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College Football Season
Game Of The Week

Preview: Texas A&M at Texas

by CFP Staff

Who truly saw this coming at the beginning of the year? Texas A&M will be fighting to keep alive its outside chance at capturing the Big 12 South.

Texas must win just to become bowl eligible. The Longhorns last missed the bowl season in 1997.

Texas A&M's route to the division title depends on getting the win in Austin on Thursday, then Oklahoma defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday. Those events would crate a 3-way tie for the division lead. The only chance the Aggies have of coming out on top in that scenario is if they finish higher than the other two in the final BCS Standings, or if Oklahoma is the highest-ranked team and Texas A&M is ranked no more than 1 spot below the Sooners.

In the preseason, the Congrove Computer Rankings projected Texas A&M to finish 5-7, 2-6 and Texas to go 12-0, 8-0. polled more than 15 national preseason forecasts from the likes of The Sporting News, Lindy's and Phil Steele, and the majority had Texas winning the division.

The Aggies enter the contest with a record of 8-3 overall, 5-2 in the conference. The Longhorns limp in at 5-6 overall, 2-5 in the conference and mired in the Big 12 South basement.

The Congrove Computer Rankings still list Texas as the favorite, but only by 4.47 points. The CCR preseason projection had Texas as a 26.90-point favorite. That's a 22.43-point swing.

"Never in my 18 seasons of operating a computer ranking system have I seen one game produce such a large swing in the forecasted margin of victory," says Dave Congrove, creator of the aforementioned rankings. "While it may have happened before, I doubt that it occurred with a team as high-profile as Texas."

Texas A&M hasn't played in a Big 12 title game since 1998.

Texas enters on a 4-game losing streak in Big 12 games. Its last conference win came at Nebraska in a 20-13 upset on October 16. What's even more puzzling is that the Longhorns are winless in their 3 previous conference home games and just 2-4 at home overall.

One thing Mack Brown and the Longhorns can be proud of is their defense. Even while trying to atone for their offense's ranking of 60th and a turnover ratio of minus-10, the defense has been the 8th-best in the nation and tops in the conference by a slim margin over Nebraska.

Texas A&M boasts the conference's No. 4 offense and No. 3 defense.

This will be the 117th edition of this rivalry that began in 1894. The Longhorns have won 8 of the last 10 meetings and are 76-35-5 overall.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN on Thanksgiving Day beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on ESPN and


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