Texas A&M tries to make a case against North Carolina in Orange Bowl

LEFT: Dyami Brown #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels makes a catch against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) RIGHT: Kellen Mon

It isn’t often where a team from the Southeast Conference feels slighted by the powers that be in the College Football Playoff committee.

But in this weird year of 2020, Texas A&M found itself as a one-loss SEC team that ended up staring from outside the window of the sport’s ultimate showcase. And while Jimbo Fisher’s team lost out to Notre Dame for the fourth and final spot, the Aggies can still make a case for inclusion as one of the top programs in the sport.

They will get that chance on Saturday night when 5th ranked Texas A&M travels to Miami to face off against 13th ranked North Carolina in the Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

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The sports betting information

On FOXBet.com Sportsbook, Texas A&M is a seven point favorite and minus-275 on the money line. (A $275 bet is needed to win $100.) The Tar Heels are +230 on the money line (a $100 bet will win $230) The over-under number is 65 ½ points.

Against the spread this year, Texas A&M was 5-4 in nine games while North Carolina finished the year at 5-6.

The history

This will be the first time that the two schools will ever meet in a game. This will be the Aggies first visit to the Orange Bowl since 1944- a 19-14 loss to LSU. Under Fisher, A&M is 2-0 with wins over North Carolina State and Oklahoma State the last two years. Meanwhile, North Carolina is making its first appearance in a New Year’s Six bowl (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Peach, Cotton) since 1993 –  Brown’s first bowl appearance in his first term in Chapel Hill. That year, the Tar Heels beat Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl.

During his time as head coach at Texas, Brown went 10-4 against Texas A&M.

The storylines to watch

There was very little left unsaid by Fisher about his thoughts about whether the Aggies belonged into college football’s final four. The prime target of his complaint wasn’t Notre Dame, but Ohio State- who had played only six games during the regular season but advanced with a Big Ten championship game. However, the only thing that the Aggies can do is show that they belonged. They could do that behind the smooth style of quarterback Kellen Mond, who was outstanding down the stretch for Texas A&M and his 19 touchdown, three interception performance has opened eyes among NFL scouts. Isaiah Spiller is likely to pass the 1,000 yards rushing mark for the season, beginning the game just 14 short of the mark with a 5.6 yards per carry average.

The Tar Heels can score with the best of them and have been an offensive machine, averaging 43 points and 556.6 yards a game.  Sam Howell begins the game sixth in the nation in passing yards with 3,352 while throwing 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. Dyami Brown has 1,100 yards receiving and the junior is averaging 20 yards per catch while scoring eight touchdowns. Stylewise, this figures to be a battle between a very explosive Tar Heels offense against an Aggies defense that has held teams to just 316.6 yards per game.

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