Oklahoma continues its march toward the Women's College World Series later this week in NCAA softball super regional action.
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.
Gone was The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band playing its Aggie War Hymn.
Gone was the 12th Man.
Gone was the swaying Kyle Field.
Gone was the Texas-Texas A&M game, a Thanksgiving week treat even for non-Longhorns and non-Aggies.
Although I'm not sure the Sooners have had a chance to actually miss any of that about the Aggies.
Texas A&M hadn't been in the SEC five minutes when the men's basketball team faced the Sooners in the All-College Classic. OU triumphed that December afternoon, but it was a physical, ugly game.
There was more ugliness a few weeks later when the Sooners and Aggies met in the Cotton Bowl — but it was really only gnarly for the guys in crimson. Texas A&M and the one-man wrecking crew known as Johnny Manziel took it to OU.
And now comes the softball regional.
The Sooners look like a team for the ages.
They have a dominant ace in Keilani Ricketts. She posted a 1.21 ERA, a miniscule mark in college softball. She struck out 291 batters. She has five no-hitters — this season.
That would be enough to make the Sooners a tough bunch, but they have an offense that makes them downright scary. OU is hitting .338 as a team, third best in the country, and has smashed 86 home runs.
The team that's hit the most?
The Aggies have 101 homers.
The Sooners and the Aggies start up their rivalry again at 6 p.m. Thursday — if the rivalry ever really stopped.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.