Sooners hold Big 12 flag, but not concerned

IRVING, Texas — Texas A&M has arguably held the Big 12 flag all year by moving to the Southeastern Conference and showing that prolific, spread offenses can survive and even thrive in the defensive minded league.

They've put together a top five offense in the country, which produces more than 550 yards per game led by Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.

Now, though, some classify it as time for the Sooners to take that flag and raise it against their former Big 12 team who has excelled so much this season.

"Definitely, especially since it's an SEC team and everybody says we're two of the top-notch conferences and we want to be considered one of the top ones," said cornerback Aaron Colvin. "This is definitely going to help leading into this game."

But other players on the team insist it is not a motivating factor heading into Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

"I think for us we're just gonna kinda want to go out there and win a game," said OU quarterback Landry Jones. "I mean, maybe some, but we're more worried about winning a game. If we win a game, that's what we came here to do."

"That's one of those things that people are trying to convince us that it's an SEC versus Big 12 matchup, but when it comes down to it it's Oklahoma playing Texas A&M," said center Gabe Ikard. "We've played the last several years, so it's just one of those things where we've played essentially everyone on their defense personnel wise. It's a new scheme, but I don't think we're really using that as motivation or something or anything like that. Definitely, definitely trying to represent the Big 12 well."

So, while many may peg it as a situation where OU can show the Big 12 is on the SEC's level by defeating one of its top-notch teams, that isn't necessarily the entire focus.

"A little bit," said OU wide receiver Kenny Stills. "I feel like we could talk about it, but when I put the pads on it doesn't change anything. I'm not out there with some vengeance because they were in the Big 12 and now they're not. When we sit down and talk about it, it's cool to talk about. As long as we win on Friday, I don't think we really care."

And that will be the focus, simply winning the game.

But regardless, the conference debate will be a hot topic after this game, and many will use it as a measuring stick for the continuing discussion.

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