I think the article is saying that while both teams in the Cotton Bowl may have the same record, Texas A&M’s version of 10-2 is clearly superior to the one sported by Oklahoma. I’m taking that from the headline and bits and pieces of the article, because it's far from clear to me.
Anyway – assuming I’m reading Cessna’s intentions correctly – they’d call this one “bulletin board material” back in the day. Whether or not Bob Stoops maintains a bulletin board in the OU locker room, though, I imagine the Sooners have picked up on the idea that Cessna’s opinion isn’t unique among the punditry.
A&M has rightfully received acclaim as one of the surprise teams of the 2012 season. It absolutely deserves plaudits for vastly exceeding expectations and scoring a monumental upset of Alabama in Bryant-Denney Stadium. The Aggies proved all of their doubters wrong and did so decisively. Yet, while outperforming expectations represents a notable achievement in and of itself, it strikes me that there’s an important line to be drawn between that and recognizing a team that “accomplished so much,” in the Cessna's words, this season.
A&M’s victory against Alabama represents the marquee win for any team in college football this year. Crimson Tide aside, however, A&M beat SMU, South Carolina State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Sam Houston State and Missouri. The best win of that group is... Louisiana Tech? Ole Miss?
There were also the close losses to LSU and Florida, of course. Can’t bring those up without also noting that the Aggies nearly dropped the Tech and Ole Miss games, too, however.
I’d agree wholeheartedly with any claim that this is not one of Stoops’ better teams. I have plenty of concerns about this matchup for the Sooners. Most of them involve the Aggies’ big uglies manhandling OU’s defensive line and linebackers (when they’re actually on the field). Johnny Manziel is the kind of mobile, playmaking quarterback that has given OU fits. I worry about Landry Jones’ predictably unpredictable lapses behind center.
But A&M’s resume shouldn’t strike fear into any Sooners’ hearts. In fact, count on Stoops, who’s 11-2 in his career against the Aggies, using it to try to put a chip on his team’s shoulder.
Let me preface this by saying that I fully realize the Sooner's have owned A&M since the Big 12 was created. They handed us our worst loss in school history, and two of the more heartbreaking losses I've watched us take over the past 10 years ('04 and I believe '06). This Sooner's team is not the best in history, but they're by no means a disgrace to those teams. I am by no means saying OU hasn't had a solid year, or shouldn't feel like they can compete with and beat this Aggie team, but if we're going to judge the A&M schedule, let's do so with a bit more than just saying who we beat, discrediting them, and saying our resume isn't worthy a certain degree of respect. Let's be honest: is there any coach in the country who, judging by our resume, WANTS to play A&M right now?
"A&M’s victory against Alabama represents the marquee win for any team in college football this year. Crimson Tide aside, however, A&M beat SMU, South Carolina State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Sam Houston State and Missouri. The best win of that group is... Louisiana Tech? Ole Miss?"
I think what's overlooked in this particular thought is the fashion of victory.
SMU: 45 point win over a bowl team with a freshman QB in his second start ever.
SCS: 56 point win, 70 points put on the board, admittedly against an FCS team.
Arkansas: 48 point win, over 1 drive into the 3rd (though many would say at the half).
Ole Miss: Come-from-behind-win with a freshman QB in his first road game against a bowl-eligible and surprisingly improved Ole Miss team who benefited from SIX A&M turnovers (and also took LSU and Vandy to the wire)
LaTech: Missing 3 key starters (Jonathan Stewart, Howard Matthews, and DeShazor Everett; the first two to suspension, the latter to injury) against a team who played their best offensive game of their lives in what was arguably the biggest game in their school's history, and basically a home game 45 minutes down the road from Ruston, LA in my old stomping grounds of Shreveport, LA. Also a bowl-eligible team and one many had pegged as a legitimate BCS buster before dropping an essentially "truly meaningful season-ending loss" for to the Aggies.
Auburn: 42 point win, handed them their worst home loss ever, in a game that was over after the first quarter.
Miss st.: Destroyed a bowl-eligible team, in game that was over before halftime, with a 25 point win on the road.
SHS: 47-0 after the first drive of the third quarter. Over before it began.
Mizzou: Over before halftime, 30 point win to seal Johnny's Heisman validity.
It's not like we slipped by everyone. The people we beat, aside from Ole Miss and LaTech, we destroyed (and you could even say we destroyed LaTech's defense, even though they shredded ours as well). Florida was Johnny's first-ever start against what panned out to be a Top 5 team AND defense in the nation, only losing by 3.
We then lose to LSU by 5 committing 5 turnovers to their zero, with two being dropped or tipped passes, and having a 30 yard TD called back.
A&M has solid a resume as any 10-2 team in the country, and it's one that should be feared. And, just as A&M's resume sells a very convincing story, OU's shows they can put up points with the best offenses out there.
It'll be an excellent game, I can't wait, but let's not downplay an impressive A&M resume.
Also, we didn't destroy Alabama, I should clarify that, though, given our lack of turnovers, turnovers forced, and total offense, I'd say, from a strictly match-up (Barrett Jones getting beat by Spencer Nealy, our O-Line against their D-Line, our secondary forcing TO's, Johnny vs. their game plan, Ryan Swope and Mike Evans against their d-backs, etc.) and an execution standpoint (no turnovers, only one truly blown play all game, clutch scores and/or stops when they mattered most), we beat them in sound fashion.