Competing in their inaugural season in the rugged Southeastern Conference, the Aggies finished the 2012 season with an 11-2 record and on a six-game winning streak that culminated with a 41-13 win over Big 12 Co-Champion Oklahoma in the 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl. Included in that six-game winning streak was a 29-24 road victory over eventual national champion Alabama on Nov. 10.
It was A&M's third top 5 AP finish along the No. 5 ranking in 1956 and the No. 1 finish in 1939, A&M's lone AP national championship. It was A&M's 12th top 10 finish in school history and its first since 1994 when the Aggies finished No. 8 with a 10-0-1 record. Overall, it was A&M's 25th appearance in the final AP poll. It was A&M's second top 25 final ranking in the last three seasons, after not being ranked in the final polls from 2000-09.
The Aggies were 4-2 against teams that were ranked in the AP Top 25 at the time of the game, including wins over No. 23 Louisiana Tech, No. 15 Mississippi State, No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 Oklahoma. Four Texas A&M 2012 opponents grabbed spots in the final AP Top 25: No. 1 Alabama, No. 9 Florida, No. 14 LSU and No. 15 Oklahoma.
Among the highlights of the season was the selection of four Aggies to first-team All-America squads: freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, junior offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews and junior defensive end Damontre Moore. Manziel and Joeckel both earned national awards with Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy (most outstanding player) and Joeckel taking the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman). Manziel also became the first Aggie to win the Davey O'Brien Award and to be named the AP College Player of the Year.