* OU's defense against Florida in the 2008 national title game was solid, too. The Gators, with a bevy of talent led by Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin, averaged 45.2 points a game but scored just 24 on the Sooners. The Gators totaled 480 yards, but OU had two takeaways to keep the game close.
* In other Cotton Bowls, Big 12 defenses have played decently. Nebraska's 2006 team gave up just 17 points to Auburn, which had been averaging 25.4. Arkansas scored just seven points on Missouri a year later. OSU gave up just 14 offensive points to Ole Miss in the 2009 season Cotton Bowl. Kansas State hung tough with Arkansas in the 2011 season Cotton Bowl, giving up 29 points to a team that was averaging 37.4.
* In regular-season games, Georgia scored just 14 points at Colorado in 2006 and 10 points at OSU in 2009, and Arkansas scored just 10 points at Texas in 2008. But Arkansas did light up A&M in three neutral-site games in Arlington, scoring 47, 24 and 42 points.
Conclusion: Big 12 defenses haven't been the problem.