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Kansas State Vs. Arkansas, Cotton Bowl 2011: A Battle Of BCS Bridesmaids

The Hogs and Wildcats both made convincing arguments for BCS inclusion in 2011, but are left to fight each other in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington

Consider this year's Cotton Bowl to be a meeting of the jilted - despite finishing the season in the Top 10 of the BCS and with just two losses in the SEC, Arkansas was shut out completely, thanks to a BCS National Championship featuring two neighboring programs in the SEC West. Kansas State's return to glory under Bill Snyder likely deserved an at-large bid as well, but the Top 10 Wildcats fell to a trip to Arlington when the selection committee to a freshly blown-out Virginia Tech. 

Game date, time: 8:00 pm ET, Friday, January 6th

Location: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX

TV channel: FOX

2010 winner and loser: LSU, Texas A&M

Kansas State 2011 Highlights: The Wildcats returned to the former glory of Bill Synder's last run in Manhattan, starting the year on a 8-0 run that saw an upset of MIami in Coral Gables, and three early conference wins of a touchdown or less before a blowout of rival Kansas. K State's only losses of the year came back-to-back, against eventual Big 12 winner Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, before KSU would finish with the most wins in a season since 2003.

Arkansas 2011 Highlights: Arkansas finished another season just outside of the SEC Championship picture, this time behind both BCS National Championship participants Alabama and LSU, the only programs the Hogs lost to in 2011. In between those losses, the Hogs won seven consecutive games with little resistance, including blowouts of Top 15 ranked Auburn and South Carolina. 

What To Watch For: Arkansas' passing game against a suspect K State defense. The Hogs (307.7 yards a game passing) should have little trouble against Kansas State's maligned secondary (ranked 104th nationally against the pass). The Wildcats were blown out when the Sooners and Cowboys both took to the air, and will have to find a way of keeping Arkansas more balanced - without the injured Knile Davis, the Hogs don't have a 100+ yards a game back. 

For more on the Kansas State Wildcats, visit Bring On The Cats. For all your Arkansas needs, visit Arkansas Expats. For more on every college football bowl game this season, visit SB Nation's college football news hub

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.