In their first meeting as non-conference mates since the induction of the Big 12 Conference in 1994, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies are being pitted against each other in 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl. Both teams are sitting at a 10-2 record and this match-up has been said to be one best games of the bowl season, right after the highly anticipated BCS National Championship Game.
The Aggies are looking for their first 11-win season since 1998, something most said they wouldn’t even come close to this first season of being in the SEC. The Sooners and head coach Bob Stoops are playing for his 10th 11-win season since being in Norman and his 150th win with the program. Stoops is also going head-to-head with what most people would say, one of his most successful protégés in Aggies coach, Kevin Sumlin.
No doubt there are other factors on the field, but if you are tuning in on TV and not going to the game, I can bet you will hear the word quarterbacks more often than not. This game features the current Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel and often mentioned in the Heisman hunt, Landry Jones. Though one has a promising career still staring him in the face, this is Jones’ last chance to shine in a Sooner jersey. Jones is ending his career in the exact same stadium he started it in: Cowboys Stadium. When you look at the Aggies offensive stats, Manziel is the offense. He has an SEC record of 4600-yards and an outstanding 43 touchdowns, both on the ground and through the air.
Manziel also has Ryan Swope, who is about to break the Aggies receiving record. Big 12 fans are all too familiar with Swope, Manziel is a new factor to consider this time around, so there is no more saying, “this is the same ole Aggies.” The Aggies defense, which has always been decent, has also been a deciding factor in games this season.
The most clear and obvious thing the Sooners need to do in order to win the game is stop Manziel. If the defensive line can shut down Johnny Football’s rush attack, things should stay tight. The offensive line needs to hold tight against that Aggie defense, giving Jones enough time to get the ball off, because we know what happens when he rolls out of the pocket. Though, Jones has been the one who has stepped up the last several games of the season, his effort winning more than one game. The defense is what needs to bring it on Friday.
Right now, Vegas has the Ags by 3, but the Sooners do own the series 19-11. The past means nothing in this game, as the Aggies are now touting that high-powered offense of one and a more than decent defense. The spread actually has dropped by 5 points, so it seems that people are now starting to put some money on the Sooners.
I am the first to say when I think the Sooners may not win a game, as much as I am a loyal homer. This one, I do think they can win if all the pieces fall into place.
Sooners by a touchdown.