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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Decisions that defined OU in 2012: No. 2

By Jake Trotter

From QB Landry Jones staying to defensive coordinator Mike Stoops arriving, the storylines were many for the 2012 Sooners. But sometimes, the small decisions turned out to be big ones that defined the season, too. With that in mind, here are the five decisions that probably made the biggest impact on Oklahoma's 2012 season.

Johnny Manziel
Led by QB Johnny Manziel, the Aggies romped Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
One of the rules added to the BCS was that any team from a non-AQ conference would automatically go to a BCS bowl, if they are ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS poll or ranked in the top 16 and higher than a champion of an AQ conference.

Well, this year that rule came into effect. And it cost the Sooners a BCS bowl berth.

As it turned out, MAC champion Northern Illinois finished with a top-16 ranking in the final BCS Standings, costing the Sooners a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Instead, Louisville went to the Sugar, and Northern Illinois went to the Orange. The Sooners, meanwhile, went to the Cotton, where they faced the hottest team in America not named Alabama. Texas A&M drilled OU 41-13 to end the Sooners' season on a sour note.

Had OU gone to the Sugar, who knows what would have happened? The Sooners would have faced a more favorable matchup in Florida, which no-showed in a convincing defeat to Louisville. But even if the Gators had shown up for the Sooners, OU might have been able to stay in the game. The Sooners' beleaguered defense would have been given a reprieve against Florida's pedestrian offense, and Landry Jones and his quartet of receivers might have been able to exploit Florida's secondary the way Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater did.

Alas, that matchup did not happen. And instead the Sooners faced the juggernaut of Johnny Manziel, who handed OU its third loss of the season.