NORMAN — Tommy Bain has a message for disgruntled Oklahoma fans: He understands why you're upset.
“I was disappointed for Oklahoma that they didn't achieve that element that they wanted, with a BCS bowl,” said Bain, the Cotton Bowl chairman, in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman.
“I told Coach (Bob) Stoops that. But once a fan realizes that they're playing in the second- or third-best postseason game, all of the sudden you say, ‘This is a good matchup.'”
Despite the initial shock and disappointment of seeing Northern Illinois slide into — and knock OU out of — the BCS picture, Cotton Bowl tickets are in high demand among Sooner fans.
OU's entire, 13,000-plus ticket allotment was sold out 16 hours after announcing its matchup with No. 9 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 4 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The next day, OU's athletic department announced it would make $50 “Standing Room Only” (SRO) tickets available to season-ticket holders.
Scooter Proctor of oklahomatickets.com said Thursday that his SRO tickets are going for $192 and tickets with a seat are in the $320 range.
Stubhub.com's cheapest Cotton Bowl ticket with a seat is listed at $210. Meanwhile, hundreds of tickets to see Northern Illinois and Florida State play in the Orange Bowl were listed for under $50; dozens were at $10 or less.
Proctor said some of the Cowboys Stadium suites, which seat 20, are going from $25,000 to $45,000.
“The market's incredible,” Proctor said. “I don't know that it will hold up. But it's a pretty big ticket right now. Between Texas A&M and us, meeting in the middle, having Jerry'sWorld (stadium), I think it's turned into kind of a frenzy.
“It's after New Year's Eve on a Friday, everybody wants to come down, have a weekend in Dallas.”
Brandon Drumm, 29, an Air Force senior airman and Piedmont native, and his family are longtime OU season-ticket holders. He'll make the Cotton Bowl trip with his wife, his brother and his brother's girlfriend.
“I think everybody was pretty disappointed,” Drumm said of the initial announcement. “But the subplots of this game are awesome.
“Playing against the probable Heisman Trophy winner and Kevin Sumlin. They just left the Big 12.”
Some Sooner fans — even ones making the trip — aren't as fired up to face Johnny Manziel and Sumlin, the Aggies' head coach and a former OU assistant.
Zachary Friesenhahn, 20, an OU student from Dallas, is one of them.
“I'm not nearly as excited for the Cotton Bowl as I would have been for the Sugar,” said Friesenhahn, who still bought Cotton Bowl tickets with his family.
“I've seen OU play A&M so many times, I care more about the outcome than about watching this game.”
Texas A&M was in the Big 12 Conference from its inception in 1996 through last year.
The Aggies posted an impressive 10-2 record in their inaugural SEC season, which included an upset win at then-No. 1 Alabama.
Manziel is a Heisman Trophy finalist, and the odds-on favorite to win the prestigious award Saturday; he passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 scores this season.
“I think if you like scoring, this is your game,” said Drumm, who is stationed in Dover, Del.
“I think it's gonna be a nail biter.”