Texas A&M could have done much better than the Texas Bowl, but it also could have done worse than a matchup against Oklahoma State.
To quote those television commercials, “It’s just OK.”
It’s not the College Football Playoffs, it’s not a New Year’s Six bowl and it’s certainly not a Florida bowl. It’s a 7-5 Aggie team playing a former conference rival two days after Christmas in Houston. It should be a very competitive game. A&M is a six-point favorite and the over/under is 53 ½, so we’re talking along the lines of 30-24. Enough offense to keep it entertaining and defense will matter.
The game has other pluses.
Bragging rights will be on the line between the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference, and Oklahoma State is ranked 25th, so the Aggies do have a chance to upgrade their current best victory of the season, which is 6-6 Mississippi State. Both schools recruit Greater Houston hard, and A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and OSU coach Mike Gundy are both former quarterbacks who certainly will do their part promoting the game, which takes place in an NFL stadium with thousands of Aggies within an hour’s driving distance.
It’s a good, convenient matchup, just don’t make it any more or less than what it is. A win won’t make either team’s season, nor will a loss ruin it, and they’d both rather have been somewhere else.
For A&M, it’s similar to 2001 when A&M went to the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl at 7-4 following three straight losses to end the regular season, the last two against third-ranked Oklahoma and fifth-ranked Texas. Aggie fans weren’t too excited about their team falling in the bowl pecking order, but the weather was nice three days after Christmas, and a pro-A&M crowd of 53,480 showed up in the Astrodome to watch A&M grab a 28-9 victory over TCU, beating the Horned Frogs for the 24th straight time.
A&M started six freshmen, including defensive back Byron Jones, who was the most valuable player and defensive player of the game after having three interceptions. The future looked bright, but A&M went 6-6 the following season and R.C. Slocum was fired. TCU, which was 6-6 in 2001, went 10-2 in 2002, the first of 11 double-digit winning seasons by Gary Patterson. It’s doubtful what happened in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl had any bearing on the 2002 season for A&M or TCU, but it was an entertaining bowl game, especially for the Aggies.
Jacob Green set to be inducted into College Football HOF
Former A&M defensive lineman Jacob Green, who was an All-American in 1979, will be officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in New York City along with the rest of the 13-player Class of 2019 which was announced in January. Green, who was a two-time All-Southwest Conference selection, at the time set school records for career sacks (37) and single-season sacks (20 in 1979).
He is the 11th player from A&M to make the Hall of Fame.
Green will be inducted along with Texas quarterback Vince Young (2002-05) and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden (2005-07). The rest of the players to be enshrined at the National Football Foundation’s award banquet are Florida State defensive back Terrell Buckley (1989-91), Oklahoma defensive back Rickey Dixon (1984-87), John Carroll linebacker London Fletcher (1995-97), North Carolina State receiver Torry Holt (1995-98), Notre Dame wide receiver and kick returner Raghib Ismail, Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer (1993-96), USC defensive back Troy Polamalu (1999-2002), Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas (2003-06), Michigan State running back Lorenzo White (1984-87) and Mississippi linebacker Patrick Willis (2003-06).
Dennis Erickson, who coached Miami to two national championships, and Joe Taylor, who won 233 games at historically black colleges, are being inducted as coaches. Erickson also coached at Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona State.
Colton Prater wins Aggie Heart Award
Colton Prater who started 13 games at center this season won the Aggie Heart Award at Sunday night’s team banquet. The Heart Award is presented to a senior who has completed his eligibility and displays the intangibles such as effort, desire, determination, competitiveness, accountability, leadership and courage. It is voted on by the players.
Junior Ryan McCallum was expected to be the starting center, but he has been limited this season by a nagging back injury. Prater, who came into the season with 14 career starts, replaced Erik McCoy, who was a second-round pick of the New Orleans Saints.
Prater also was named a team captain along with junior wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon, junior defensive back Keldrick Carper and senior punter Braden Mann.
Ausbon also won the Leadership Award and Prater the Most Improved Line-man Award. Mann won the Special Teams MVP Award. McCallum won the Unselfish Leadership Award. A trio of freshmen — offensive lineman Kenyon Green, running back Isaiah Spiller and tight end Jalen Wydermyer shared Top Newcomer Award.
Other offensive award winners were junior tackle Carson Green and junior fullback Cagan Baldree, Attitude Award; junior wide receiver Quartney Davis, Skill Award; junior quarterback Kellen Mond, Offensive MVP Award; and freshman defensive back Alex Zettler, Defensive Scout Team Award.
Junior defensive tackle Justin Madubuike won the Defensive MVP Award and junior linebacker Buddy Johnson won the Defensive Playmaker Award. Other defensive winners were junior defensive back Myles Jones, Most Improved Award; Carper, Leadership Award; freshmen defensive back Demani Richardson and end DeMarvin Leal, Top Newcomer Award; junior linebacker Braden White, Attitude Award; senior defensive back Charles Oliver, Mr. Dependable Skill Award; and freshman offensive lineman Layden Robinson and freshman running back Bladen Reaves, Offensive Scout Team Player Award.
Junior tight end Ryan Renick, who is from Iola, won the Mr. Dependable Award for special teams work. Other special teams award winners were junior linebacker Aaron Hansford, Most Improved Award; freshman deep-snapper Connor Choate and freshman wide receiver/returner Ainias Smith, Impact Award.
Prater and Carper also were the academic award winners for their respective classes. The others were quarterback Zach Calzada, freshman and place-kicker Seth Smith, sophomore. Junior linebacker Keeath Magee II won the Community Service Award.
Prater, Mond and Carper won Top Conditioned Athlete Awards. Ausbon, sophomore running back Jashaun Corbin and Carson Green won Offensive Strength Awards. Freshman defensive lineman Tyree Johnson, Buddy Johnson and Jones won Defensive Strength Awards; Mann and Smith won Specialist Strength Awards.