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Category: Most to Lose and Most to Gain
Texas A&M just left the Big 12 for the SEC this season. There are a full three recruiting classes that will take the field against Oklahoma that have already played Oklahoma. Most of the players have even played against Landry Jones.
That puts a ton of pressure on the Aggies this postseason. Assuming that the Heisman favorite actually wins the Heisman, that will be Johnny Manziel. Manziel and the Aggies can prove a few things by beating Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl:
1. Manziel did actually deserve the Heisman (assuming, of course, he wins it in the first place).
2. The SEC's gauntlet of teams is better than the Big 12's. (By preparing the Aggies for the postseason better than Oklahoma's schedule prepared for it.)
3. The Aggies' move to the SEC was one of the best decisions ever made by the athletic department.
4. Texas A&M is no longer anyone's "little brother."
The proof that the SEC level of competition provides better preparation will be evident in the final score. In 2011, Oklahoma beat Texas A&M 41-25.
On the other hand, a loss by the Manziel-led Aggies would be devastating to the SEC's cause. Granted, Oklahoma has a share of the Big 12 title, but after Manziel's performance against Alabama, the perception is that the Aggies are currently leaps and bounds better than anyone outside the SEC with little exception.
If the Aggies turn out to be worse than the Big 12 co-champion, it makes Alabama's spot in the BCS title game over Kansas State a little questionable. (Of course, the Big 12 can fix that by dissolving the Longhorn Network and expanding to 12 teams to get an official conference championship game.)
That's what makes bowl season so much fun, though: the lively discussions during bowl season about who deserves what.