Texas A&M, the No. 9 team in the latest BCS standings, has been removed from consideration for an at-large berth in a BCS game.
The Aggies (10-2), who feature Heisman Trophy candidate Johnny Manziel at quarterback, were not one of four Southeastern Conference teams listed Tuesday among schools still under consideration for BCS bowl berths distributed by BCS officials. But the 21-team list includes No. 11 Oklahoma (9-2) and No. 18 Texas (8-3), as well as No. 17 Kent State (11-1), No. 20 Boise State (9-2) and No. 21 Northern Illinois (11-1).
Eliminating A&M from the BCS pool of potential participants, which still includes four SEC schools ahead of A&M in this week’s BCS standings, means the Aggies’ post-season destination likely will be the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. or the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington. Those bowls have the first two choices among SEC teams after the league’s BCS slots are filled.
A&M, a first-year SEC member, is being squeezed out of the BCS mix because the pool of league teams includes No. 2 Alabama (11-1) and No. 3 Georgia (11-1) _ the participants in Saturday’s SEC championship game in Atlanta _ as well as No. 4 Florida (11-1) and No. 7 LSU (10-2). The SEC can send only its champion, plus one at-large team, to BCS games and the Aggies lost to both Florida and LSU this season.
No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) already has secured a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, where it will meet the winner of Saturday’s Alabama-Georgia contest on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Champions from six conferences receive automatic berths in BCS games, with each league down to two title contenders: SEC (Alabama, Georgia), Big 12 (Kansas State, Oklahoma), Pac-12 (Stanford, UCLA), ACC (Florida State, Georgia Tech), Big Ten (Nebraska, Wisconsin) and Big East (Louisville, Rutgers).
Non-champions from those leagues can be selected for at-large berths, along with teams that remained in the BCS at-large pool announced Tuesday. The at-large list of teams included No. 5 Oregon (11-1) and No. 14 Clemson (10-2), along with Texas, Florida, LSU, Boise State, Kent State and Northern Illinois.
With no Big East team included among the Top 25 in this week’s BCS standings, the opportunity exists for Boise State, Kent State or Northern Illinois to receive an automatic berth in a BCS game if that school wins its conference and places among the top 16 in Sunday’s final BCS standings.
_ Jimmy Burch