Texas A&M capped its record-setting, inaugural football season as a Southeastern Conference member with another milestone today: the Aggies climbed to No. 5 in both post-season polls, the school’s top finish in the final rankings since 1956.
Only once in the history of the football program, when the Aggies won the 1939 national championship, has A&M finished higher in The Associated Press’ final rankings than Tuesday, when A&M (11-2) shared the fifth spot with Georgia (12-2). The Aggies also finished fifth in the coaches’ poll.
Both of A&M’s previous Top 5 finishes in the final polls came during undefeated seasons: 1939 (first, 11-0 record) and 1956 (fifth, 9-0-1 record). Tuesday’s placement marked the first time for A&M to crack the Top 10 in the final rankings since 1994, when the Aggies finished at No. 8, and stood as the school’s 12th career finish in the Top 10.
A&M, a 41-13 winner over Oklahoma in last week’s AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, joined Texas as the only teams from the Lone Star State to land spots in the final polls.
The Longhorns (9-4) climbed to No. 19 in the AP poll, breaking a two-year absence from the final rankings, on the strength of a 31-27 victory over No. 20 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. Texas finished 18th in the coaches poll.
No Big 12 team cracked the Top 10 in the final polls, with Oklahoma (10-3) placing 15th in both polls and Kansas State (11-2) finishing 12th in the AP poll and 11th on coaches’ ballots. By comparison, the SEC had five schools ranked in the Top 10 of both polls, led by No. 1 Alabama (13-1), a 42-14 winner over Notre Dame in Monday’s BCS National Championship Game.
A&M’s season included a 29-24 victory over the eventual national champs in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Nov. 10. The Aggies finished 4-2 against Top 25 opponents this season.
_ Jimmy Burch