Cotton Bowl

Cotton Bowl

2007 Cotton Bowl Preview
by Jordan Adams

Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4)

Conference match-up: Big 12 vs. SEC
Date: Jan. 1, 2008
Location: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Spread: Missouri -3

Two high-powered offenses will take the field on the first of the year in Big D, and each couldn't be any more different. The Mizzou Tigers feature junior quarterback Chase Daniel and his multi-dimensional spread attack, featuring a quartet of impressive wideouts and a the best duo of tight ends in all the country in Chase Coffman and Martin Rucker. But the biggest threat is merely just a freshman. Jeremy Maclin broken the freshman all-purpose yards record this season and is a threat to bust one every time he touches the ball. For the Hogs, Arkansas holds arguably the best rushing game in the nation with Run DMC Darren McFadden and his explosive partner in crime Felix Jones. Defenses beware.

Missouri can cover if: they make the Razorbacks' offense solely ground game capable. Casey Dick has been inconsistent to say the least at quarterback since being pegged as the starter in 2006, and making him ineffective will also create fewer opportunities for the Hogs runners. We all know Missouri's offense is top notch, and they will need to dominate over Arkansas' shaky secondary, especially considering they will be in nickel and dime formations throughout the game. The Tigers want to dictate the tempo, whether choosing to go no-huddle or rather going with a slowing pace when running Tony Temple out of the backfield. Regardless, Mizzou takes very good care of the football; so don't expect any late Christmas gifts coming from this Big 12 team.

Arkansas can cover if: they do indeed get Missouri out of sorts and win the turnover battle. If they aren't turning Chase Daniel and his offense over, then they will be on the field all game. The Razorbacks defensive unit is not good enough to force punts throughout the game, so they will have to rely on big plays, such as sacks to stop drives and key turnovers to swing momentum. Missouri has a good defense, but both McFadden and Jones will get their yards. Points will be coming from all over the field, but if Arkansas can keep Daniel and company off the field with long drives of their own, that's a big plus for the small underdog.

General notes: This will be the Tigers' first Cotton Bowl appearance since 1946, while the Razorbacks are 3-6-1 all-time in this bowl game. These two last met in the 2003 Independence Bowl, with Arkansas coming out with a 27-14 decision. Who knows how the absence of Houston Nutt will affect this SEC team. It will be the first time since 1997 a new coach will be patrolling the sidelines. Both teams have combined to go 74-11 when scoring 30 points or more since 2001. It's safe to say the winner will top that mark yet again.

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Re: Cotton Bowl

Darren McFadden's Availability In Question

Last week Darren McFadden could be seen driving a new Cadillac Escalade. Now, questions are being asked about how he got it. According to a complianace director from another University, if D-Mac received the car as a payment for future services, he is then a proferssional and no longer elligible for college football. That would mean no Cotton Bowl. If he simply went in and bought the car, got a loan like any other shopper, with a delayed payment plan, he is still within NCAA guidelines and would be elligible for the bowl game. Razorback fans have to be hoping it's the latter case.

Sports Information Director Kevin Trainor told us that the University is aware of the situation and that their compliance director is investigating.

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Re: Cotton Bowl

Cotton Bowl Preview
By Judd Hall

Cotton Bowl

Missouri (11-2 SU, 8-3-1 ATS) vs. Arkansas (8-4 SU, 7-4 ATS)

How they got there:

The Tigers are making their first trip to the Cotton Bowl since 1946, winning six of their final seven games. It’s Mizzou’s third consecutive bowl game under head coach Gary Pinkel. However, they must feel cheated after watching the Jayhawks, a team they beat, make it to a BCS bowl.

Arkansas started the year off on the wrong foot, losing two of its first three matches. However, the Hogs made amends at the end of the season by going 5-1 SU and ATS to wrap of the regular season. The crown jewel of the Razorbacks’ year was beating then No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge to end Houston Nutt’s tenure as head coach. That game most likely propelled them into the Cotton Bowl.

What to expect:

There is a big “if” to this game in regards to Darren McFadden lining up in the backfield for Arkansas right now.

Should McFadden play, expect to see him in a myriad of different spots on the field. Anywhere from under center, wide receiver or at running back and you’ll see him. McFadden is 12th in the nation in all-purpose yards with 1,725.

On the Missouri side of the ball, you’ll see a great spread offense that benefits for the No. 14th in the country in terms of turnover margin. And the Tigers have the third best defense in the Big XII, allowing just 24.5 PPG in 2007.

Players to Watch:

Missouri – Quarterback Chase Daniel has great mobility and ridiculously accurate when throwing the ball. His favorite targets are Jeremy Maclin (77 receptions, 1,023 yards, nine TDs) and Martin Rucker (81 catches, 815 yards, eight TDs). Don’t forget about Tony Temple in the backfield, gaining 758 yards on the ground to go along with eight scores.

Arkansas – Running back Darren McFadden because of two reasons. One: You just don’t know if he’s going to be playing or riding dirty because of his little snafu with the Cadillac. Two: he’s arguably the best college football player we’ve seen in the past 10 to 15 years.

Bowl Records:

Arkansas isn’t the most prolific team in the postseason, going 11-22-2 since 1934. And the Hogs recent history doesn’t exactly glow with a 1-4 record in their past five bowl contest.

Mizzou is a lackluster 10-14 in 24 bowl appearances. That includes a 27-14 loss to Arkansas as three-point ‘dogs in the 2003 Independence Bowl.

Inside the Line: Missouri -3, 69

Talk about a line not moving. This line has stayed sessile ever since being released on Dec. 3. There are a few places that are moving the spread to four-points in favor of the Tigers, but that’s it.

Expert Opinion: Christian Alexander

On the one hand you have the Missouri Tigers and their dangerous spread attack led by junior QB Chase Daniel who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. On the other you have the Arkansas offense with their devastating ground game led by junior RB Darren McFadden who was the runner-up for the Heisman for the second year in a row. You certainly won't find a bowl game with two bigger individual stars going up against one another.

Landing in the Cotton Bowl was more than anyone could have hoped for in Razorback land after the Hogs were just 3-3 at the midway point of the season. On the other hand, after knocking off Kansas in late November (my College Football game of the year), the Tigers were one game away from playing for the National Championship.

Unfortunately, Mizzou couldn't get past Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship, losing to the Sooners for the second time this year. But then the BCS seemingly penalized Missouri for making it to the Big 12 championship and took one loss Kansas as an at-large BCS team heading to the Orange Bowl. The Tigers are understandably upset and out to prove that they should be in the BCS and are one of the best teams in the nation.

VI Prediction:

I thought long ago that Missouri would win this game easily. Regardless of McFadden’s status for the game, the Tigers are a more complete team. Their only losses were to an Oklahoma side that was one of the best two-loss programs in the nation this year.

Mizzou should have no problems finishing the season on a high note.

Final Score: Missouri 43, Arkansas 24

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Re: Cotton Bowl

Cotton Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Missouri Tigers

- It will be a battle of Heisman finalists when the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Missouri Tigers lock up January 1 in the Cotton Bowl. Running back Darren McFadden leads a potent Razorback ground game (that put up nearly 600 yards against South Carolina) while Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel leads the tough Mizzou Tigers.

Arkansas racked up 518 yards in a 50-48 triple-overtime win at LSU last time out, coming in as 13.5-point road underdogs. The 98 points scored were OVER the posted total of 58.5.

Casey Dick was 10-for-18 for 94 yards and a touchdown, and Darren McFadden ran for 206 yards and three majors on 32 carries for the Razorbacks.

Missouri was defeated 38-17 by Oklahoma last time out, as 3-point underdogs. The 55 points were UNDER the posted total of 65.

Chase Daniel led Missouri with 219 yards passing and scored a running touchdown in the game.

Team records:
Arkansas: 8-4 SU, 7-4 ATS
Missouri: 11-2 SU, 9-3 ATS

Arkansas most recently:
When playing in January are 1-3
When playing on grass are 6-4
After outgaining opponent are 6-4
When playing outside the conference are 8-2

Missouri most recently:
When playing on grass are 4-6
After being outgained are 7-3
When playing outside the conference are 9-1
After playing Oklahoma are 2-5

A few trends to consider:
Arkansas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Arkansas is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Arkansas's last 5 games
Missouri is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Missouri's last 6 games
Missouri is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games

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What bettors need to know: Arkansas vs. Missouri

Heisman finalists clash

Two of this season’s best college football players will clash in the Cotton Bowl when Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden meet. Both Heisman Trophy finalists and will try to lead their teams to victory on New Year’s Day.

McFadden is the key to Arkansas’s Wild Hog offense and he rushed for 1,725 yards and 15 touchdowns in 12 games. He tied an SEC record with 321 rushing yards against South Carolina on Nov. 3 and he had nine 100-yard games overall.

Daniel, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, despite his relatively small stature. The 5-foot-11 junior threw for 4,170 yards and 33 touchdowns, and finished fourth in the Heisman voting.

His best game came on Nov. 24 against then-second-ranked Kansas, when he went 40-of-49 for 361 yards and three touchdown passes in the Tigers' 36-28 victory.

Petrino not involved

Recently appointed Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino will not be calling the plays against Missouri. Interim coach Reggie Herring will lead the Razorbacks for the final game of the season before handing the reigns over to Petrino in the New Year.

Petrino was announced as the Razorbacks’ new coach just hours after he stunned the Atlanta Falcons by handing in his resignation. He was an NFL coach for less than a year, but claims his heart was always in the college game.

He received a five-year deal worth $2.85 million per year to take over the program. Petrino replaces Houston Nutt, who departed for the Mississippi job at the end of the regular season.

Coffman to play

Missouri tight end Chase Coffman is back in practice and will play against Arkansas, despite continuing issues with his injured ankle. The junior has seen limited action since picking up the injury in the loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 13.

He underwent minor surgery just a few weeks ago to repair bone spurs in that ankle, and is likely to need further surgery after the Cotton Bowl.

"It's still a little bit weak," he told Columbia Missourian after his first practice back. "Just trying to get out there and doing as much as I can.”

Coffman is third on the team with 523 yards and seven touchdowns, but those numbers would likely have been much better if he stayed healthy. He is already being linked with a move to the NFL, but his teammates are eager to get him back for his final college season.

Tigers’ bowl disappointment

Missouri’s staff and players have found it hard to deal with the disappointment of not making one of the BCS bowls. They lost their final game of the season to Oklahoma, but were still considered unlucky not to make the Orange Bowl.

"That was a tough pill to swallow," senior wide receiver Will Franklin told the Columbia Tribune. "But if someone told us back in August we’d be 11-2 and going to the Cotton Bowl, we’d have been happy. We had a magical season, a historical season. We’re not going to take nothing back."

The Cotton Bowl will be Missouri’s first New Year’s Day bowl appearance since 1970. The team’s newfound success has led to speculation about the head coach Gary Pinkel’s future, but he was quick to pledge allegiance to the Tigers when asked this week.

"I’m staying at Missouri," he told the AP. "I’m very committed here. This is my mark.”

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Missouri's fast pace hurt in last year's Sun Bowl
January 1, 2008

DALLAS (AP) -Missouri's no-huddle, go-go offense led the nation in plays from scrimmage, usually snapping the ball with about 15 seconds to go on the play clock.

``We want to control the tempo of the game,'' offensive coordinator Dave Christensen said.

It's a philosophy that has helped the seventh-ranked Tigers average 40 points, seventh-best in the country, heading into Tuesday's Cotton Bowl against No. 25 Arkansas. Only five schools produced more yards per game than Missouri's 493 per game and the Tigers were the only team to score 30 or more points in every regular-season game.

This frenzied production is by far the biggest reason the Tigers (11-2) have tied the school record for victories and are preparing for their first New Year's Day bowl game since 1970. All the stars, quarterback Chase Daniel, all-purpose threat Jeremy Maclin, twin tight end terrors Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman and running back Tony Temple, are on offense.

Daniel has taken 638 snaps in 13 games, one of numerous school single-season records.

``We should be overshadowed,'' nose tackle Lorenzo Williams said. ``Those guys are amazing. We always get in trouble for not sitting our chairs, but when they get the ball we want to see what they're going to do with it.''

It can be argued that the Tigers can sometimes go too fast for their own good. Last year's Sun Bowl is a case in point.

A 14-point cushion with 12 minutes to go evaporated in a last-minute 1-point loss to Oregon State. Missouri scored in rapid-fire fashion at times, with four touchdown drives lasting 42 seconds, 2:12, 31 seconds and 58 seconds, but didn't use enough time on the unsuccessful possessions - five lasting 2:06 or shorter - for all of that production to hold up.

Missouri had some of the same issues this season without getting burned. Both Christensen and head coach Gary Pinkel believe when there's a problem it's only because the offense didn't execute.

``What we did is we didn't keep the ball,'' Pinkel said, recalling the 39-38 Sun Bowl loss. ``That's the best clock management you can get. If you don't give the ball back, you don't have any problems.''

A handful of games appeared needlessly thrilling this season, however.

Missouri almost coughed up a 37-13 third-quarter cushion in the opener against Illinois, clinching a nail-biting 40-34 win on Pig Brown's interception at the 1 in the final minute. The Tigers led 28-7 near the end of the third quarter against Kansas, then hung on for an 8-point win and their first Big 12 North title.

Missouri continued to hurry it up while leading by only five midway through the fourth quarter before finally putting Texas A&M away 40-26.

``It's definitely hard to slow down,'' Daniel said. ``You go in expecting to be a fast-paced offense. We score at a fast pace and we're not going to change that.''

Yet coaches and players both felt the Tigers made progress this season in allowing the clock to be their ally. While Kansas was catching up, Missouri had drives of 10 and 12 plays, both ending in field goals.

``I think that's something we did well this year,'' Rucker said. ``When we needed to grind out the clock, we did that.

``That was another step we needed to get to where we are now.''

Recalling the Sun Bowl meltdown, Christensen bemoaned a missed block that cost a first down and a missed defensive holding call on a pass play.

``You can run the ball every snap,'' Christensen said. ``But if you get stuffed you're not going to control the clock.''

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