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Oklahoma and Texas A&M renew Big 12 acquaintances in Cotton Bowl

Both the Sooners and Aggies competed in the Big 12 before Texas A&M left for the Southeastern Conference this season. The former conference foes meet Friday night in the 77th annual Cotton Bowl outside Dallas.

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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) looks to pass as defensive back Clay Honeycutt (25) reaches in during practice for the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game last weekend in Dallas.

LM Otero/AP

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Spencer Nealy and some of his Texas A&M teammates were discussing potential bowl games even before their first SEC season began.

"We were like, how funny would it be if we made the Cotton Bowl," Nealy said. "We were looking at SEC vs. Big 12 teams. That's what we thought about, that situation."

Well, Texas A&M's season of firsts — coach Kevin Sumlin's first year, quarterback Johnny Manziel becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and the SEC debut — will end with the 10th-ranked Aggies (10-2) playing a familiar Big 12 foe.

In the only bowl matching the SEC against the Big 12, Texas A&M takes on 12th-ranked Oklahoma (10-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night. Both teams have five-game winning streaks.

"It's a little more than a game," Nealy said. "It's almost like we had a great season but we have to win this one."

In their 16 Big 12 seasons, the only time the Aggies won more than nine games was when they were 11-3 their 1998 conference title season. They left the league with a winning record (7-6) last season only after a bowl win over Northwestern.

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