> Conference realignment: Even though talk of conference realignment has quieted, no one believes it is dead. It is likely to come up again in the future.
OSU would've had a soft spot to land had the Big 12 split earlier this year. That was largely because of the Cowboys' improved facilities and upgraded commitment to football. But when conference realignment rears its ugly head again, domination over a traditional power such as Texas A&M would be another significant feather in OSU's cowboy hat.
> Competing with the big boys: Besting Texas A&M is not the be all, end all that it used to be. Time was, if you had the Aggies' number, you were in a national championship contender.
But if OSU wants to regularly contend for title — and the Cowboys say that they do — moving up in the pecking order is progress toward that goal. It shows sustained excellence. It demonstrates long-term commitment.
"You always want to beat OU and Texas," Cowboy receiver Hubert Anyiam said. "But you've got to take it step by step."
Lose to Texas A&M Thursday, and it's a step back for OSU.
Win, and it further cements where the Cowboys stand — in front of the Aggies.