Cotton Bowl 2013: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M, TV Info, Predictions and More
In a sparkling, 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl that will pit a couple of familiar foes in, what are now, very different places, the Sooners and Aggies undoubtedly will provide a wonderful spectacle at Jerry World this January.
Texas A&M, led by its shining freshman quarterback, produced a 10-2 mark in its first season in the SEC.
Oklahoma narrowly missed out on its eighth Big 12 title, but with quarterback Landry Jones playing in his final game as a Sooner, the Crimson and Cream will have plenty to show in Arlington.
It smells of a Big 12 showdown, but this SEC-Big 12 clash already is gathering some steam.
Where: Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas
When: January 4, 2013, 8 p.m. EST
TV Broadcast: FOX
Radio: ESPN Radio Network
Betting Lines: (Opened) Texas A&M -3, O/U 70
It's a relatively close venue for both teams, and it should provide somewhat of a comfortable trip to Arlington.
For the Sooners, although the opponent is a familiar foe, there is a definite newness to the Aggies that Oklahoma has not seen yet.
If it couldn't be Texas and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, why not a matchup that should be second-best to that?
Familiar faces in different places. Former Big 12 foes obviously takes the headline cake here, as the Aggies go back to familiar territory after leaving just six months ago.
A senior plays in his final game. Landry Jones is set to appear in his final game as a Sooner, and what better way to exit his college football career than with a standout performance against Texas A&M.
A freshman gets a taste of history. Johnny Manziel has to be a household name by now, and his season-long efforts will be on display in a final offering against an historic opponent.
Oklahoma Depth Chart and Injury Report
TE Taylor McNamara OUT -- Shoulder
OL Nila Kasitati OUT -- Knee
DE Chaz Nelson OUT -- Knee
FB Marshall Musl OUT -- Knee
OT Dylan Dismuke OUT
OL Tyler Evans OUT -- ACL
WR Trey Franks OUT -- Suspension
WR Kameel Jackson OUT -- Suspension
WR Jaz Reynolds OUT -- Suspension
QB: Landry Jones, Blake Bell
RB: Damien Williams, Brennan Clay
WR: Kenny Stills, Trey Metoyer
WR: Justin Brown, Durron Neal
WR: Jalen Saunders, Sterling Shepard OR Roy Finch
LT: Lane Johnson, Tyrus Thompson
LG: Adam Shead, Austin Woods
C: Gabe Ikard, Ty Darlington
RG: Bronson Irwin, Austin Woods
RT: Tyrus Thompson, Derek Farniok
TE: Brannon Green
DE: Chuka Ndulue, R.J. Washington
DE: David King, Mike Onuoha
DT: Casey Walker, Stacy McGee
DT: Jamarkus McFarland, Stacy McGee
OLB: Corey Nelson, Aaron Franklin or Joseph Ibiloye
MLB: Tom Wort, Frank Shannon or Jaydan Bird
NB: Gabe Lynn, Julian Wilson
CB: Aaron Colvin, Gary Simon
FS: Tony Jefferson, Jesse Paulsen
SS: Javon Harris, Gabe Lynn
CB: Demontre Hurst, Lamar Harris, Zack Sanchez
PK: Michael Hunnicutt, Eric Hosek
P: Tress Way, Dylan Seibert
Texas A&M Depth Chart and Injury Report
OL Shep Klinke OUT -- Foot
DB Steven Campbell OUT -- Concussion
RB Brandon Williams OUT -- Eligibility
LB Michael Richardson OUT -- Back
RB Christine Michael QUESTIONABLE -- Suspension
QB: Johnny Manziel, Matt Joeckel or Jameill Showers
RB: Ben Malena, Christine Michael or Trey Williams
WR: Mike Evans, Derel Walker or Nate Askew
WR: Uzoma Nwachukwu, Sabian Holmes
WR: Ryan Swope, Malcome Kennedy
TE: Michael Lamothe, Nehemiah Hicks
LT: Luke Joeckel, Germain Ifedi
LG: Jarvis Harrison, Germain Ifedi
C: Patrick Lewis, Mike Matthews
RG: Cedric Ogbuehi, Ben Compton
RT: Jake Matthews, Joseph Cheek
DE: Julien Obioha, Gavin Stansbury
NG: Kirby Ennis, Jonathan Mathis
DT: Spencer Nealy, Ivan Robinson
Rush: Damontre Moore, Tyrell Taylor
SLB: Sean Porter, Michael Richardson
MLB: Jonathan Stewart, Justin Bass
WLB: Steven Jenkins, Donnie Baggs
CB: Dustin Harris, Tramain Jacobs
FS: Steven Terrell, Toney Hurd Jr.
BS: Howard Matthews, Johntel Franklin
CB: Deshazor Everett, De'Vante Harris, Floyd Raven Sr.
PK: Taylor Bertolet, Josh Lambo
P: Ryan Epperson, Drew Kaser
Oklahoma Player to Watch: Jalen Saunders
Junior wideout Jalen Saunders, who missed the first four games of the season because of ineligibility, exploded onto the scene against Notre Dame. He has really come on of late with 393 yards and three touchdowns on 24 catches in his last three games.
Saunders has been a critical piece in recent weeks, as the Sooners have won their last three by a combined 11 points, just barely avoiding losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
The former Fresno State playmaker is a threat all over the field, and matching up against the offensively explosive Aggies is the kind of stage where Saunders can really shine.
Texas A&M Player to Watch: Johnny Manziel
With Johnny Football having captivated the college football faithful with his electric antics, how can all eyes not be on the Aggies' quarterback Johnny Manziel?
The freshman quarterback is on pace to crack 3,500 yards passing to go with 1,200 yards rushing in a season where he has captivated audiences every weekend.
Less-than-exceptional performances against Florida and LSU amounted to losses for the Aggies, but otherwise, the first-year star has been outstanding in Texas A&M's first season in the SEC.
Chalked up for a clash against an old rival, but a familiar program, Manziel's efforts against Oklahoma will be under heavy scrutiny.
Jones vs. Manziel
The two starting quarterbacks are the unequivocal leaders for both teams. Jones is the experienced rock at the back who is always capable of huge numbers.
Manziel is the new kid on the block who has left everyone in his wake. The freshman is a dynamic option at quarterback. In Kevin Sumlin's potent system, Manziel is a handful for just about any defense.
Pass vs. Pass
Oklahoma ranks fifth in passing offense, while Texas A&M comes in 14th.
So as Kenny Stills and Jalen Saunders will do business for the Sooners, Mike Evans and Ryan Swope will do the same for the Aggies. It will be a battle to behold since both teams can slow it down and run the ball.
The scoreboard figures to be very busy when these two teams get together. The Sooners are scoring just over 40 points per game on the season, while the Aggies are topping them with nearly 45 points per contest.
And in Big 12 country where scoring will come in bunches, the two sides of the scoreboard will be a sight to see.
Oklahoma Will Win If...
Oklahoma's best chance at winning comes with a standout game from its senior quarterback Landry Jones.
The gunslinger will do the lion's share of the work between the 20s, but his passing proficiency is what can run with the explosive Texas A&M offense.
"First to 40" might be the mantra of this year's Cotton Bowl, and Jones is a huge key to unlocking those kind of gaudy numbers.
With the kind of weapons Jones has at his disposal, notably Kenny Stills and Jalen Saunders, the Sooners are very explosive in their own right. If the Aggies do not come to play defense, there will be plenty of weight on the shoulders of Johnny Manziel if Jones comes out on fire.
Texas A&M Will Win If...
The Aggies have a winning chance as long as Johnny Manziel shows up.
Oklahoma has struggled to defend mobile quarterbacks, but despite respectable games from Geno Smith, Clint Chelf and Trevone Boykin, the Sooners managed to hold onto wins against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU.
Manziel did struggle in losing efforts against top-tier defenses in Florida and LSU, but with Oklahoma coming in ranked 44th in total defense, Manziel will have his opportunities to put up points.
And as prolific an offense as Oklahoma's, the Aggies cannot afford to leave points on the field.
Prediction: 42-38 Oklahoma
A good offense does make a good defense, but the general consensus may still maintain that defense wins championships. And in this case, defense can win Cotton Bowls.
The defensively stout Sooners and Bob Stoops look to prepare heavily against the offensively gifted Aggies and Kevin Sumlin.
Senior Landry Jones brings a wealth of experience, which the freshman Johnny Manziel lacks in droves. That alone may prove to be a big difference in a matchup that will be full of adjustments.
The slightest edge goes to Oklahoma, although Manziel's effort is always an X-factor.