Big 12

2011 College Football Big Game Preview: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

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The last time we talked about the "15 Games That Will Decide The National Champion" series we were in the SEC West and discussing the battle between Nick Saban and Les Miles.

I'm an SEC homer but even a non-SEC fan would find it hard to believe that the National Championship this year will not involve an SEC team. Alabama, LSU and Arkansas are the most likely contenders from the SEC but who else will step up to challenge them? The most popular pick this year has been Oklahoma. The Texas Longhorns were down last year and even though they look to be better in 2011 it looks like the Sooners have temporarily unseated them as the team to beat in the Big 12. For our next game we go to Norman to check up on the Sooners.

Texas A&M Aggies at Oklahoma Sooners

When: November 5th

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Where: Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma

The hottest home ticket for Oklahoma this year is their match-up with the Aggies of Texas A&M. It wasn't long ago that the Aggies had lost their luster. The Aggies are a team that is rich in tradition as they hold a National Championship (as well as some that aren't as widely recognized), 18 Conference Championships, and they've played in 32 bowl games. If you look back to the 80s and the 90s you would regularly find Texas A&M among the top 10 or 15 teams in the country. The Aggies had a run from 1991 to 1994 where they hit double digit wins every year but after 1998 they went downhill. From that point forward the Aggies have not hit double digits in any season. In fact, they've even had four losing seasons. Their losing season in 2003 was their first since 1982. I will stop here with the history lesson and get to the point. This A&M squad is poised to be the Aggies first double digit winner since 1998.

Look no further than senior leadership on the offensive side of the football for the Aggies as a reason why their fanbase is optimisitic towards this season. They are led by seniors QB Ryan Tannehill (who led the Aggies to six straight wins to close the regular season in 2010 after taking over the starting job), RB Cyrus Gray (1133 yards and 12 TD in 2010), and WR Jeff Fuller (1,066 yard receiving and 12 TD in 2010). That's a ton of offensive firepower back for the Aggies. They also have the second most experienced OL in the Big 12. They have the ability to be a dynamic team on offense this year and the rest of the conference should take note.

The Oklahoma Sooners only lost to two teams last year, the Missouri Tigers and the Texas A&M Aggies. This year the Sooner venture down to Tallahasse early in the year and then host Missouri the very next week. They also have a rivalry game against Texas and a potential tricky match-up with Texas Tech. I think through this point of the season the two games that will be the most meaningful for the Sooners will be FSU and A&M. And it's really hard to picture FSU beating OU after what happened last year. That being said, stranger things have happened and that's why they play the games. Texas A&M plays a pretty tough schedule and prior to facing off with the Sooners they must play Okie State and Arkansas in back to back games. It's hard to picture the Aggies coming out of both games with victories but if they do then this one could be for all of the Big 12 marbles and for a shot at a place in the National Championship Game. Will the Aggies be playing spoiler or be playing for much more?

15 Games That Will Decide The National Champion:

LSU vs. Oregon- Sept 3

Boise State vs. Georgia- Sept 3

Oklahoma at FSU- Sept 17

Arkansas at Alabama- Sept 24

LSU at West Virginia- Sept 24

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M- Sept 24

Arkansas vs Texas A&M- Oct 1

Ohio State at Nebraska- Oct 8

Wisconsin at Ohio State- Oct 29

LSU at Alabama- Nov 5