The University of Arkansas accepted a bid to participate in the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl, the school announced Sunday night. The Razorbacks will face Kansas State of the Big 12 on Friday, Jan. 6. The game will be televised at 7 p.m.on Fox affiliates, KLRT-TV (Little Rock), KFTA-TV (Northwest Arkansas) and WHBQ (Memphis).
No. 6 Arkansas (10-2) has posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for just the third time in school history and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the polls and Bowl Championship Series standings as recently as two weeks ago.
No. 8 Kansas State mirrors UA’s 10-2 showing on the year and was thought by many to have earned an at-large berth to the BCS before accepting the invitation to Cowboys Stadium.
“From top to bottom, the SEC and Big 12 are arguably the two best football conferences in the country,” said Fin Ewing, AT&T Cotton Bowl Selection Chairman in the bowl’s official press release.
The two have not faced off on the gridiron since 1967, and KSU has a 3-1 advantage in meetings between the two schools — although Arkansas won the last meeting 28-7 in Little Rock. So to say that this pairing is rare would be an understatement. It is Arkansas’ 12th Cotton Bowl appearance and first since the 2008 loss to Missouri following Houston Nutt’s departure.
“The University of Arkansas is thrilled to accept a bid to play in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic following our second consecutive 10-win season,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said in a press release. “Congratulations to Coach Bobby Petrino, our coaching staff and our football student-athletes on earning the opportunity to participate in one of college football’s greatest postseason traditions.”
Continuing, Long said: “The Cotton Bowl has been an integral part of our program’s history for more than six decades playing host to many unforgettable moments and memorable games. Based on the tremendous response from our fans and messages on my twitter account, it is clear the Razorback Nation is excited to return to the Cotton Bowl.”
This is a very winnable game for the Razorbacks, especially considering how the Wildcats will be so disappointed from getting hosed by the Sugar Bowl. Bill Snyder has done a tremendous job in his second run at the helm of the KSU program, and the 2011 edition of Kansas State has definitely overachieved to get to 10 wins.
“Our team looks forward to becoming part of the long-standing tradition the Razorbacks have with the Cotton Bowl,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I am very proud to be the coach of this team, which has stuck together all season long and kept competing. The mentality our players have demonstrated is what has allowed us to accomplish all we have this year.”
I’d think that Petrino and the rest of the Arkansas coaching staff will study the film from Oklahoma’s 58-17 trouncing of KSU on Oct. 29. In that game, Landry Jones threw for a school-best 505 yards — a total that has to have Tyler Wilson licking his chops. In all, the Sooners had 630 yards of offense against what was the top defense in the Big 12 statistically.
A No. 6 final ranking in the BCS should have been good enough to put UA in an at-large pool, but a stupid BCS stipulation limits leagues to just two BCS bids. That being said, the Cotton Bowl is the next best thing outside the five games that comprise the BCS for an Arkansas football program. Playing in Dallas is always a great thing for the Hogs, for recruiting and alumni base purposes.
“We’ve enjoyed success in Cowboys Stadium and the hospitality and experience the Cotton Bowl provides gives our team a special opportunity to compete together one more time,” Petrino added. “We are excited to prepare for the challenge of facing Kansas State. I know the matchup will be highly anticipated by our fans and the support they will give the Razorbacks will once again be tremendous.”
I don’t think Arkansas will have any trouble putting up enough points to win and win comfortably over Kansas State, for whatever that is worth. An 11-win season is easier to come by than it was a year ago for the Hogs and will be a reality come Jan. 7.
This post was authored by Chris Rushing with our content partner, The City Wire. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @rushicw.