The Aggies are #9 in the newest BCS Standings just announced on the ESPN BCS selection show tonight and they're headed for a bowl game, but not the one some might have expected. Texas A&M will return to the Big 12 days they left behind just one year ago. They are now set to face Oklahoma in the 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl classic in Arlington, Texas on January 4, 2013.
News spread quickly. According to a tweet from Aggie Football one hour ago:
@AggieFootball: Texas A&M to Play Oklahoma in 2013 AT&T Cotton bowl - http://t.co/J5SOEyCq #12thMan
Oklahoma's football fanatics, Sooner Nation, tweeted their news:
@SoonerSportscom: Oklahoma #Sooners will play Texas A&M in AT&T Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4, 2013 at 7 p.m. CT on FOX.
Not to be behind in the social media whirl: it’s already posted on the AT&T Cotton Bowl web site:
“It’s Official: Aggies vs. Sooners: The 77th AT&T Cotton Bowl is sold out!”
All the Cotton Bowl executives are delighted.
“We hit a home run today,” Tommy Bain, Chairman of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic said. “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 today.”
It’s a bittersweet choice to be sure. When the Aggies were most recently in the Cotton Bowl, they were members of the Big 12, and they lost to LSU 41-24. Oklahoma is making their second appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic, led by quarterback Landry Jones.
On one hand, just 12 weeks ago, most sports pundits wouldn’t have even thought Texas A&M would be bowl-worthy in their first year in the SEC, but then again, not many people knew about head Coach Kevin Sumlin and Offensive Coach Kliff Kingsbury and their “Air Raid Offense,” which was executed expertly all season by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, and an offensive line that protected and provided exciting execution all season long. The Aggie defense was unstoppable at times, denying all the best offenses much yardage, particularly at home on Kyle Field.
Also moments ago, the final BCS standings were just revealed on the Discover BCS Bowl Selection show on ESPN.
1. Notre Dame (12-1) .998
2. Alabama (12-1) .944
3. Florida (11-1) .898
4. Oregon (11-1) .862
5. Kansas State (11-1) .823
6. Stanford (11-2) .768
7. University of Georgia (11-2) .758
8. LSU (10-2) .676
9. Texas A&M (10-2) .676
10. South Carolina (10-2) .660
11. Oklahoma (10-2) .650
12. Florida State (11-2) .505
13. Oregon State (9-3) .472
14. Clemson (10-2) .469
15. Northern Illinois (12-1) .328
16. Nebraska (10-3) .326
17. UCLA (9-4) .287
18. Michigan (8-4) .254
19. Boise State (10-2) .251
20. Northwestern (9-3) .233
21. Louisville (10-2).181
22. Utah State (10-2) .179
23. Texas (8-4) .152
24. San Jose State (10-2) .135
25. Kent State (11-2) .077
Here's the official bowl Game lineup:
Discover BCS National Championship, January 7th, 7:30 CST ESPN
Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1)
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio, January 1, ESPN
Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, January 3, ESPN
Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1)
Allstate Sugar Bowl, January 2nd, ESPN
Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida (11-1)
Discover Orange Bowl, January 1, ESPN
Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2)
Capital One Bowl, January 1
Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)
AT&T Cotton Bowl, January 4, 7 pm CST on Fox
Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
Valero Alamo Bowl, December 29
Oregon State (9-3) vs. University of Texas (8-4)
Notre Dame is trying for 1st national championship since 1988 and their standing and bowl game selection was as expected. But they'll have to go through Alabama to claim the final top spot, and the Crimson Tide isn't going down without a fight. But then again, Notre Dame are the Fighting Irish; enough said.
However, the biggest surprise in tonight's announcements was the matchup between Northern Illinois vs. Florida State. Although Northern Illinois’ former head coach, Dave Doeren, just accepted a job at NC State, after only two seasons at the helm, quarterback Jordan Lynch expressed confidence that their team would be just fine without their top chief and emphasized their right to be in their bowl game. Sportscasters on ESPN were particularly biased against Northern Illinois because their standing in the MAC was not considered bowl-worthy. Whether or not the sportscasters wanted it, Northern Illinois is there, with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel will face a great quarterback in Oklahoma's Landry Jones, so it's going to be a matter of brilliant play calling and perfect execution. It’s time (again) to play some football. The national championship is not at stake in the Cotton Bowl, but there's a great deal of school pride to fight for.
The bottom line on all the bowl games comes down to the “BCS rule”: You can’t have more than two teams from one conference in these games. That rule definitely seems to penalize a conference where you have more than two teams (e.g., SEC) worthy of playing in the high-profile bowls, but any changes to that rule will have to come next year. This will be the Aggies' 13th visit to the Cotton Bowl, so all the fans know the way to Arlington.
Tonight, the numbers are up, the invitations are in, and the television schedule is set. As the accompanying video here reminds us: let the holidays begin, in them old cotton fields back home. Look out Notre Dame, remember Texas A&M beat Alabama and as the Aggies always say, "Wait until next year, and Gig 'em."