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Oklahoma softball: Why the Sooners can't seem to shake Texas A&M

COMMENTARY — What conference realignment? Texas A&M may have left the Big 12 for the SEC, but you'd never know it if you're a fan of the Oklahoma Sooners. The Aggies are back (again) this week to face OU in an NCAA softball super regional.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 20, 2013
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photo - Lauren Chamberlain celebrates a home run during the Norman Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division I Softball Women's College World Series as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play the Arkansas Razorbacks at Marita Hines Field, Sunday, May 19, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Lauren Chamberlain celebrates a home run during the Norman Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division I Softball Women's College World Series as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners play the Arkansas Razorbacks at Marita Hines Field, Sunday, May 19, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma continues its march toward the Women's College World Series later this week in NCAA softball super regional action.

The opponent?

Texas A&M.

Of course.

The Sooners can't get away from the Aggies.

Even though Texas A&M bolted the Big 12 for the SEC last summer, the Sooners can't turn around without running into the Aggies. This week's softball showdown will be the third time in six months that OU and A&M have squared off in a big-time competition.

We haven't even had a chance to miss the Aggies because it doesn't even seem like they've left.

Not that that's a bad thing.

Texas A&M's departure, after all, has been the hardest for the Big 12 to stomach.

Nebraska, for all its football tradition, didn't have a bunch of programs that were regular conference championship contenders. Ditto for Colorado and Missouri.

Now, before the Cornhuskers, Buffaloes and Tigers get their dander up, I didn't say they had none of those programs. There just weren't a ton.

That's where Texas A&M was different.

Even though football was down before the Aggies left the Big 12, they still weren't bad on the gridiron. And they were really pretty good in a bunch of other sports. Women's basketball. Men's basketball. Softball. Baseball. Soccer.

But as much as anything, Texas A&M felt like a Big 12 school. No doubt the Aggies have fit in quite nicely in the SEC, but that didn't make them any less like a part of the Big 12. The campus. The geography. The culture. The importance of football.

Frankly, the Aggies' passion for the pigskin made it most difficult to see them go.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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