Cotton Bowl 2013: Dueling Quarterbacks Sure to Excite in Shootout

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 3, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Johnny Manziel of the Texas A&M University Aggies poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy after being named the 78th Heisman Memorial Trophy Award winner at a press conference at the Marriott Marquis on December 8, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The bowl season has provided some great shootouts, and there's still some yet to come. But none has featured a quarterback matchup quite like this season's Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

On one side, there's Johnny Manziel, quarterback extraordinaire. Throwing for 3,419 yards and rushing for 1,181 additional yards, Johnny Football became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy.

This will be Manziel's first ever bowl game, and it seems only fitting that it's in the legendary Cotton Bowl.

His opponent will be Landry Jones, a grizzled veteran with a chip on his shoulder. The senior QB has thrown for 3,989 yards this season and is a lock for a third 4,000 passing season in a row.

While both players are at completely different stages in their careers, it seems only fitting that they will meet in this bowl game matchup.

Johnny Football could be one of the best college football players ever. But regular season stats will only get him so far. It's the last game of the season that truly counts.

The Aggies have suffered some inconsistencies this season, but come into the Cotton Bowl at 10-2. A win here would prove that A&M has what it takes to be an SEC team.

So while it's been a prolific season for both Manziel and the Aggies program, none of it would feel complete without a Cotton Bowl victory.

For Jones, the situation is completely different.

The senior quarterback isn't trying to set a precedent for the remainder of his career, but instead is chasing a benchmark he set much earlier.

Jones was a stud in his sophomore year, throwing for over 4,000 yards on his way to a Fiesta Bowl victory. As a junior, the sky was the limit.

But instead of playing in the Championship game, Jones stumbled in 2011. The Sooners were relegated to the Insight Bowl and a 10-3 finish on the season.

While the Cotton Bowl isn't a BCS game, it's still a huge step forward. Texas A&M represents a big-time SEC opponent, providing the kind of career caper Jones needs.

A strong showing here could also do wonders to raise his draft stock, as he looks to enter the NFL draft this Spring.

There's such different story lines here, but the script remains the same: win the game.

That means both these players will be at their best and should provide some fantastic fireworks.

The dynamic Manziel, shredding the defense on his way to the end zone. Jones with his big arm, threading bullets to his receivers anywhere on the field.

As a college football fan, if that doesn't get you excited, what will?