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Bohls: Aggies dominate LSU defensively, hang onto No. 5 spot on my Top 25 ballot

Texas A&M survived.

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher and his squad won't play a scheduled game with Mississippi on Saturday because of COVID-19 issues within the Aggies' program.

That’s what it’s about in 2020. Survive and advance.

And the fifth-ranked Aggies did just that, dominating LSU defensively and mustering up just enough offense behind an erratic Kellen Mond in a downpour at Kyle Field to punch out a 20-7 win over the toothless Tigers on Saturday night.

In this opinion, Jimbo Fisher’s bunch did enough to remain right where they were at No. 5 in my Top 25 Associated Press ballot a week ago as well as in the first official standings released last Tuesday night by the College Football Playoff selection committee.

In fact, had the Aggies crushed the Tigers by a more runaway margin, I was fully prepared to leapfrog them into the No. 4 spot ahead of still-idle Ohio State. Sure, the Buckeyes have been victims of their schedule and pandemic that has now postponed or canceled more than 100 games.

I was even prepared to consider pushing Ohio State down to No. 6 because it hasn’t had a chance to impress or risk a loss and shouldn’t just arbitrarily benefit from its current position of No. 4. But the Aggies weren’t as impressive as I thought they might be.

There’s nothing to suggest the Buckeyes are guaranteed to play their final two games of the regular season and meet the minimum requirement to be eligible for the Big Ten championship game. Couple that with Michigan State’s upset of top-10 Northwestern this weekend along with Oregon’s loss to Oregon State, and you can make a much stronger case for the Aggies making the Final Four, especially since the Big Ten and Pac-12 could forfeit their CFP chances.

A Notre Dame sweep of Clemson would help A&M even more as would an Alabama lopsided victory over Florida in the likely SEC title game matchup.

In the very subdued shakeup on my ballot, Northwestern fell from No. 9 to No. 13, Oregon dropped from No. 14 to No. 21, and Texas completely fell out of the Top 25 as did fellow losers SMU and North Carolina.

Newcomers were North Carolina State, once-beaten Liberty and undefeated Buffalo.