For the Friday Oklahoman, I wrote about the Cotton Bowl as a showdown for conference pride. You can read that column here.
Lots of Sooners had interesting things to say, and I couldn’t fit it all in. Here are some leftover comments.
Defensive end R.J. Washington: “I think it’s going to be a great game. Winningest quarterback in OU history and Johnny Heisman. It’s going to be a great game. I’m excited. A&M just got to the SEC, and they’re still going to be talking that trash, the fans. It’s a little bit of a rivalry, I guess. We’ve gotta represent the Big 12, since we’ve done that so many times in the past.”
Co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell: “Kind of still feels like they’re in our conference. We’ve played ‘em for so long. But anytime you’re in a bowl game, and you’re playing against a team from another conference, you want to match up. We have a lot of good teams in our league. Look at what Baylor did to UCLA the other night. They’re a tough matchup. It’s interesting to see the cross-conference challenges in these bowl games. So there’s no question we want to represent the Big 12, and now that A&M’s part of the SEC, it’s a big challenge for us.”
Defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland: “We all know that A&M is trying to turn that corner and coming to an SEC groove. We’ve played against a lot of these guys. We don’t know when’s the next time you’re going to play ‘em. So you want to come out on top.”
Quarterback Landry Jones: “I think being a part of the Big 12, you always root for your guys. Always root for your conference. You want your conference to do as well as they can. You want them to play well and play to the best of their abilities. More worried about just winning the game. If we execute the way we can, I think we’re going to play extremely well. For us, it’s more of playing well and winning the football game.”
Cornerback Demontre Hurst: “Going into the bowl season, each conference tries to come out with the most wins. For us to even represent the Big 12 Conference in the Cotton Bowl, it’s a great honor. We’re just trying to finish off our season strong, get a win for the Big 12 Conference. Give our young guys confidence going into next season. There’s a lot of pride in the Big 12. Them guys left and went to the SEC and did a great job.”
Split end Justin Brown: “It’s definitely a big deal and people take it serious. You wanted your conference to be known as one of the top conferences in the country. But I don’t think it gets too deep into the conference thing.”
Cornerback Aaron Colvin: “We’re really just coming out here and play our game. Really just want the victory, honestly. That was an old rivalry in the Big 12, but we don’t look at it as we gotta win because we played ‘em before. We want to win every game.”
Halfback Brennan Clay: “It’s going to show us where we’re really at. We know who won last year. We handled our business last year and we’re going to do it again. Them leaving the conference, whatever they have to say about it, that doesn’t bother us at all, doesn’t affect us. You’ve still got to perform on the field.”
Center Gabe Ikard: “I think people are making a big deal out of the Big 12/SEC type thing. But what it comes down to, this is a team we’ve played every year for the last several years. I don’t think it’s really a conference pride thing for us. It’s playing another really good football team. It’s about coming down here and winning the game.”
Fullback Trey Millard: “They’re new to the SEC. Kind of funny, we played ‘em the last two years. Everybody kind of puts the SEC ahead of the Big 12. We definitely have pride in our conference. They’re a great conference, too. A great team from that conference.”