The non-BCS but BCS-worthy Cotton Bowl gets underway tonight as #11 Kansas State (10-2) takes on #7 Arkansas (10-2).
Arkansas has the unfortunate luck of being in the SEC West, and their only two losses came against the teams playing in the national championship game. Kansas State was one of the biggest surprises in the country, and Bill Snyder’s latest turnaround this season has cemented his place among the all-time great coaches in college football history.
Friday night is the only postseason game featuring the Big 12 vs. the SEC, and each team would love to get a win for their conference. Here are some players to watch, keys to victory and prediction for this game between these top ranked teams.
* – Cotton Bowl photo credit: via Houston Powercats
KANSAS STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB COLLIN KLEIN
Klein is the leader of this team and he made countless big plays to help Kansas State get 10 wins this season. He is a dual threat quarterback that can beat you with the pass but is more dangerous when he is running the ball. He had 1,099 rushing yards and 26 rushing TD’s on the season which were tops for the Wildcats.
LB ARTHUR BROWN
This guy is a beast and led the Wildcats with 95 tackles on the season. Brown was named the Big 12’s defensive newcomer of the year, and earned first-team all-conference honors as well. Wildcat fans received good news earlier in the week when Brown decided to return to school instead of jumping to the NFL.
ARKANSAS PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB TYLER WILSON
Wilson was one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, throwing for 3,422 yards and 22 touchdowns. The last time Wilson played in Cowboys Stadium, he set a school record by throwing for 510 yards against Texas A&M in Week 5. Wilson has more completions (257) this season than Kansas State’s Collin Klein has attempts (251).
WR JARIUS WRIGHT
Wright was Tyler Wilson’s favorite receiver this season and he led the Razorbacks in both receptions (63) and receiving yards (1,029). Wright is very athletic and made one the best receptions this season in all of college football (see below)
* –Jarius Wright GIF credit: via Instant Replay
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Razorbacks average 307.8 passing yards per game and if the Wildcats want to win this game they are going to have to find a way to contain Tyler Wilson.
Like Kansas State, they too are going to have to contain the quarterback and not let Collin Klein beat them by rushing the ball.
I feel like after I picked Clemson to beat West Virginia that I should not be allowed to ever try and pick a winner again. I will give it a second chance though and take Kansas State winning 49-42 in a game that comes down to the wire.
Cotton Bowl Game Info:
- When: Friday, January 6
- Where: Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)
- Time/TV: FOX 8:00 PM EST
- Point Spread: Arkansas -7.5