Thursday, January 5, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: AT&T Cotton Bowl

Wildcats and Hogs hope to be dancing with Cotton Eyed Joe

The Where and When:Friday, January 6th; 7 p.m. CST
Cowboys (Jerry Jones) Stadium, Dallas. Fox.

The Who:#11 Kansas State Wildcats (10-2; 7-2 Big 12) vs. #7 Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2; 6-2 SEC).

The Why:Talk about bad timing. In any other year, Arkansas may have won the SEC. This year? Losses to the two national championship participants made them third in their own division. The Razorbacks under Bobby Petrino are a high-flying offensive juggernaught. They won all 8 games at home including wins over South Carolina and Texas AM.

In times past, Kansas State would have earned a trip to the Big 12 championship game. This year? Third in the Conference and narrowly missed out on a BCS bowl. Kansas State saw a return to glory in year three of Bill Snyder’s return to the program. The Wildcats won 6 games in which they were the underdog this year making them maybe the biggest surprise of the year. They did it with an old-fashioned, but surprisingly good rush offense and a little defense.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:QB Colin Klein runs the Wildcat offense, which is an apt description of what K State does. He threw for 1,700 yards and ran for 1,100. The Wildcats were 96th in total yards, but 29th in total points.

The Wildcats are still rebuilding on defense. They rank 67th in scoring defense giving up 27.8 points per game. K State is 104th in pass defense giving up nearly 270 yards per game in the air. Games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State demonstrated that they can be exploited.

Arkansas throws for over 320 yards per game and averages 37 points per game. QB Tyler Wilson has plenty of options including WR Jarius Wright, a 1,000 yard receiver and wideout Joe Adams who has 49 reception, 3 for touchdowns.

The Razorbacks are 38th in points allowed at 22 per game. They are 80th in rush defense giving up nearly 175 yards on the ground per game. They will be tested again on the ground.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:This isn’t close. I LOVE Bill Snyder as a football coach. In fact, I only have any interest in K State football because he is the coach. He not only built them into a national power, but came back and did it again after Ron Prince screwed it up. Plus, its against the hillbillies in Arkansas.

The Vegas Edge:Arkansas is a 8.5 point favorite with an over/under 64. Remember that KState has won 6 games this year as the Vegas underdog. Its 9-3 ATS. Arkansas is 7-5. It’s tempting to take Arkansas to cover in this game. But remember that despite what you might think- K State can score. 45 points against Oklahoma State and 53 against Texas AM in overtime. Given that both defenses do not perform well against the other’s strength- an over play here is also a possibility.

The Sweatpants Verdict:This seems like a mismatch with an overachieving Wildcat team against an underappreciated Arkansas team playing in the shadow of their big brothers. I’m not sure it is though.

K State has been the underdog and performed well. The closest thing that resembles this is the Oklahoma State game, a 52-45 loss by the Cats. Also remember that Arkansas is playing with interim coordinators on offense and defense, so there could be some trouble adjusting.

With all that said, I like the Hogs to win but not cover. Should be an entertaining bowl game for a change. Arkansas 38 K State 34.

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