The only thing the Aggies aren’t is exotic. A Big 12 conference foe for so many seasons, it can be difficult to get your head around the idea of a Big 12-SEC Cotton Bowl matchup when the two teams doing the representing have been playing every season forever.
“It’s a little strange,” OU quarterback Landry Jones said.
Still, if A&M is not quite Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Georgia nor LSU, neither does any other opponent OU might face stack up to the Aggies.
Think about this.
When was the last time OU failed to be favored in its bowl game? Against Stanford, maybe? Before that, what? LSU for the 2003 national championship, or do you have to go all the way back to Florida State for the 2000 title game, when the Sooners were 13-point dogs?
Anyway, it doesn’t happen very often and right now A&M is a 41⁄2 point favorite.
That’s hardly all.
Have we forgotten that the biggest name in college football is Johnny Manziel? Or that he’s leading just the kind of potent offense a Mike Stoops’ defense could make up for all past failings against?
Recall that defense remained a near-unquestioned strength of this team until Baylor ran wild, West Virginia ran wilder and Oklahoma State did everything pretty well against the Sooner defense but win.
That redemption back-in-Norman-again defensive coordinator Mike Stoops talked about all the way back on media day, for himself and for his unit, remains available.
“Any time you can knock off somebody that was on the Heisman, that legitimizes your defense,” Sooner defensive end R.J. Washington said. “We would love to go out … and show what kind of defense we really are.”
Look, the coaches, Bob Stoops and Kevin Sumlin, are going to play this game up as much as they can. They did it Wednesday, together for a teleconference.