First off, my apologies for the length of this post. I had planned on a detailed 27-part preview extravaganza over about 15 days, but the holidays and shopping and traveling and Guitar Hero III on the Wii just got in the way so I'm busting out one long one instead. Feel free to quit reading right now.
"The best bowl played in a hellhole" - Anonymous
Indeed, the 72nd Cotton Bowl from Dallas, Texas is about to take place in one of the most worn down, out-dated stadiums in all of America.
The 72,000+ seat stadium was built by the Indians sometime shortly before Christopher Columbus' arrival, and has not been updated since with the notable exception being the addition of George Bush urinal cakes to the men's bathrooms a few years back.
The Cotton Bowl has hosted the Dallas Cowboys - Green Bay Packers 1966 NFL championship game, the annual Oklahoma - Texas college football game ("The Red River Rivalry"), the annual Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M game (The halftime "Battle of the Bands" is arguably more eagerly anticipated than the game itself), and has been home to many football teams over the years, including:
SMU Mustangs (NCAA),
Dallas Cowboys (NFL; 1960-1970),
Dallas Texans (NFL) (1952),
Kansas City Chiefs (as the Dallas Texans) (AFL; 1960-1962),
and was also the site of some games in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
The Cotton Bowl will be moving into the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium starting in 2010.
(Don't park too far from the stadium and don't make any wrong turns. If you do, the nice gangs of Dallas will help you out. Enjoy the game!)
Arkansas (8-4) vs. Missouri (11-2)
Both offenses average over 450 yards per game and Arkansas scores 39.8 points per game while Missouri averages 40 points per game.
(The Cotton Bowl is the only bowl to feature two Heisman finalists)
Darren McFadden and Felix Jones anchor the nation's best rushing game. D-Mac is the school's all-time leading rusher and stands at a personal best 1,725 yards on the season heading into his final game as an Arkansas Razorback. Felix Jones leads the nation in yards per carry at 9.1 ypg. Fullback and top receiver Peyton Hillis could be the key to the Razorback attack on Saturday.
Jonathan Luigs is the best center in the nation and will be out-centering Missouri's center. Hopefully the added rest has helped Marcus Monk's knee and he will be performing more like the Marcus Monk of last season. Casey Dick must avoid the big green ladders (pictured in previous post) and make some nice passes to keep the crappy Missouri defense off balance.
Heisman finalist Chase Daniel, aka "the weak-armed virgin", leads the Missouri spread offense back to his home state of Texas. TE Martin Rucker and all-everything Jeremy Maclin are his biggest weapons and only SEC talent the Tigers possess. The rest of the offense sucks.
(The famous spanking strippers of Dallas will be performing at halftime this year as a tribute to the rise in popularity in pole dancing this year)
Both defenses give up about 24-25 points per game and Missouri gives up 380 yards per game to opponents while the Hogs are way way way better only giving up 357 yards per game.
Matt Hewitt (team leading 118 tackles) and Weston Dacus will be blowing things up on defense for the Hogs. Jarrell Norton will be patrolling the secondary where he has five interceptions including the last play the Hogs had when Norton's interception of a LSU two-point conversion sealed the Hogs 50-48 win over the then #1 LSU Tigers. Freddie, Marcus, and the boys up front will be harrassing Chase Daniel most of the night.
Linebacker and Texas native Sean Weatherspoon and strong safety William Moore anchor the weak Mizzou defense. Moore leads the team with seven interceptions while Weatherspoon is the leading tackler on the season with 124. Everyone else on the defense sucks. Nothing to really worry about here.
The Special Teams:
The Razorbacks go with the consistent leg of freshman Alex Tejada who led the Hogs in scoring this season with 108 points. He was 17-21 on FGs and 57-59 on PATs.
Punter Jeremy Davis averages 40 yards net per punt.
The Razorbacks stick McFadden and Jones back to return kickoffs while Jarrell Norton handles the majority of the punt return chores.
Kicker Jeff Wolfert led the Tiggers in scoring this season with 122 points on 20-24 FGs and 62-62 PATs. Adam Crossett is a stinky punter averaging only 38 yards net per punt.
Jeremy Maclin handles kickoff and punt return duties and he has three touchdowns on the season, so he can be good usually against crappy Big 12 teams.
Advantage: Arkansas of course
Current Vegas Line: Missouri favored by 3.5
Vegas doesn't know anything. I don't know how those casinos make any money.
Before I get to the prediction, this whole kickoff just after 10:30 a.m. CST is asinine. If I lived on the west coast, I would have to get up around 8:30 to watch the Razorbacks. Are you serious? The way the Razorback Nation parties, it'll be a minor miracle if more than 50% of the fans are coherent at that time on New Year's Day. Please, for the love of God, no more college football games kicking off before noon local time.
At last check on ESPN's website, 74% of the voting public likes Missouri in this game. Those 74% are 100% idiots. Those 74% also think 16 year old Jamie Lynn Spears' baby will live a healthy, happy, normal life with a teenage mother and Aunt Britney.
(These are two well-adjusted human beings)
Let's just say that the outcome of this game will be alot like the outcome of the little known annual "Cotton Bowl Ice Skating Coaches Battle" that featured Arkansas Coach Reggie Herring and Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel this year...
Final Score: Hogs 67 Tigers 5
"Humanity Advanced" rushes for 300 yards and drives off into the sunset in his new Cadillac Escalade never to be seen on the University of Arkansas campus again...
Have a happy and safe New Year and remember, there will be 20,000 policemen on patrol just in your square block on New Year's Eve. They'll probably have you under surveillance too for the next 24 hours, so either walk, hire a limo, or stay home if you're going to get plastered.
Better to end up like this dude than something worse...