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December 2, 2012

Aggies, Sooners face off in Cotton Bowl

When Texas A&M and Oklahoma played at Owen Field in early November 2011, a lot of people believed the two would not play again for a long time.

If 14 months is a long time, they nailed it.

The two former Big 12 South adversaries will renew unpleasantries Jan. 4, 2013, with the Aggies serving as the SEC's representatives at the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington. The matchup, which became clear late Sunday afternoon, capped a confusing day that saw A&M moved from its anticipated slot in the Capital One Bowl to the Chick-fil-a Bowl before eventually ending up close to home.

"We hit a home run today," Cotton Bowl Chairman Tommy Bain said in a statement. "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."

Bain said the matchup of A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC) and Oklahoma (10-2, 8-1 Big 12) was highly appealing for a number of reasons.

"This is such an exciting matchup for us. Texas A&M has enjoyed a tremendous season. Potentially, the Aggies could bring the Heisman Trophy back to our game for the first time in 14 years with quarterback Johnny Manziel," he said. "To me, the most exciting aspect of this game is the special friendship that exists between the two head coaches. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin spent five seasons on the OU coaching staff under Bob Stoops. It's going to be fun getting them back together at this year's Classic."

Sumlin said he was looking forward to playing in a game with the Cotton Bowl's pedigree in a location close to home.

"Our football team is excited to play another game against a storied program such as Oklahoma," he said. "We have been led all year by a great group of seniors and to be rewarded with a great experience like the Cotton Bowl is something they will cherish. Plenty of their family and friends will be able to watch them play as well and the hospitality is second to none."

The Aggies beat OU in their last meeting at Kyle Field 33-19 during their 6-game winning streak in 2010 that ended with the team in the Cotton Bowl; the Sooners returned the favor 41-25 last year. With Sumlin at the helm and Manziel running the offense, the Aggies are a very different football team -- whether the outcome will be different will be determined in six weeks.

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