So it is Kansas State on January the 6th in the Cotton Bowl, or am I obligated to say AT&T Cotton Bowl? I will say that I am not so obligated, and it will just be the Cotton Bowl from here on out. After the LSU game and that gang of purple and gold, is another feline fiasco in store for the Hogs from the purple and silver? Another cat catastrophe? Or will the Hogs rise up in a bowl game and make the Kansas State Wildcats look more like Hello Kitty? We'll know in what, thirty-two short days from now, geez. I'll have to get the interns to do some bowl research, but off the top of my head, I don't think the Hogs have ever had as long of a wait between the end of the regular season and the bowl game as they will experience this year. Is that good? Or is that bad? Every bowl invite comes with its own bag of good and bad, so I thought we would take a look at both with this year's invite to the Cotton Bowl.
GOOD: Location, location, location. It is true in real estate and bowl games. I thought the Hogs more deserving than South Carolina for the Cap One bowl and probably so did the Cap One people, but they knew they would get a ton of fans to come down from South Carolina, more than they would likely get from Arkansas. And the Cotton Bowl people knew Arkansas fans think of Dallas as the Hogs' third home.
BAD: The players certainly would have preferred Orlando, for taking the trip to the bowl game is the one time they legally get paid for their efforts. They would have gotten a bigger travel check if Dallas had not been selected for them.
GOOD: There's a roof! Hogs get to play inside again for a bowl game. Weather, not a factor. And for those of us who are still trying to warm up from the Liberty Bowl experience, that is no small thing.
BAD: In terms of the network that provided the most amount of hype and chatter for the bowl games, ESPN, we don't really exist. The Cotton Bowl is a Fox bowl. In case you are wondering, according to the media guide, the Hogs are 1-2 on Fox. I think that one win is the 2000 Cotton Bowl win against Texas.
GOOD: As has been pointed out by many fans already, we'll be the only college football game on come the night of January the 6th. The Hogs and Wildcats won't have to compete with all the games that come right at you on January the 2nd. I also like that the game is at night. The Hogs this season were not early risers when it came to playing well at the 11 AM slot. Conversely, they didn't lose a single night game this season.
BAD: As Stephen pointed out below, the Hogs have won only three Cotton Bowls, tied once, and lost seven. There is no bowl game that the Hogs are better at losing in than the Cotton Bowl. Will that trend continue, or will the Hogs get a rare win? Kansas State won in its last Cotton Bowl visit. They beat the Vols in 2001. Their only other Cotton Bowl appearance was in 1997 with a loss to BYU. Both teams were coached by current coach, Bill Snyder, their Frank Broyles.
GOOD: The Hogs leave behind all those losses at the old Cotton Bowl stadium at the fairgrounds and venture into Jerry World, which has been very good to the Hogs. With three wins over Texas A&M there in Arlington, the Hogs are 3-0 at Cowboy Stadium. You gotta think there should be some advantage for the Hogs in the fact that they are used to playing here and won't be as initially dazzled as possibly K-State might be.
BAD: K-State's quarterback, Klein, is of the running variety. Need I say more?
GOOD: K-State's pass defense. I think I heard them on the selection show say it was the 104th in the nation. If our receivers can avoid dropping the ball like last year in the Sugar Bowl, the Hogs should be able to score a lot of points. And though our defense is not at the SEC level of Alabama / LSU, hopefully it is still SEC enough to give Kansas State more of a test than what they've had in the Big 12.
BAD: Like Missouri in the 2008 Cotton Bowl, K-State was expecting a BCS bowl and got Cotton instead. Can we expect the Wildcats to me be mad as hell and with something to proove, just like Missouri did? Or will they sulk and not care so much about the Cotton Bowl since they didn't get the Sugar. Virginia Tech, really? Anyway, motivation is always a factor with bowl games. I expect to see them fired up for getting an 11th win, something which both teams are shooting for.
GOOD: The Hogs didn't draw Baylor and RG3. I know that sounds strange to say, "Thank goodness we dodged, Baylor." But as much as K-State's Klein and our defense scares me, the thought of what RG3 could do against our defense scares me even more.
BAD: That the Hogs didn't draw a more tradition rich national program like we had in Ohio State last year. Nebraska in the Credit Card Bowl or OU in the Cotton would have been better from the standpoint of putting a big notch in our bowl belt and gaining more national respect. It will say more for K-State if they beat an SEC team in a bowl game than it will say anything for the Hogs in beating K-State.
GOOD: But finishing the season in the Top 5 (I think very likely as we sit at 6th right now) with 11 wins says more than a little about being a national player and would setup the 2012 season very well. LSU won the Cotton Bowl last year. No doubt that helped their national perception coming into this year. It could do the same for the Hogs.
Finally, a note to our K-State visitors. I had the opportunity to visit the Little Apple back in October during Arkansas's bye week. I was up there to visit a friend of mine who is a K-State graduate (got his Ph.d from there), and he gave me a tour of the town and the campus. I was very impressed with both. You have a great college town atmosphere there and a very beautiful campus. And I think my fellow Hog fans would be impressed too if we were to ever have a home and home experience with you guys. Fayettevillians, you think Dickson Street has a lot of bars! Wait until you visit Aggieville! haha. Outside of the French Quarter, I don't think I've ever seen so many saloons all in a row! But hopefully come the night of January the 6th, it will be a case of those Aggies crying in their beer after a K-State loss to the Hogs. If not, then they will be crying on Dickson Street at loss number eight in the Cotton Bowl. Somebody is going to be feeling good. Somebody is going to be feeling bad. Those are the facts of bowl life. (Yes, grew up on 80s tv. haha.)