The first version of the 2016 College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night and the Texas A&M Aggies were arguably the most talked about team in the rankings. The Aggies lone loss of the season came two weeks ago to top ranked Alabama and it appears the strength of the Aggies schedule played a role in them landing ahead of an undefeated Washington team who appeared one spot behind the Aggies at number five.
Despite two consecutive seasons deemed by popular opinion as down years finishing at 8-5, Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin had begun to see his name mentioned more in regards to coaches on the hot seat. I remember describing the scenario which would immediately cool that seat off as playing meaningful football into November. With the initial release of rankings, it’s safe to assume Sumlin and his Aggies will be playing meaningful football this November.
Unlike the prior two seasons, the Aggies and Sumlin have pushed past the 5-0 mark to continue to stack quality wins well into Southeastern Conference play. The Aggies wins over Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee all carry significant weight, as does it's lone loss coming to the top ranked team in the process. The Aggies would now seem to control their destiny in reaching this season’s playoff.
In the short term, the Aggies have focused their attention on this Saturday’s conference road game against Mississippi State. Tuesday afternoon, Sumlin met with the media in College Station and touched on how the staff had communicated with the team leading up to the release of rankings.
“We have got nothing to do with it,” Sumlin said in reference to the rankings. “All we can do is win the game in front of us. “I told them yesterday, you guys have no control over it, so why should we worry about it? We have to worry about winning Saturday and going to Starkville and getting a win. If we do that and keep focused on that every week, there will be something good at the end—something really good. If you don’t do that, then there is no reason to talk about it. I think our guys understand that.”
After Saturday’s match-up with the Bulldogs, the Aggies will return home to face Ole Miss before hosting UTSA in another easy week leading into their Thanksgiving night match-up in Kyle Field with LSU to close out the regular season.