- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
Here are five storylines to keep an eye on when Oklahoma faces Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on Friday.
1. Heisman jinx?
Will Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel suffer from any sort of Heisman jinx? While the redshirt freshman was on his cross country media tour after winning the award, the Sooners were preparing to stop him on Jan. 4. OU’s defense has a lot of pride and has taken a lot of heat in the home stretch of the season. They can quiet critics by shutting down Manziel.
2. Landry Jones' legacy
The Oklahoma quarterback has been one of the best and most successful quarterbacks in school history. He can leave on a terrific note with his fourth bowl win of his career. Jones took a lot of criticism during his days in crimson and cream but his production will be tough to overlook if he wins the 40th game of his career in the Cotton Bowl.
3. NFL draft showcase?
The eyes of football fans will be on the Cotton Bowl on Friday. It’s an opportunity for several Sooners to impress NFL scouts. Multiple juniors, including safety Tony Jefferson, receiver Kenny Stills, cornerback Aaron Colvin and fullback Trey Millard, could decide to leave early for the NFL, and the Cotton Bowl provides a great venue to impress NFL scouts. Meanwhile, seniors such as Jones and tackle Lane Johnson will have the opportunity to increase their draft stock with solid final games.
4. Conference loyalty
The Sooners get an opportunity to send a message for the rest of the Big 12 with a win against the Aggies. The SEC is considered the best conference in the nation, but if OU can knock off the hottest team from that conference, it would strike a blow for Big 12 loyalists.
5. Bragging rights on the trail
As hot as the Aggies are on the field, they could be even hotter off the field. Texas A&M ranks No. 7 in ESPN.com’s class rankings, with several commitments from players the Aggies beat the Sooners to secure. If OU can win the Cotton Bowl, they’ll have bragging rights to use against the Aggies when prospects are considering both schools. While a win is unlikely to completely change a prospect’s mind, it could slow the Aggies' momentum on the recruiting trail.
6dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon