And now we are down the stretch, with just four games remaining. Earlier this season, we profiled games with teams in the top 25. The trend will continue in the bowl season.
These games will be covered on a weekly basis, normally from Thursday through to the following Wednesday; this week’s edition will cover games played from Friday, January 6 through Monday, January 9.
#6 Arkansas (10-2) (6-2 SEC) vs. #8 Kansas State (10-2) (7-2 Big 12) (AT&T Cotton Bowl)
Where to find the game: Friday, January 6th at 8:00 PM EST on FOX.
Series: Kansas State leads 3-1.
Arkansas: Offense 27th (Rushing 81st; Passing 13th); Defense 51st (Rushing 79th; Passing 27th).
Kansas State: Offense 96th (Rushing 29th; Passing 109th); Defense 74th (Rushing 39th; Passing 104th).
The Cotton Bowl Classic pairs two teams that, arguably, should have been in the BCS. Had the BCS not limited conferences to two teams, both Arkansas and Kansas State would have joined the party. Instead, both teams look to finish their seasons on a high note in Dallas. The Cotton Bowl, traditionally, pairs an SEC West team against a Big XII team, and this year is no different. QB Tyler Wilson (3422 passing yards, 63.1% completion, and 26 total TDs) has led the Razorback offense. Wilson has been aided by WRs Jarius Wright (1029 receiving yards, 16.3/catch, and 11 receiving TDs), Cobi Hamilton (516 receiving yards, 16.6/catch, and 3 receiving TDs), and Joe Adams (630 receiving yards, 12.9/catch, and 3 total TDs). The Wildcats have been led offensively by dual threat QB Collin Klein (2844 total yards, 57.8% completion, and 38 total TDs). RB John Hubert (933 rushing yards, 5.0/carry, and 3 rushing TDs), and WR Chris Harper (536 receiving yards, 13.7/catch, and 5 receiving TDs) have chipped in. Arkansas’s offense was shutdown only by Alabama and LSU, teams with exceptional pass defenses. If you notice Kansas State’s pass defense, it simply isn’t that good; they were torched numerous times this season, despite winning 10 games. Unless Kansas State’s pass defense shows up, this could be a laugher.
Game hype grade: 7.
#1 LSU (13-0) (8-0 SEC) vs. #2 Alabama (11-1) (7-1 SEC) (BCS National Championship)
Where to find the game: Monday, January 9th at 8:30 PM EST on ESPN/ESPN 3D/ESPN3.
Series: Alabama leads 45-25-5.
LSU: Offense 75th (Rushing 17th; Passing 105th); Defense 2nd (Rushing 3rd; Passing 8th).
Alabama: Offense 30th (Rushing 15th; Passing 72nd); Defense 1st (Rushing 1st; Passing 1st).
Midway through the season, many projected SEC Champion vs. Oklahoma State being the BCS National Championship. Then Alabama lost to LSU 9-6 in Tuscaloosa, presumably leaving LSU vs. Oklahoma State. The Cowboys inexcusable loss to Iowa State made it an uphill battle to make the BCS National Championship. When the matchup was released, you would have thought the nation would take to the BCS Committee with pitchforks. But that discussion is irrelevant, we have out national championship game. Offensively, LSU has been led by RBs Spencer Ware (700 rushing yards, 4.0/carry, and 8 rushing TDs), Michael Ford (755 rushing yards, 6.1/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and Alfred Blue (539 receiving yards, 6.9/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and WR Rueben Randle (904 receiving yards, 18.1/catch, and 8 receiving TDs). RBs Trent Richardson (1583 rushing yards, 6.0/carry, and 23 total TDs), and Eddie Lacy (631 rushing yards, 7.5/carry, and 7 rushing TDs) have led the Alabama ground game. QB AJ McCarron’s (2400 passing yards, 66.7% completion, 16 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) connection has been WR Marquis Maze (627 receiving yards, 11.2/catch, and 1 receiving TD). This may be easy to say, but expect more scoring here. Both defenses are spectacular, but LSU has given up points in the recent weeks. Quarterback play will be the difference between these two evenly matched teams. This will be a good one.
Game hype grade: 10.