Texas A&M has its sights set on the Southeastern Conference’s West Division title — a goal that requires winning the next two games.
The first takes place Saturday night in Oxford, Miss., where the Aggies — ranked 11th in the latest CFP poll — will attempt to push their four-game winning streak to five when they face No. 15 Ole Miss.
The Aggies (7-2, 4-2) are riding strong momentum, starting with their 41-38 victory on Oct. 9 over then top-ranked Alabama (8-1, 5-1). The Crimson Tide are still the squad the Aggies are chasing for a first division crown.
Subsequent victories over Missouri, South Carolina and Auburn have put Texas A&M in a prime spot, though they do not control their fate.
Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2) and Auburn (6-3, 3-2) also sit near the top with two losses.
The Crimson Tide defeated Ole Miss on Oct. 2 and still must play Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 27.
However, with the Aggies beating Auburn 20-3 last week and holding the win over Alabama, a victory this week against the Rebels and Nov. 27 over LSU would give them a shot for the West’s top spot.
But to get there, A&M needs help. Alabama has to stumble at home against Arkansas on Nov. 20 or at arch-rival Auburn, which would award the West to the Aggies due to the head-to-head victory.
At home last weekend, the Aggies held Auburn and standout quarterback Bo Nix to three points and 226 total yards — both lows for the season.
It marked the first time the Aggies held a top-25 team without a touchdown since 2010 when they edged No. 9 Nebraska 9-6.
They logged four sacks against the Tigers — their fourth game this season with at least four sacks.
“Defense was outstanding. We did a really good job of pressuring them,” said Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, whose defense scored the game’s only TD.
The Aggies have won nine of the past 12 contests against Ole Miss.
Rebels coach Lane Kiffin watched his team do whatever it wanted to on offense and defense in the first 30 minutes of its 27-14 victory over Liberty and talented quarterback Malik Willis last Saturday.
The Rebels produced seven sacks and two interceptions of Willis — a highly rated NFL prospect — and led 24-0 at halftime behind the strong running of Jerrion Ealy.
Kiffin’s club was outscored 14-3 in the second half and needed a late third pick of the ex-Auburn quarterback Willis to seal the win.
Ealy ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Corral threw for 324 yards and a score, but the lackluster, TD-less second half resulted in the first meeting between the schools being closer than expected.
ESPN’s College GameDay will make its second appearance Saturday in Oxford. The first time came in 2014.
In that one, No. 11 Ole Miss – then-0-10 all-time versus No.1-ranked teams – rallied past top-ranked Alabama 23-17 behind two late Bo Wallace TD passes.
Kiffin — the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator that day — has his mind set on a particular guest picker this weekend.
“It would be Katy Perry, that’s a no-brainer,” Kiffin said Monday. “I just like when things have worked before … I’ve seen this script before and this movie where Katy Perry shows up and Ole Miss wins. I was on the other side of it.
“It worked before, let’s do it again.”
–Field Level Media