Oklahoma and Texas A&M weren't expected to see each other again so soon after the Aggies' departure for the SEC, but the schools were matched up for what looked like it would be an exciting Cotton Bowl game. Texas A&M led 14-13 at halftime, and outscored the Sooners 27-0 in the second half on the arms and legs of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's brilliant performance. The freshman quarterback rushed for 229 yards, passed for 287 and scored four touchdowns.
Strongest unit entering 2013: Wide receivers
Senior Justin Brown is gone, and Kenny Stills may choose to skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, which would leave OU without its top two receivers from the 2012-13 season. Still, the unit looks strong for the foreseeable future. Saunders will return, and freshmen Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal each showed flashes of their capabilities. With another spring, Trey Metoyer, who was expected to have an immediate impact, could begin to reach his high potential. Another freshman, Derrick Woods, redshirted but shined on the scout team. Plus, OU has two receivers committed for its class of 2013, and is still in the running for five-star prospect Laquon Treadwell.
Weakest unit entering 2013: Defensive line
Oklahoma's senior-dominated defensive line struggled for much of the 2012-13 season, and leaves behind an inexperienced group with lots of question marks. Chuka Ndulue will be the unit's only returning starter, and Geneo Grissom, who began the season at tight end, looks like the favorite to claim the other defensive end spot. Talented but raw freshmen Michael Onuoha and Charles Tapper, along with junior Chaz Nelson, sophomore Rashod Favors and redshirt freshman P.L. Lindley, all could earn playing time with solid offseason improvements. At defensive tackle, the situation is far more grim; Oklahoma returns virtually no experience at the position. Jordan Phillips played some this season, but remains extremely raw. Expect junior-college transfer Quincy Russell, who has already signed and will be with the team for spring football, to immediately see playing time.
Biggest offseason storyline: Quarterback battle
The defense's problems aren't going away, and are certainly an important offseason storyline. But for the first time since the 2007 season, Oklahoma enters a spring with an open quarterback competition. Blake Bell, known for his popular short-yardage package, was Landry Jones' backup this season and will enter the spring as the favorite to replace him. But true freshman Trevor Knight, who redshirted this season, shined on the scout team and will definitely have an opportunity to start next season. If junior Drew Allen chooses to stick around — he could, under certain circumstances, transfer to another FBS school without having to sit out a season — he'll probably have something to say about Bell's automatic assumption of the OU quarterback job, too.