Texas A&M's season of firsts -- coach Kevin Sumlin's first year, quarterback Johnny Manziel becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and its SEC debut -- will end with the 10th-ranked Aggies (10-2) playing a familiar Big 12 foe.
In the only bowl matching the SEC against the Big 12, Texas A&M takes on 12th-ranked Oklahoma (10-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Friday in Arlington, Texas. Both teams have five-game winning streaks.
The Sooners seemed certain of a Bowl Championship Series game after clinching a share of their eighth Big 12 title, even though Kansas State had a tiebreaker giving the Wildcats the league's automatic BCS slot. But Mid-American champion Northern Illinois then qualified as a BCS buster.
"For sure, yes, we were disappointed. I was pretty upset about it," Sooners senior quarterback Landry Jones said. "But fortunate enough for us, we got put into this game, which you can rank them right up with those BCS games."
Texas A&M and Oklahoma have both averaged more than 40 points and 500 yards of offense per game.
San Jose State: Six former Spartans assistant coaches will be joining Mike MacIntyre at Colorado, according to a report by the Boulder Daily Camera.
Defensive coordinator Kent Baer and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren will hold the same positions with the Buffaloes. Defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat, offensive line coach Gary Bernardi,
Senior Bowl: Raiders coach Dennis Allen and his staff will coach the North team Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala., according to the Senior Bowl website. The South team will be coached by Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz and his staff.
Penn State: Agent Joseph Linta said Bill O'Brien is staying as the Nittany Lions coach after garnering interest from several NFL teams for vacant jobs.
Florida State: Defensive end Bjoern Werner will enter the NFL draft, the school announced. Werner is expected to be a top-10 pick in April's draft.
Michigan State: Running back Le'Veon Bell said he will skip his senior year to enter the NFL draft. He ran for 1,793 yards on 382 carries this season.
LSU: Linebacker Kevin Minter will enter the NFL draft, the school announced.
Florida International: The school hired Ron Turner as its coach, signing him to a five-year deal with a base salary of $500,000 annually. It will be the Martinez native's first trip back to the college game since he was fired by Illinois in 2004.
Auburn: The school has hired former Tigers quarterback Dameyune Craig as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Staff writers Jimmy Durkin, Jerry McDonald and wire services contributed to this report.