Cotton Bowl 2013: 5 Oklahoma Starters Better Than Texas A&M Counterparts
The Aggies made a name for themselves in the SEC this year by defeating Alabama and finishing the regular season in the BCS top 10. Their freshman quarterback, Johnny Manziel, made a name for himself as well by winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy
The Aggies are 4.5 point favorites over the Sooners. Oklahoma feature a bevy of playmakers on offense as well including senior signal caller Landry Jones. They went 11-2 in 2012 with losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame in Norman.
The Aggies have one of the best players in the country, and Oklahoma has plenty of playmakers as well.
Here are five Oklahoma starters better than their Texas A&M counterparts.
Running Back: Damien Williams over Ben Malena
Williams transferred to Oklahoma from Arizona Western in the offseason and has taken over the running back job since. He is the focal point in Oklahoma's run game while Ben Malena didn't even lead his own team in rushing.
Williams averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 75.4 yards per game in 2012. Malena averaged 5.8 yards per carry but finished with over 400 yards less than A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and rushed 30 less times than Williams.
Landry Jones hands the ball to his running backs more than Manziel, giving Williams more of a chance to take over a game than Malena.
Teams game-plan for Williams more than Malena. Williams is also more of a difference maker than Malena, making him the better player at the position.
Wide Receiver: Kenny Stills over Mike Evans
Stills has been Oklahoma's big-play threat at the position for the past two seasons. He led the Sooners with 892 yards and 11 touchdowns. Evans finished with over 1,000 yards, but had just five touchdowns.
Evans is the best receiver for Texas A&M, but Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, was their main offensive threat in 2012. Manziel cut into Evans' touchdown production, but in order to be a big-play receiver, you have to score.
Each receiver benefits from pass-first, style offenses. However, Stills is the go-to guy when a big play is needed. The Sooners might have an extra loss if it weren't for Stills' game-winning touchdown catch against West Virginia on Nov. 17.
Evans has a bright future, but Stills has already asserted himself as one of the best receivers in the Big 12. Stills has the experience and has made the plays. He is the better player at the position.
Safety: Tony Jefferson over Steven Terrell
Jefferson finished sixth in the nation with 6.58 solo tackles per game and finished with 113 total tackles. He was named the starting safety on the 2012 All-Big 12 team after being named 2010 Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and honorable mention Big 12 in 2011.
Terrell finished with 58 total tackles. He started every game for the Aggies and finished with more tackles for a loss than Jefferson. However, he isn't the playmaker Jefferson has become.
Jefferson is one of the best safeties in the nation. He's Oklahoma's best defensive player and has the ability to impact the game in a major way. His playmaking skills give him the edge over Terrell.
Cornerback: Aaron Colvin over Deshazor Everett
Colvin was a major part of Oklahoma's defense. He helped the unit hold opponents to just 197.7 yards per game and nine touchdowns. Everett and the Aggies gave up 248.4 yards per game and surrendered 16 touchdowns.
The Aggies gave up more yards in the SEC than the Sooners gave up in the Big 12. The SEC is supposed to be a ground-and-pound league while the Big 12 is known for its high-powered, passing attacks.
Colvin is one of the best corners in the nation and helped lead one of the nation's best pass defenses. Everett is a talented player, but his production doesn't compare to Colvin's.
Quarterback: Landry Jones over Johnny Manziel
Manziel was college football's best playmaker in 2012, but the quarterback position is more than just playmaking, especially in a high-powered passing attack.
Jones finished with better overall passing number than Manziel in 2012.
Jones finished with 3,989 yards (332.4 YPG), 29 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 65.5 completion percentage.
Manziel finished with 3,419 yards (284.9 YPG), 24 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 68.2 completions percentage.
There's no doubt Manziel is the better runner, finishing with 1,342 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. However, Manziel's offense is built around his playmaking abilities on the ground. Oklahoma's offense is built around Jones' ability to throw the ball with accuracy.
Manziel deserved the 2012 Heisman, but Jones' experience and ability to spin the pigskin makes him the best signal-caller in the 2013 Cotton Bowl.