JACKSONVILLE, Florida (KBTX) -- Since joining the SEC in 2012 the Texas Aggies have played in six bowl games, and in three of those post season games they have faced teams from the ACC. Last season they lost to Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl, and in 2015 lost to Louisville in the Music City Bowl. Their lone win over the Atlantic Coast Conference came in a come from behind win against Duke in the Chick-fil-A bowl in Atlanta.
A&M has already faced an ACC team this season when they played Clemson in the second game of the season. The Aggies rallied in that game at Kyle Field only to come up 2 points short in a 28-26 final.
The SEC is widely regarded as the best college football conference in the country. The ACC plays some pretty good football as well and the Aggies feel like they will need a solid effort Monday night to get a win over North Carolina State and represent the SEC as the country's football power conference.
"I feel like it's a really big thing, but we understand what our goal is, where our mindset needs to be, but definitely we want to prove that the SEC is the number one conference," said A&M quarterback Kellen Mond.
"Yeah for sure and I know Coach Fisher is ready to win, him coming from the ACC. We're going to go against an explosive offense, potential first round quarterback Finley so I am just excited to play against him. I'm just excited to be back on the field for the bowl game, for the season and I'm ready to show people what A&M is all about," added A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson.
Jimbo Fisher has faced N.C. State eight times during his tenure at Florida State and beat the Wolfpack five times. Fisher was five and two in bowl games while at Florida State. If he wins his post season debut at A&M it would snap the Aggies three game bowl losing streak.
Now college football teams play a 12 game regular season schedule with usually only one week off during their three month grind. The consistent practicing and playing usually makes a team a lot better at the end of the season than where they started out.
Those teams that qualify for a bowl game take a couple of weeks at the end of the regular season to wrap of the semester academically, before returning to practice and preparing for their bowl game.
It will be over five weeks since the Aggies last game when they take the field at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl on Monday night.
Some might say the 37 days since A&M's seven overtime win against LSU was necessary to put that one behind them physically and emotionally, but having that much time between games usually creates a timing issue for teams. It's tough for teams to practice at game speed and against the talent they would face in a game.
Coach Fisher likes to practice starters against starters a lot in hopes that the Aggies don't develop any so called 'rust' and hopefully start off in the bowl game the way they finished the regular season - sharp.
"Definitely a factor, but coach tries to make sure even in our off time we are still doing stuff on our own. Working out on our own, quarterbacks/receivers working by ourselves making sure that that rust doesn't really come up, but we have kinda been working hard along this off season part, but we are looking really good I feel like," added A&M Mond.
A&M fans will find out if Kellen's feeling is correct Monday night when the Aggies take on North Carolina State. Texas A&M is a touchdown favorite over the Wolfpack entering Monday night's game. The game kicks off at 6:30 and will be broadcast on ESPN.