Category Archives: Cotton Bowl Countdown

Cotton Bowl Countdown: Two big events worth attending before the big game

All Kansas State football fans who have made a vacation out of following their favorite team to bowl games in the past know there will be much more to do in Arlington, Texas next month than simply attending the Cotton Bowl.

Getting there early, meeting up with friends, eating good food, going to the pregame pep rally and maybe playing a little golf are all part of the fun.

Here are two pregame activities that any K-Stater could enjoy:

PREGAME PEP RALLY
The K-State alumni association has welcomed huge crowds to this event in the past, and this time should be no different. Wildcats fans will have an opportunity to gather and cheer on the K-State football team at 4 p.m. on Jan. 5 at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Fans can enter the stadium, which is where the Texas Rangers play their home games and is located right next to Cowboys Stadium, for no charge. Transportation to and from the pep rally is included in the Alumni Association’s official university travel packages. Parking for the pep rally is also free.

The K-State football team, its coaches and university administrators will all participate in the event, as well as the K-State marching band, dance team, cheerleaders and mascot.
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Big 12 vs. SEC

The Sporting News put together a list of this season’s best non-BCS bowl games yesterday, and the Cotton Bowl came in at No. 1.

No surprise there. It is a top 10 game between 10-2 Arkansas and 10-2 Kansas State in a beautiful, new stadium. What’s not to like? Outside of the BCS title game and the Fiesta Bowl, you could make an argument for it being the third best postseason game out there. Even if you like the Rose Bowl better, the Cotton Bowl definitely looks to be more entertaining than the Orange and Sugar Bowls.

Here is how The Sporting News summed up the game:

“The Wildcats don’t have Arkansas’ talent, but can the Hogs match K-State’s will to win? Bill Snyder plus Bobby Petrino equals two premier coaches.”

I’ve got one more reason why the Cotton Bowl looks like a can’t-miss game: It’s a battle between the Big 12 and the SEC — the two most respected football conferences of 2011.

Or, as a wise e-mailer named David wrote when he suggested I blog about this topic:

“It is the only Big12-SEC matchup of the Bowl Season! The entire conference (Big 12) was fighting for survival what feels like just a few months ago, and with our two most recent turncoats (Texas A&M and Missouri) going to the SEC, this game seems like the only ‘statement’ opportunity to let the SEC know there is another conference in the nation on their level.”

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Cotton Bowl Countdown: How Paul Haynes could change Arkansas on defense

A few days ago, Paul Haynes was hired as the new defensive coordinator at Arkansas. In a few weeks, he will lead the Razorbacks’ defense in the Cotton Bowl.

Haynes faces a quick turnaround, and there is no telling how much he will be able to change in that short time. Most new coaches get an entire offseason to train players and install a new system.

But the Razorbacks will look different, to some degree, on defense against the Wildcats. We can be sure of that much. Before coming to Arkansas, Haynes spent the past seven seasons as a co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. While there, he helped the Buckeyes go 66-11 and beat the team he will coach in the Cotton Bowl in last year’s Sugar Bowl.

ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low caught up with Haynes in a Q&A he posted yesterday. A few of his answers reveal what he hopes Arkansas will do defensively on Jan. 6.

What was (coach Bobby) Petrino’s mandate to you in taking over this defense?

To make sure we keep improving and make sure our guys know exactly what they’re doing and make sure our guys do a good job with fundamentals and technique. Again, I don’t think that it was something he was disappointed with before. I just think he wanted to make a change and make sure this defense takes it to the next level. If we’re sound with our fundamentals and technique and give great effort, we can get it to the next level.

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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Short on cash? Want to go to Arlington anyway? Well, you’re in luck! This is the deal for you

You know those old, sappy TV commercials where a disembodied voice asks a question like “are you down on your luck?” You know how in those old, sappy TV commercials some slob is always at his couch eager to say “YES!” And you know how in those old, sappy TV commercials the slob fixes all his problems by purchasing the advertised product?

Well, if the only thing keeping you from the Cotton Bowl next month is a lack of money, you might as well be in one of those old, sappy TV commercials as you read this blog.

Because the K-State Federal Credit Union has the answer to all your problems. It is currently offering a low-rate loan to anyone who needs some extra cash to get to the Cotton Bowl.

Angie Reed, a marketing manager at K-State Federal Credit Union, told me today her company is handing out loans up to $5,000 with 2.99 percent interest rates. To qualify for the loan, you need to be a member of the credit union (to be a member Reed says you need to live, work, study or worship in the counties of Riley, Geary and Pottawatomie) and have good enough credit to qualify for the loan.

No loan amount is too small. If all you need is $250 for some gas and a ticket, you can get $250.

“We’re such a tightly knitted group,” Reed said. “We love the university and the Cats. We’re so excited they’re going to the Cotton Bowl, and we want to make sure everyone who wants to go to see them in the bowl game can do so.”
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Virginia Tech struggling to sell Sugar Bowl tickets

When the Sugar Bowl invited Virginia Tech to play in its January football game instead of Boise State and Kansas State last week, fans of both the Broncos and Wildcats were angry. Their teams finished higher in the final BCS standings than the Hokies, and appeared to be better fits for an at-large BCS bid.

But they were left out.

Why? Well, that’s part of the reason fans were (and still are) angry about the snub. Sugar Bowl representatives said part of the reason they picked Virginia Tech was because of its ability to sell a lot of tickets and bring a huge crowd to New Orleans.

A bold move considering K-State sold out its allotment of Cotton Bowl tickets before it even knew what bowl it was headed to, and has benefited from fans traveling in record numbers to past Cotton Bowls and Fiesta Bowls.

So far, it looks like Virginia Tech isn’t living up to its reputation. From the Washington Post:

Virginia Tech is struggling to sell out its Sugar Bowl allotment of 17,500 tickets, and the school is acknowledging that if sales continue to lag, it could affect the Hokies’ reputation as a college football program that travels well to bowl games.

On Monday morning, Virginia Tech confirmed it had sold 9,337 tickets so far and announced a proxy program under which fans who don’t plan on going to New Orleans could buy tickets that would then be donated to military personnel and New Orleans charity organizations.

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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Affordable tickets are hard to come by at the moment

Here’s guessing the Kansas State football fans who don’t already have tickets to the Cotton Bowl wish today’s ticket prices matched the one listed on this old Cotton Bowl ticket. Just $7.50!

Today’s prices (especially on the secondary market) are much, much higher. The face value of tickets to next month’s Cotton Bowl range from $125-$220 depending on the seat. But with K-State, Arkansas and the Cotton Bowl completely selling out their ticket allotments a few minutes after the matchup was announced, affordable tickets have been hard to come by.

A quick search of three popular ticket re-sale websites reveals you’re out of luck if you are looking to spend less than $200 for a ticket.

The cheapest ticket listed on StubHub is $220. Though that’s nothing compared to the most expensive ticket listed. Check this out: one of the Hall of Fame suits at Cowboys Stadium is going for $56,846. Must be one heck of a suite.

Over at the Cotton Bowl’s official ticket exchange, the cheapest ticket is going for $209. And you can’t find anything for less than $245 over at TicketCity.
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: K-State players can say they’ve beaten a Heisman winner

Leading up to Kansas State’s final game of the season, Jordan Voelker was asked if he could pick out one moment or play from his senior season that stood out above the rest.

It didn’t take him long to answer.

With a big smile on his face, the defensive end began talking about the pass he knocked down at the line of scrimmage to clinch a 36-35 victory over Baylor.

To make a game-winning play like that against Robert Griffin III (or RG3, as he and many others call him) in the final moments of an important victory, Voelker said, is something he will remember for the rest of his life.

And he said all that BEFORE Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. Just think what Voelker tells friends, family and strangers about that play now. If he ever has grandchildren, the story of how he helped K-State beat a Heisman winner may be the first thing he tells them.
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Optimus Klein

The most commonly used nickname for Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein will likely always be Honey Badger.

It’s the nickname his teammates gave him early on this season, and the YouTube videos that have popularized the weasel-like creature as “the most fearless animal in the world” fits with Klein’s personality. Much like how the Honey Badger wreaks havoc on whatever prey it encounters (even cobras in a tree), Collin Klein, as the narrator says, “Don’t care … he just takes what he wants.”

But we suddenly have a new contender in the nickname department: Optimus Klein.

The nickname, which plays off the beloved fictional leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, popped up earlier this week on twitter and has gained a bit of momentum from fans since. A reader suggested yesterday Optimus Klein would look good on a T-shirt, and a fan sent in a humorous Optimus Klein question to ESPN’s Big 12 Mailbag as well. So it’s out there.
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: T-shirt ideas

When fans go to bowl games, they tend to like buying T-shirts that commemorate the experience. With that in mind I asked my 2,000-plus twitter followers today what slogan they would slap on a T-shirt to wear to the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 6.

Plenty of folks (who follow both Arkansas and Kansas State) responded. Below are the best of the bunch. See something you like? Feel free to throw it on a T-shirt. Just remember where you saw it first!

Note: Big thanks to a reader who e-mailed me under the name Lee this week and provided me with this idea. I said I needed blog suggestions to keep this going, and this T-shirt slogan contest was one of them. Please, keep them coming!

Rout the Snout from @Eric95R

It’s ar-Kansas from @ColoKSUfan

2012 Cotton Bowl sponsored by AARP from @rich33ksu

Honey Badger eats pigs too from @rich33ksu

Arkansas: Better than Kansas by two letters from @brittneydeanne
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Cotton Bowl Countdown: Realignment redux

Arkansas and Kansas State have been on opposite ends of the conference realignment shuffle.

Over the past two years, Arkansas fans have kicked back and laughed as schools across the country scrambled to find the best possible place for their athletic departments. When the Big 12 reportedly reached out to the Razorbacks a few months ago and asked if they had any interest in leaving the SEC, the answer was a simple “Thanks, but no thanks.”

K-State fans, meanwhile, have sweated out the departures of four teams from the Big 12. First Nebraska and Colorado. Then Texas A&M and Missouri. Everything seems to be stable in Big 12 country now that the conference has added West Virginia and TCU. Texas and Oklahoma have agreed to equal revenue sharing, and the league had a fabulous football season. But there were some tense times in there.

Why were their experiences so different? Arkansas decided to get in on conference realignment 20 years early.

In 1990, the SEC was looking for new teams. After shopping all over the region, it added the Razorbacks and South Carolina. The move allowed the SEC to play its first conference championship game in football.

Up to that point, Arkansas was a long-time member of the Southwest Conference. Read More »