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Cotton Bowl 2013: Texas A&M vs. OU

A game between two familiar foes, the 2012 Cotton Bowl pitting the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies has plenty of storylines.

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The Texas A&M Aggies and Oklahoma Sooners meet Jan. 4, 2013, in the Cotton Bowl designated for an SEC team and a Big 12 team, but these two squads have more than a solid foundation of history after the Aggies left the Big 12 following the 2011 season.

In what could be the most interesting of the non-BCS bowl games, the Sooners (10-2) face quarterback Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, which surprised in its first year of SEC play with a 10-2 record under new coach Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M's only slipups this season include losses to Florida, which is currently ranked third, and now-No. 8 LSU, while their win against No. 2 Alabama nearly did the Crimson Tide in as far as national championship aspirations were concerned.

From Aggies blog Good Bull Hunting:

OU has always been an interesting game. The two programs share an aggressive disdain for the University of Texas. In those emotions, there is shared solace. But rest assured, there is still plenty of hate to make this one of the very best bowl games of the year.

Reggie McNeal as a freshman. Jason White. Adrian Peterson. Mike Sherman at Kyle. And yes, 77-0. We're already hearing about some of the darkest moments in Texas A&M football history.

That references the 2003 beatdown the Sooners put on the Aggies. And while Texas A&M has turned it around this year thanks to Johnny Football, Oklahoma and Bob Stoops have a thorn to pick out of their side. The Sooners dropped out of BCS bowl consideration with the somewhat surprising news of Northern Illinois sneaking into the Sugar Bowl.

Now they face yet another tough task, one that rivals the Aggies' difficult SEC schedule, writes Sooners blog Crimson and Cream Machine:

[...] the Sooners will be making the short trip to south to Jerry World where they will face former conference foe, Texas A&M. Just one of a flurry of potential story lines for the game, Oklahoma could be facing a Heisman Trophy winner and at a minimum will be one of few, if any, teams in the history of college football to play three Heisman favorites in the same season.

The other two candidates can take some credit for the only two losses on Oklahoma's season. The Sooners fell 24-19 to the Kansas State Wildcats and Heisman candidate Collin Klein, then lost 30-13 to linebacker Manti Te'o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.