2013 Cotton Bowl Preview

One of bowl season’s most anticipated clashes isn’t even a BCS match-up, but that’s fine by us because we still get to see the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas A&M Aggies battle it out on the grand and prestigious stage that is the Cotton Bowl Classic.

“We hit a home run,” Cotton Bowl chairman Tommy Bain said, according to ESPN.com. “When our team selection committee met for the first time a few weeks ago, we circled this matchup as the one we most wanted, and the cards fell in our favor.”

After spending its first season in the SEC this year, No. 9 A&M will renew its storied rivalry today with No.11 Oklahoma in what is sure to be one of the most exciting and entertaining games this year. With Heisman Trophy Johnny “Football” Manziel leading the way for A&M and with senior standout Landry Jones leading the way for the Sooners, we should expect a high-scoring, but also highly contested bout between the schools.

Manziel’s magical season was highlighted by an impressive upset victory over then No. 1 ranked Alabama. Although the Aggies were the only team to defeat the Crimson Tide, that didn’t stop the Tide from rolling their way to another National Championship appearance.

Heisman winner Manziel is always the X-Factor

Manziel shined, not only in that game, but all season long, accumulating more than 40 total touchdowns with more than 3,000 yards passing and nearly 1,200 on the ground. Manziel contributed heavily to the nation’s third ranked offense in total yards; an offense that also scored more than 40 points per game, which is especially impressive, considering they faced SEC defenses in most of those contests.

Like many, Sooners coach Bob Stoops admires what the Aggies were able to accomplish this season, but said his squad is up for the challenge.

“Another excellent football team, 10-2, ranked eighth or ninth in the country, a team that has won five or six straight games down the stretch,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Texas A&M. “It begins with their offense and Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy winner. … It’ll be a special bowl game and we’re looking forward to it.”

That’s because Stoops’ guys can play too. Throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 30 TDs this season, Landry Jones leads a potent Sooners attack that also scores more than 40 points per game. In fact, the Sooners are ranked 10th in the country in scoring.

Obviously we should have a shootout on our hands here, but don’t expect these teams to go over 110 points, which is the number that the over/under is set on right now at Bovada. These teams average about 40 points per game, but those numbers should be slightly lower against stiffer defenses. Take the under here.

As far as the spread goes, I like A&M to get the win and cover -3.5 today. These teams are very evenly matched on both sides of the ball, but Manziel is the X-Factor presence that should push the Aggies on to victory, much the same as what we saw in the Alabama game earlier this year.