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: 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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K-State headed to Cotton Bowl

The Kansas State football team didn’t get the at-large bid to a BCS bowl it was hoping for, and while fans will no doubt be disappointed about that the Wildcats are still going to a prestigious bowl game.

As expected, following a series of leaked Twitter reports that revealed Virginia Tech and Michigan were going to the Sugar Bowl instead of K-State, the Wildcats officially learned they will play in the Cotton Bowl a few minutes ago. The game will be played on Jan. 6 against Arkansas at new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Wildcats, who finished the regular season 10-2 and second in the Big 12 standings, will make their first trip to the conference’s top non BCS bowl since 2001 when they defeated Tennessee 35-21 on New Year’s Day. They also played there in 1997, dropping a close game 19-15 to BYU.

After defeating Iowa State on Saturday, K-State players hoped they could land an at-large spot in a BCS bowl. But it wasn’t to be. Virginia Tech (11) and Michigan (13), despite being ranked behind K-State (8) in the final BCS standings, were chosen instead.
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Analyzing K-State’s bowl possibilities

We will know Kansas State’s bowl destination in three days, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats know (or even have a good idea of) where they will play this postseason.

K-State seems to be in contention for four different bowl games, and how it plays against Iowa State on Saturday will only partially impact its destination. Several games across the nation could impact where K-State goes.

Here is a deeper look at the bowl scenarios currently facing K-State:

Sugar Bowl
Current Odds: Possible.
If K-State beats Iowa State and earns an invitation to a BCS bowl, it will likely end up in the Sugar Bowl. What will it take for the Wildcats to earn a BCS bid? A lot. There are only two at-large bids to BCS bowls to go around as long as Houston remains undefeated and Stanford remains in the top four of the BCS standings. And Alabama will likely take one of them to play in the BCS title game. The next most likely at-large candidates: Michigan, K-State, Boise State and possibly Oklahoma State if it loses in Bedlam. The Wildcats could emerge from that group as the top choice. The Sugar Bowl did send a representative to K-State’s game against Texas A&M. But Michigan and Oklahoma State would be very appealing, too. Houston losing in the Conference USA championship game will boost K-State’s chances.

Fiesta Bowl
Current Odds: Long shot.
The only realistic way K-State can end up in the Fiesta Bowl is if Oklahoma State finds its way into the BCS title game and it chooses to replace the Cowboys with the Wildcats.

Cotton Bowl
Current Odds: Best bet.
Arlington, Texas remains K-State’s most likely destination. The Cotton Bowl loves the idea of inviting the Wildcats, because they haven’t played there in years, their fans travel well and Dallas is one of K-State’s biggest alumni bases. If both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State make BCS bowls, K-State will almost certainly end up in the Cotton Bowl. If Oklahoma State is shutout of the BCS it could end up here based on its head-to-head win over K-State. And Oklahoma could push K-State out if both teams finish 9-3, because it also beat the Wildcats this season. But if the Wildcats finish 10-2, odds are they finish Cotton Bowl or higher.
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