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Texas A&M finishes fourth in final AP Top 25 poll

Texas A&M finishes fourth in final AP Top 25 poll

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ORANGE BOWL

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher applauds as running back Devon Achane (6) is announced as the game MVP at the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Texas A&M defeated North Carolina 41-27. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Texas A&M finished fourth in the final Associated Press Top 25 college football poll for its highest finish since the 1939 team won the national championship. Alabama finished atop the AP poll for the 11th time followed by Ohio State, Clemson and A&M.

The Aggies (9-1), who finished the season with an eight-game winning streak, finally passed Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish (10-2) had been fourth in the final College Football Playoff rankings, but was beaten by Alabama 31-14 in the semifinals. The Aggies capped their season with a 41-27 victory over North Carolina in the Orange Bowl.

A&M was 75 points behind Clemson (10-2) and 24 points ahead of Notre Dame. The Aggies’ best finish in the AP poll since the 1939 title team had been fifth in 1956 under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant when the Aggies were 9-0-1. The coaches also ranked A&M fifth  that season. The 2012 team matched that No. 5 finish with an 11-2 record under Kevin Sumlin in his first season with the Aggies which also was A&M’s first year in the Southeastern Conference. A&M tied Georgia that year in the AP poll, but the coaches had Georgia fourth and A&M fifth. Ohio State (12-0), which was ranked third by AP, wasn’t included in the coaches’ poll because it was ineligible to play in the Big 10 title game or a bowl game.

A&M’s lone loss this year was to the Crimson Tide (12-0) which defeated Ohio State 52-24 on Monday night to win the title. Ironically, that was the same score in Alabama’s victory over A&M.

This was Alabama’s first perfect season since 2009. The Crimson Tide breezed by Ohio State which couldn’t repeat its 49-28 upset of Clemson in the semifinals.

Big 12 champion Oklahoma was sixth with Georgia, Cincinnati, Iowa State and Northwestern rounding out the Top 10.

A&M started the season ranked 13th by AP and the coaches. The Aggies slipped to 21st by AP and 20th by the coaches after the loss to Alabama left them at 1-1. A&M climbed to 11th in both polls after a 41-38 victory over Florida which at the time as ranked fourth by AP and third by the coaches. A&M was fifth in the first CFP rankings, which were announced on Nov. 24th, the 13th week of the season that was greatly altered by COVID-19. The 5-1 Aggies were behind Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. Those five teams held their spots for the next three weeks.  But on Dec. 19, the day before the final CFP rankings, Clemson defeated Notre Dame 34-10 for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, avenging an early season loss at Notre Dame; and Ohio State rallied for a 22-10 victory over Northwestern to win the Big Ten title. A&M defeated Tennessee that same day 34-13 and head coach Jimbo Fisher campaigned for the Aggies to make the CFP, but the 13-member CFP selection committee ranked Alabama first followed by Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

With Alabama leading the way, the SEC went 7-2 in bowls, counting Alabama’s title win. The Big 12 was 5-0 in bowl games, while the ACC was 0-6.

The AP Top 25

The Associated Press

The Top 25 teams in the Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 11, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

Record Pts Prv

1. Alabama (61) 12-0 1525 1

2. Ohio St. 7-1 1463 3

3. Clemson 10-2 1378 2

4. Texas A&M 9-1 1303 5

5. Notre Dame 10-2 1279 4

6. Oklahoma 9-2 1243 8

7. Georgia 8-2 1144 11

8. Cincinnati 9-1 1074 6

9. Iowa St. 9-3 1035 12

10. Northwestern 7-2 893 15

11. BYU 11-1 862 13

12. Indiana 6-2 773 7

13. Florida 8-4 764 10

14. Coastal Carolina 11-1 725 9

15. Louisiana-Lafayette 10-1 664 16

16. Iowa 6-2 581 17

17. Liberty 10-1 576 23

18. North Carolina 8-4 532 14

19. Texas 7-3 485 20

20. Oklahoma St. 8-3 417 -

21. Southern Cal 5-1 306 21

22. Miami 8-3 284 18

23. Ball St. 7-1 183 -

24. San Jose St. 7-1 80 19

25. Buffalo 6-1 51 -

Others receiving votes: Appalachian St. 41, Tulsa 35, Army 24, Oregon 21, Texas Tech 21, Memphis 12, TCU 12, UAB 10, Washington 10, NC State 7, Nevada 7, Wisconsin 3, West Virginia 1, Marshall 1.

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