#9 Texas A&M and #11 Oklahoma are set for a reunion in the 2013 Cotton Bowl tonight, the first game between the two since Texas A&M left for the SEC this season, ending their storied rivalry for the time being.
Tonight’s Cotton Bowl is one of the most compelling matchups of the bowl season, as Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel concludes his historical season,which included him winning the Heisman trophy last month, and senior Oklahoma signal caller Landry Jones caps off his college career. Jones will attempt to become only the second quarterback in history to win four bowl games as a starter and join West Virginia’s Pat White in the four bowl wins club.
But this game goes beyond the quarterback duel, no matter how intriguing that may be.
Oklahoma’s defense has steadily improved this season under head coach Bob Stoops, allowing 24 points per game but boasting one of the better defensive lines in the country, a line which could leave Manziel having to possibly rush his throws throughout the BCS contest. However, Oklahoma could have trouble containing the running threat that Manziel presents, as “Johnny Football” has rushed for 1181 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. Manziel’s running threat could be key for an Texas A&M victory tonight as that could adjust Oklahoma’s defensive gameplan throughout the game.
Ultimately, the deciding factor in this matchup looks to be both Oklahoma and Texas A&M’s offenses, as both the Sooners and the Aggies boast offenses that averaged over 40 points a game this season.
While Landry Jones has experience on his side, if Manziel can remain unaffected by Oklahoma’s strong defensive line and go through his progressions and make smart decisions on offense, I see the Texas A&M Aggies winning the 2013 Cotton Bowl in a close shootout, 38-35.
The game is on tonight at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET on ESPN.