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Chick-fil-A Bowl 2013 Preview: Texas A&M Gets the Wrong Ticket to Atlanta

The Aggies face the Duke Blue Devils in the ATL, not an opponent in the SEC Championship Game

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Duke Blue Devils
Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

If there was a trip to Atlanta on the minds of Texas A&M fans this season, it was at the beginning of the December instead of the end. The Aggies were poised to make a run at the SEC title game, seen as perhaps the biggest threat to Alabama's dominance in the West and a dark-horse contender for the national title. At least that was the plan.

The interesting thing is that Texas A&M wasn't really all that far from doing just that. Of the Aggies' four losses, only one -- at LSU -- was by more than seven points. A total of 18 points made the difference between TAMU being an 11-1 team and an 8-4 team. If only the Aggies had a defense to pair with that Top 5 offense, then the preseason predictions probably would have been true.

What does that mean for the postseason? Perhaps not much. The Duke offense is not too terribly prolific, though David Cutcliffe and Co. will have had plenty of time to try to find the holes in the Aggies defense. But the Blue Devils are themselves mediocre on that side of the ball, and while their defense is statistically slightly better than A&M's, it has the additional burden tonight of keeping up with Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans.

Texas A&M 47, Duke 35