COLLEGE STATION, TX — After being left out of the College Football Playoff, the Texas A&M Aggies are heading to Miami this weekend to take on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
While not making the CFP is upsetting for the Aggie faithful, there are still many things to celebrate, including the economic impact a bowl game could bring.
Being ranked in the Top 5 may not have been enough for the Aggie's to earn a playoff spot, but the team's invitation to the Capital One Orange Bowl marks the 42nd bowl game for A&M in program history, a big feat for any college football program.
"It's still a big bowl. We are still in a really big bowl. I am excited about it," said Kindra Fry, Senior Manager for Tourism for the City of College Station.
Fry says while there is much excitement surrounding the game, it's also an opportunity to support the home team and the local economy.
"We are going to have commercials. A&M will have commercials during the game. They are going to talk a lot about where we are from and where Texas A&M is from, so I think that is a plus that we are going to get a little extra advertising from it. Even if it's just mentions of the community, it's perfect for us," she added.
Fry says the entire Aggie community will receive a potential publicity boost as descriptions of Aggieland are heard over broadcasts.
"This is a great opportunity for the announcers, who are going to be talking about the Aggies, to talk about the community. Most of them have been here one time or another. So I feel like there is going to be that mention of Aggieland, of College Station and of Bryan," she said. "People connect with sports. When people are watching these games, there is going to be, "Oh, I've never been there," and "We should visit some time." So I think that's going to be an ancillary benefit to having the Aggies in the Orange Bowl."
Even though the game will be played over 1,200 miles away from Aggieland, local bars and restaurants hope to feel the celebration.
"So I think it will be important to impact our own economy. We need to get out and support one another. Without these businesses, we wouldn't be the community we all love," Fry said. "I know our restaurants will have the game on. I know our bars will have the game on. So we need to get out and enjoy that part of it."
After having an all-SEC schedule, many did not know what the Aggies would do this season. Quarterback Kellen Mond says despite not earning a playoff spot in the end, they have proved a lot of people wrong.
"I think our mindset each and every week is that we have something to prove. I don't think it's anything to prove to other people. We just want to continue to get better as a team and continue to grow, and I think that's the main thing and our mindset each and every week that we play," he said. "Whether we are number 5 and just got left out of the playoffs or not, we just want to play the best we can."
This weekend marks the 12th straight bowl game appearance for Texas A&M, a school record. That feat leaves College Station hopeful for what's to come when normalcy returns.
"This is a foreshadowing of years to come. I think Jimbo [Fisher] is setting up his team and setting up the Aggies for success. This is exciting. We are all stirred up about it. It just means that in the fall when football comes back to our community, we are all going to be excited to be there and to be a part [of it] and to see what is next," Fry said.
The Aggies hope to extend their current win-streak to 8 games as they take on the Tar Heels January 2. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CST on ESPN.