The Sea World Holiday Bowl will extend an invitation to Texas A&M to play the Western Athletic Conference champion in the Dec. 29 San Diego-based bowl.
The WAC champion will be BYU if the Cougars defeat Utah Saturday. Holiday Bowl President Robert Payne and committee member Richard Circuit will be at Rice Stadium to extend the invitation to BYU should the Cougars defeat the Utes.Circuit confirmed that unofficially the bowl has decided to invite the Aggies. Official invitations cannot be extended until Nov. 24.
"We feel good about it," said Circuit. "Texas A&M has one of the truly most remarkable traditions in college football. They have a 450-piece precision military marching band that is probably the best in college football."
If Texas A&M wins the Southwest Conference title and goes to the Cotton Bowl, then Texas would go to the Holiday Bowl. Both schools have agreed to participate in the Holiday Bowl if they don't go to the Cotton Bowl.
Texas is undefeated in Southwest Conference play and would have to lose twice for Texas A&M to go to the Cotton Bowl, since the Aggies have a loss and a tie in conference play. The school schools meet on Dec. 1 at Texas.
Baylor also has an outside shot at the SWC crown, but is not a candidate for the Holiday Bowl.
The voting by the bowl committee was near unanimous to take Texas A&M over the third-place team from the Big Ten Conference.
The Aggies are 6-2-1 and ranked No. 20 in the latest UPI poll. Texas is 7-1 and ranked No. 6 by UPI and No. 7 by AP after the Longhorns' 45-24 victory Saturday over previously unbeaten Houston.
The Holiday Bowl's best-case scenario would be for Texas and Texas A&M to win their remaining games going into their Dec. 1 meeting in Austin, with Texas already having clinched a Cotton Bowl berth. Then, if Texas A&M were to defeat Texas, the Aggies would finish the regular season at 9-2-1 and ranked in the top 15.
BYU has played Texas A&M in a memorable game in 1979 when Marc Wilson's two-point conversion pass gave the Cougars an 18-17 victory and started BYU off to a perfect 11-0 regular-season record.
This year's Aggies have the nation's second leading rusher, Darren Lewis.
The Cougars have played a Southwest Conference member before the in Holiday Bowl. The 1980 "Miracle Bowl" where BYU rallied for three touchdowns in the final three and a half minutes to stun Southern Methodist 46-45.