Isn’t it?

Yes, it seems like a consolation prize. Except, another trip to Houston for the third time in the last eight college football seasons doesn’t inspire much consoling.

Texas A&M aspires for more. The goal is grandiose playoff bowl games against more glamorous opponents than Oklahoma State.

But there are reasons to embrace the trip to NRG Stadium. For starters, well… There’s NRG Stadium.

However, the Texas Bowl offers virtues beyond the venue.

At least, the Aggies are in a bowl game. This will be their first postseason appearance in three seasons, which is mind-boggling for a football program with all the advantages Texas A&M has.

Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Kellen Mond led Texas A&M past Oklahoma State, 24-21, in the 2019 Texas Bowl.

You’ll recall A&M sat out the 2021 bowl season. Quarterback issues resulted in then-coach Jimbo Fisher turning down a Gator Bowl invitation.

That was odd. Literally, every other coach I’ve ever known has claimed there was value in the extra practices for bowl games, if not for the game itself.

Maybe that proved true the next season when A&M finished 5-7 and failed to qualify for bowl eligibility. Perhaps the additional experience and instruction from those extra bowl practices could’ve made a difference against a 2022 opponent like, say… Appalachian State.

So, A&M gets those extra practices and whatever benefit is gleaned from them.

The Aggies — many of them from Houston — also get a chance to pick up a victory against an opponent from the reviled Big 12 Conference. Since leaving the Big 12 in 2012, A&M is 3-1 against its old conference.

The last time A&M appeared in the Texas Bowl was 2019 — against Oklahoma State. The next season, the Aggies finished 9-1 and ranked No. 4 — their highest postseason ranking since the 1939 national championship.

New coach Mike Elko shouldn’t be expected to repeat that history. That would be highly unlikely in year one of his tenure.

But the Texas Bowl gives him valuable opportunities for observation. He’ll get a first-hand look at where A&M is strong, where the Aggies struggle and — perhaps most importantly — who really wants to compete.

Bear Bryant once took three busloads of players to Junction to find out who’s committed. Elko will have to make do with a bus trip to Houston.

There likely will be players opting out of the game. That’s become the case in every bowl game not tied to the College Football Playoff.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Ainias Smith finished his fifth season as Texas A&M’s leading receiver.

Leading receiver Ainias Smith is already out because of a broken finger, but others may sit out to avoid any chance of injury and prepare for the NFL Combine.

Don’t be surprised if a few of A&M’s top players with NFL intentions in 2024 or any considering the transfer portal decide not to play.

That’s OK, though. Elko needs to see the guys who’ll be suiting up for A&M in 2024. He needs to know who’ll compete hard in an obscure bowl game and who might be inclined to put it on cruise control.

Maybe, he’ll get ideas of how to better use some players to maximize their impact next season.

Some bowl games are the last step of the season. Aggies should view the Texas Bowl as the first step to, hopefully, more success next season.

Discussion from...

A&M's appearance in Texas Bowl looks to springboard future success

11,713 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by bbrs074
Reno Hightower
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Future success?

"You serious Clark errr Olin?"
greg.w.h
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AG
Michael Nanny
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AG
With Eligah gone will we even field a team, the program is in jeopardt.
Aggie1
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AG
Quote:

Don't be surprised if a few of A&M's top players with NFL intentions in 2024 or any considering the transfer portal decide not to play.

That's OK, though.

I don't think that's OK at all. The athletes should want to play - get exposure at every opportunity that presents itself - and show out!
oldaggnms
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AG
Let's see. Fire the HC, OC, most significant recruiters, allow the most influential recruiter to take another job that was open here, and have five players hit the portal in a period of two weeks, with no replacements! Sure seems like the AD has done his work to destroy the team going into 2024 w/o any personal consequences. Rah, Rah, Rah, Team. 15 for team, farmers fight. We can call it a year!
zafzo
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That article definitely did not give me warm fuzzy feelings...
sharpdressedman
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Aggie1 said:

Quote:

Don't be surprised if a few of A&M's top players with NFL intentions in 2024 or any considering the transfer portal decide not to play.

That's OK, though.

I don't think that's OK at all. The athletes should want to play - get exposure at every opportunity that presents itself - and show out!
No one should be surprised when fans opt out. It's a perfect storm of a crap season, second tier bowl, recently humiliated opponent, Houston (again), and multiple, top players deciding it's not worth the effort to participate. But that's okay.
laruejd
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AG
oldaggnms said:

Let's see. Fire the HC, OC, most significant recruiters, allow the most influential recruiter to take another job that was open here, and have five players hit the portal in a period of two weeks, with no replacements! Sure seems like the AD has done his work to destroy the team going into 2024 w/o any personal consequences. Rah, Rah, Rah, Team. 15 for team, farmers fight. We can call it a year!
I agree, I think the Elijah Robinson moved totally backfired. Had he never been appointed interim coach his recruits would not be so upset when he was not retained. Of course, the simple solution is to retain him. Recruiting Coordinator and Defensive line coach. Who will be our coach in the Tax bowl and will we still be running Bobby Petrino plays?
sonnysixkiller
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Not sure that is the appropriate headline for the situation we are in.
laruejd
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A couple of corrections. Jimbo did not decline the Gator Bowl invitation, he first accepted it and later opted out (quit). Something Aggies say they never do!

Bear Bryant did take 3 busloads of players to Junction. He came back with almost one busload of Texas Aggies.
bbrs074
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So I have my $115 Texas Bowl ticket from TAMU and my $50 parking ticket from Ticketmaster. I hope the Aggies field a bowl team worth watching. I'm going into this feeling like a team of 2nd and 3 rd stringers will struggle against OSU. Just saying. It's feeling like a meaningless, preseason game.


Richard Rynearson '71
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