The AT&T Cotton Bowl is set for January 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM on FOX. The game will welcome two teams to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX; one from the SEC and one from the Big 12. This year’s game puts the #6Arkansas Razorbacks vs. #8 Kansas State Wildcats. Both teams should have played in the Sugar Bowl, but the BCS will not take three teams from a conference, and they snubbed the Wildcats. This leaves FOX and the Cotton Bowl to get one of the greatest games of bowl season. It also should include the best announcing duos in all of college athletics Gus Johnson and SECJams’ favorite broadcaster Charles Davis.
The Arkansas Razorbacks come in to this game with a 10-2 record on the season, with their losses coming from both teams playing in the BCS National Championship game LSU and Alabama. They also come into this one down two coaches who have left for new jobs, and one who resigned. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee to be the head coach at UAB, and special team’s coordinator John L. Smith took the head coaching job at Weber State. Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson has been with Petrino for four years, but during the break decided to resign as defensive coordinator.
The good news for the Razorbacks is they have a strong junior and senior led class that starts with quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson is the best quarterback in the SEC hands down, and his stats are the proof to the pudding. He completed 63.1% of his passes for 3,422 yards and 22 touchdowns. His receiving core is one of the reasons Wilson is the best quarterback in the SEC, and it starts with his favorite target Jarius Wright. Wright led the SEC in receiving touchdowns with eleven and he is second in the SEC with 63 catches and 1,029 yards. Plus add special teams specialist and wide receiver Joe Adams to the mix, and if you do not know how good he is ask one of your friends that’s a Tennessee fan.
The Razorbacks also play pretty good defense, along with the high passing attack that the offense puts on the field. That defense is led by the secondary and senior Tramain Thomas. Thomas finished the year with 5 interceptions that left him tied for 10th in the FBS. It was a defense that finished 51st in the FBS allowing 371 yards per game.
That bad news for the Razorbacks is their lifetime bowl record. It is something worth crying about if you are calling the hogs. The team is 12-23-3 all time in bowl games, and 3-7-1 in the Cotton Bowl.
Kansas State (10-2) is making their third Cotton Bowl appearance in their football playing history, and have a 1-1 record all time in the Cotton Bowl. Coach Snyder is back in Manhattan, Kansas and has one of the best teams in his long tenure as a head coach. It is also a team that feels like they got snubbed in not playing in the Sugar Bowl after finishing ranked at number eight in the BCS. It should be a team that is fired up, and looking to prove the BCS wrong for not taking them.
The Wildcats will bring a dynamic rushing attack that is led by quarterback Collin Klein. Klein rushed for 1,099 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns to finish only behind the Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball who had 32 touchdowns. Klein can also toss the ball around a little bit. He finished the regular season with 1,745 yards and twelve touchdowns. This makes Klein a real threat for the Razorbacks who know he can beat you with his legs, and I would expect the Razorbacks to test his arm. They only down fall for the Wildcats is their defense that finished 74th in the FBS allowing 398 yards per game.
That only leaves us to make our pick, and we will have to take the powerful offense of Arkansas over the Wildcats. It should be an extremely high scoring game, and will come down to special teams and we give the edge to the Razorbacks. So, Arkansas 42-35 over the Kansas State Wildcats. Get ready to call the Hogs.