College Football: Arkansas and Kansas State Meet in Cotton Bowl

Al Dannity | Updated Jan 06, 2012

It was a case of nearly but not quite for the Hogs and the Wildcats in 2011. Arkansas only lost twice to the #1 and #2 teams in the country. Kansas State had a perfect season…against teams from outside the state of Oklahoma. Now two of the most impressive programs in 2011 clash at Jerry World for the last big bowl before the biggest bowl of all. Al Dannity breaks down the Cotton Bowl.

Hogs will work the air Bill Snyder turned Kansas State into a defensive power in the Big 12 this season. By all rights, they should have gained an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl but Virginia Tech were selected in place of the Wildcats. We all saw how that turned out for the Hokies. For all of Kansas State’s success on defense, they struggled against big-passing offenses, such as those of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

That’s good news for Bobby Petrino who has worked his magic down in Fayetteville. Petrino is a divisive figure, largely because of the abrupt end to his tenures at Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons. Controversial though he may be, there’s no denying his talent in creating an effective pass-oriented offense. I expect the Hogs to put up some big numbers in Cowboys’ Stadium tonight.

Klein must come big Collin Klein is the reason why College Football betting is such a different art to NFL betting. Klein doesn’t have the tools of a NFL passer and has no future as an every down passer in the pros. At best he’s the next Brad Smith. Klein is however a brilliant weapon in the Kansas State offense. One can only assume he took inspiration from Dolph Lundgren as a child because he has evolved into an army of one for the Wildcats. The flipside of such a weapon is that Arkansas will know all of Kansas State’s offense will flow through Klein. Unlike the Wildcats’ Big 12 opponents, Arkansas has been preparing for over a month. That puts extra pressure on Klein to come up big.

The verdict This is a classic example of why bowl games shouldn’t be viewed in the same light as regular season match-ups. The limitations of Kansas State’s offense were kept in check by the problems Klein presented opposing defenses on a week to week basis. Arkansas would have been forced to radically shift their defensive schemes at short notice were this game played in October. Instead it’s January and the Hogs have been able to spend a month planning for Klein. Bobby Petrino knows SEC pride is at stake in this game and he will be keen to show the Hogs can challenge Alabama and LSU next season. I like Arkansas to finish the year with a big win.

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